Merry Christmas everyone!
Hope your holiday is full of love, hope, and happiness – and none of that icky drama (family or otherwise) that seems to hang around this time of year.
So, this week marked a very significant point in my xmas knitting plans… I finished the sweater!!!!!!!
Thanks to a lovely stranger on Ravelry, I managed to snag a partial skein of the yarn I ran out of, which gave me enough to finish not just the hood of the sweater, but the optional attached mittens as well!
Needless to say, when we exchanged gifts this morning, I had a very thrilled 3 1/2-year-old on my hands. She was running around with a HUGE grin on her face while she wore the sweater.
I know, the moment I held the ears & horns up to the hood, I literally squealed with excitement. It’s possibly the cutest thing I’ve ever made, and I love it to death, and hope she gets a lot of use out of it!
Now, I seem to have gotten out of the habit of sharing yarn & pattern info, but for anyone who is interested in knitting the most adorable giraffe sweater for a young child, the pattern is the Twiga Hoodie by Megan Grewal, available on Ravelry, and the yarn is Knit Picks Swish Bulky in Hickory, and Bare Swish Bulky hand-dyed in a semi-solid yellow.
Now, I could be ranting about how some of the yarn I used in my nephew’s sweater felted in the dryer, despite being superwash, but… I’m too happy with how the giraffe sweater turned out to really care.
I mean, come on – who could be sad when they made this happen?
So close to finishing the niece’s sweater. I can see the end in sight.
…so, of course, I run out of yarn.
Well, ok, I’m not quite there yet, but it’s sure close. Not sure what I’m going to do – I’ve got half a hood to do, and preferably mittens, too, though I’m guessing those won’t happen.
One week – to the day. Not enough time to order yarn from the slowpoke yarn company, and this isn’t something that I can get locally, either. And it’s not a popular color, so there aren’t a ton of people who have it listed in their stash on Ravelry – and none of those that do have it listed for sale. *sigh*
I guess this is how defeat feels.
…and I was so close!
I’ve really done it now…
Apparently, simple stockinette stitch socks go really fast – especially when they’re for little kids, and knit with fun, self-striping yarn! Woohoo!
On top of that, this morning I finished all the miscellaneous sewing I had to do. Buttons are sewn on to various projects, conductive thread is sewn into the fingertips of gloves and mittens, broken buttons have been replaced…. *whistles innocently*
I’m down to just a few more projects to finish, and then I’ll be ready to go. Tonight, I think I’m going to work on my niece’s sweater, and hopefully that will be done by Wednesday-ish, so I can wash and block that and my nephew’s sweater, and have those wrapped by next Friday – just in time for our Christmas get-together with them on Saturday!
Now, that being said, I’m in a bit of a moral dilemma. Certain people in my family have decided that they’re only doing gifts for kids. Which is fine… Even if I think it’s a bit stingy, as there aren’t that many adults, and they only have one niece and no nephews on this side of the family, and they’re the ones in the family who actually have money, while the rest of us – who can’t really afford it – are much more generous and enjoy giving gifts… But that’s beside the point. They’ve also made it clear that it goes for giving gifts to them – they don’t want any.
Every year up until now, I’ve gone against that and either bought or made gifts for them. Last year, I made hats for both of them (hers was out of a gorgeous, not-cheap, Angora blend that I wanted so badly to keep for myself – it was the only hat I ever made that looked good on me!) Now, they put the hats on for pictures when they got ‘em, but I have no way of knowing if they ever actually wear ‘em – I’ve never seen it. For all I know, they never have, and they’ve either been shoved in the back of a closet somewhere, or they’ve been given (or thrown!) away.
Needless to say, this year, with my hands acting up and my bank account perpetually empty, I decided not to give them anything. Up until now, I’ve been alright with that decision, but now, with just over a week before we exchange gifts, I’m starting to feel bad about it.
You see, gifts aren’t an obligation to me – they’re something I do out of love. If I make a gift for someone, every little stitch is a bit of love, a wish for happiness and well-being, a drop of hope. And, whether I buy or make a gift, a lot of thought goes into finding just the right thing for the person it’s going to. I don’t just grab a pair of socks from some store and call it good, I scour the internet for hours at a time, looking for just the right thing, and then either I buy it, or I spend many more hours making it for the person it’s intended for. Every gift I give is an act of love, and a way of showing how much I care for someone.
And not giving a gift, to me, feels like I’ve turned my back on that person. As much as these two get on my nerves at times, I don’t feel right turning my back on them – they’re family, whether or not we always agree on things.
