Monthly Archives: October 2012

Crafting for Christmas – my hobby is my responsibility

I don’t believe that just because I knit, I have to provide knitted presents for every friend and family member for Christmas. Also, I don’t believe that just because I knit, all friends and family members are obliged to accept a hat and some mitts every year, in the middle of the winter season, when they probably managed to keep themself warm already. I try to keep in mind that nobody is entitled to order handwork from me (unless he/she pays for it) and also, that I should try to keep my hobby to myself, just the way I hope that others will do (I don’t like decoupage or chatney, and I get a headhache from strong smells, so no homemade soaps or such, thank you).

So I just knit what I want and if I want to knit for someone, I do it, and if Christmas is in the corner, it’ll turn into a Christmas present, but I don’t let Christmas rule my knitting plans for months.

Last year I made one present, a baby onsies that was a lot of fun and a good present. It was a big hit, as far as I can tell. Oh, and a felted bag, that was fun to make, but wasn’t expecially nice or appreciated. But that was it, two knitted items.

This year I will be restricted too. I only plan to make an Oak Park scarf – a beautiful and clever pattern. And that’s it.

There will be some birthdays and namedays (yes, there’s such thing) along the way, and I do feel that I want to knit something that is UFO- or robot related, so I might end up with a knitted present for one of those occasions, but only because I want to do it. I would do it even if there were no reason to celebrate.

I think, this attitude has something to do with the project knitter – process knitter spectrum: I’m more of a process knitter, at least, if something is not fun, I won’t knit it. Also, I am extremely lazy. And I like to keep expectations low.

Crafting for Christmas – For Better or Worse

Holidays. Amiright? (I like to play the part of the awkward stand-up comedian around here).

My family insists on giving gifts to each other every year. No matter if we’re strapped for cash, or more likely, we just have no idea what to get each other, my suggestions of dropping the gift giving are ignored. I would so much rather my parents just mail me a card with some nice sentiment (that they wrote, not just picked up off the shelf), than the stream of sad and ridiculous gifts they’ve given over the years. I know, I know, this sounds so ungrateful. I just hate the idea of obligated gift giving. I mean, this sense of obligation led my mom to send me a salmon figurine with a lid in the top (the lid handle was the dorsal fin). Think something like this, but plastic, and more poorly painted:

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You’d rather get a card too, now wouldn’t you?

So last year I decided to go with something more personal and handmade, and gave them all knitted gifts. For my mom, dad and grandma, there were socks. My niece got a sweater, my sister some Norwegian mittens, and for my brother, a hat with his name on it, in binary code (he’s a geek). Here’s my niece in her sweater, man I love that kid:

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Everyone really loved their presents, my mom ooohed and aahed over all of it, which of course makes me happy. When I asked a few months later how the socks were wearing, she said, oh I don’t wear them, they’re too nice. Ugh. Same goes for my dad, and apparently they’re too warm for my grandma. What grandma has feet that are too warm?

It makes me sad to think that my parents think something is too nice to wear – they’re just socks. I’m sad that they don’t think enough of themselves to see that they deserve a little treat, made with love. And while I’m sad, then I start thinking that this is also about wanting acceptance and recognition from my parents, which at 37, I’d like to think I’m beyond needing. I waver back and forth between being irritated they don’t use my gifts, (although who knows, maybe socks are my parents’ unwanted salmon figurine), and inspired to try again to make them things they will like.

So this year’s plan is a little more modest. Some simple cotton socks for my mom, something store bought for my dad and grandma, a scarf out of my handspun yarn for my sister, and the other stuff is unclear. That said, back in the summer I was saying “no knitted gifts this year” – except for my sister, who as a knitter and spinner herself, totally gets it – and here I am now in October with a small list, that seems to be growing. I’ve already added a hat for my girlfriend, some washcloths for a friend’s mom who we’ll be visiting over the holidays, a skirt for my niece, and the best part, a sweater for my cat:

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Oh yeah, I’m apparently that lady.