What should I do? I don’t have money, but I do have a bit of time… Do I make them something? Or just not give them anything, knowing that they don’t give a damn, so why should I? (Yes, I know, this may not be true of them, but it sure feels like it most of the time…)
Do I stick with my initial decision and not stress myself out trying to do something? Or do I find something simple to do? Or just run to the dollar store and call it good?
So, 2 weeks until Xmas, and I’m so close to finishing!
…well, if close means 2 pairs of mittens, 1/4 of a sweater, a hooded scarf, a pair of kid-sized socks, and a blanket. >.>
BUT! Most of those can be finished after Christmas. In fact, the only things that need to be done right away are the sweater and the socks, which shouldn’t take me more than a week combined (I hope) – and they’re due in just over a week, so I should (hopefully) be good!
I’ve wrapped up a bunch of the gifts that have to be sent out (though no idea if I’ll have enough money to actually ship ‘em in time – eep!) and the others that still need to be wrapped are blocking as I type this. Including one pair of mittens that I just finished this morning.
Everything else, I’m looking at an extra 1 1/2 weeks after xmas until it needs to be finished (except for the blanket, which I already told my mom was going to be late – so she knows it’s coming, but doesn’t expect it on time. She said my gift to her was helping with all the xmas shopping anyways.)
So, for my updated goal of finishing 52 projects this year, where am I?
Well, let’s see…
7 sweaters (8 if you count the one I finished on the 1st, but I’m not counting it)
5 pairs of socks
2 pairs of fingerless mitts
1 pair of gloves
4 pairs of colorwork mittens
3 soap holders/washcloths
2 pairs of slippers
total: 51 finished projects!!!!
At this rate, I will not only meet, but exceed my goal for the year – topping out at (hopefully) 57 projects. On top of that, I will have designed 5 patterns for publishing, and heavily modified or improvised another 6. I’ll have given 5o gifts, and kept a whopping 7 items for myself, including a sweater and a gigantic scarf.
Needless to say, today I’m feeling a great sense of accomplishment.
…now if I can just get those last few things done and ready to go.
So, this month has been pretty bad knit-wise. I’ve been feeling a little apathetic and overwhelmed, and my hands have been having issues, and things have been taking forever, it seems.
I started a few projects, finished a lot less (3 – 4 if you count the one I finished on the 1st of the month), and spent a lot of time doing, well, nothing.
I’ve changed my gift plans so many times that I’m not sure what’s what anymore, I still have yarn that I need to order, and some that I have no idea what I’m even getting!
In other words, I’m starting to panic a bit.
…and let’s not mention the things I should have sent out already that are still waiting to be blocked *facepalm*
Things will get better…. right?
Three posts in a week – that has to be a record. Maybe.
But, I just had to share what I’m up to tonight… You see, one project I have planned for my holiday knitting this year requires bulky weight, yellow yarn. Now, I needed that bulky weight, yellow yarn to be machine washable, and as close to 100% wool as possible, and still super affordable, as I needed about 500 grams, which can get pretty pricey.
So, of course, I turned to my favorite cheap-but-decent yarn
First criteria: Bulky weight
No problem – there’s an entire page devoted to all their bulky weight yarns.
Second criteria: Machine washable
Ok, that narrows my choices down to 3 bases
Third criteria: As close to 100% wool as possible
Alright, there’s 100% acrylic, 50% nylon & 50% wool, or 100% wool. The 100% wool is the only one that won’t make my fingers cry, so that’s the obvious choice.
Fourth & final criteria: Yellow
No problem – the picture shows a really pretty butter yellow that will….
There’s no yellow.
So, I take a step back and think… There is really nowhere that I can get this decent of a price on yarn – especially with no shipping costs. But, they don’t have what I need. So, what do I do?
Dye my own!
I ordered up enough of their undyed yarn for my project (all the requirements, just natural colored instead of yellow!) It came, I let it sit for a bit, while I worked on other projects, and then this week, I decided it was time…
Tonight, after a nice, long talk with Nancy of Schmutzerella Yarns, I whipped out the big silver pot, some food coloring, and a bottle of vinegar and… well…
The yarn is cooling now, after which I’ll rinse it and set it out to dry. Right now, I’m feeling pretty optimistic. The yellow isn’t 100% even, but I think that just adds a bit more interest to the fabric.
Let’s just hope all the dye doesn’t wash out!