Crafting for Christmas or Is my MIL Knit-Worthy?

I have been roped into knitting for my mother-in-law for Christmas.  Normally, I consider her not knit-worthy.  She is not high on my list of favorite people in the world and is actually fairly high on my list of least-favorite people in the world.  But…

The in-laws were visiting for the birthday of the youngest child and stayed at our house (very full house! My mother is still staying with us).  We went to dinner and I was wearing my newly completed Clapotis which I am inordinately proud of.  During dinner she commented “Oh, don’t the stores have such nice scarves this year?”  My own mother nearly swallowed her tongue and started choking and coughing at this as I had spent 3 solid days finishing, soaking and blocking the Clapotis.  I replied, “Oh, I made this!”  Then I told her and my father-in-law that I would offer to make her one, but as the pattern is a monumental pain in the ass, I am not planning on ever making it again.

Newly finished Clapotis

After dinner, the husband’s sister called while we were all sitting around talking, and I was knitting because that’s what I do. I had made a Color Affection for her and sent it to her as an early Christmas gift.  Now, this SIL is my favorite of the husband’s family and she is the one who I blamed previously for starting me down the knitting path.  She was so excited and so appreciative of the gift.  The MIL gave me a look when I explained that I had made the SIL a gift.  You know.  A look.  Then she asked me what I was working on.  Oh, I said.  I am working on another Color Affection requested by my own mother who was sitting innocently in the rocking chair.  This garnered me another look.  Sigh.  Then she said with far more tact than I have ever given her credit for having or using that she would love to have anything that I made.  Weird.  She is usually much more underhanded and manipulative than that.  Hmmm…

After they left to go home, I did go to the store and bought some worsted weight acrylic.  I am modifying the Color Affection pattern to use worsted weight rather than lace or fingering weight.  This way, I will not spend too much time and energy on something that I am not sure that she will ever use, but she will have something that I made.  And it will be washable.  This is really self preservation.  This way, she can never tell me that I only made things for my own mother, that we don’t love her as much, blah, blah, blah…

Ladies with sticks: Raveler Meeting 2012, Bxl

Most of the time I didn’t want to go, only I hated the idea of not coming. I decided in the last minute, I only signed up the previous day.

I also had serious doubts. What if everybody talks French that I understand most of the time, but can’t really answer. What if the talk Flemish that I don’t understand at all, unless it’s written down. What if they talk to me too fast? What if they don’t talk to me at all?

Anyway, what should I wear? If I wear handknit, it would look like self-advertising. If I wear store-bought cardigan, it would be cheap. If I don’t wear a cardigan, I’ll get cold.

And what should I knit? I just can’t go there with the scarf I should currently be working on: it’s technically finished, but it thas 68 ends to weave in (yes, I counted), it would be uncool to sit there with a darning needle while everybody knits. And I hate those ends, each one of them, I don’t need audience for my suffering. I can’t bring something complex, partly because I don’t work on anything complex, but also because I can’t knit and talk in foreign languages in the same time. I don’t want to bring anything easy, because I would love to impress everybody. Also, I can’t bring anything I only casted on recently, I don’t remember, why, but I had a reason there too. I don’t have anything to knit, how could that happen?

Plus, I’m terribly bad at socializing. I shouldn’t go.

So I went. I dressed up as usual, wore the cowl I received from Maura on the BoTB swap (to get some support), brought the only project I am working on currently (a Wingspan that look better and better every time I work on it) and off I went.

And of course I had a great time, with some great ladies, discussed yarn and Japanese patterns (public transportation and elections in Amerika) and had a nice time seeing all those different lovely yarns and knitting techniques, had a lait russe, checked the nearby designer shop, so overall had a wonderful time.

And now I want to learn to crochet just because I saw my neighbour making a miracle with a cronice chet hook and a 20mm (!) size knitting needle. And  just try to gather the courage to try what another knitter did: made a beautiful and complex Fair Isle pullover, then cut it (yes, cut, with scissors) and made a cardigan out of it.

There’s just so much to learn.