Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Christmas 2009

WARNING!!!! The following post is NOT for family consumption. There are spoilers on this post.

So, I joined Crunchy Chicken's Buy Hand Christmas Challenge. I try to make most of my Christmas presents every year. I am not always successful AND I usually spend a good part of the month of December with cramped fingers and a stressed air about me.

This does not really connote a sense of giving to me.

A few years ago I read an editorial in Interweave Knits about why the editor tried to knit for Christmas. Her reasoning was that anyone could take their credit card for a walk through the mall, but to knit a gift takes a level of thoughtfulness that can not be bought. I know that when I am knitting something for someone I really care about; I am not just thinking about what color or texture of yarn would be the most satisfying to the recipient, but I am also thinking about that person while I am knitting it. I think about how warm they will be. Sometimes a strand of hair gets knitted into the fabric, sometimes my cat Lily weaves her own affection into the object. It is a sort of magic that occurs during the process.

So this year I began in February by joining a group on Ravelry ( if you are a knitter you should really check out this site, so many great FREE knitting patterns to be found). Each month there was a knitting assignment. One month was scarves, hats, pairs of something etc. Anyhow, when I started the Big Green Sweater,all that fell by the wayside but I did make a few things for the wee one. At the time, I had plotted out what I would make for those I want to give gifts too. I have most of the materials and I will not have to buy any more yarn for these projects.

Okay confessional, I have a yarn fetish. I have a substantial yarn stash. Some of it I found at the Goodwill, some a very good friend gave to me from his stash, and some I bought with the money I earned at the bookstore and from my sales of crafted items. But I confess, if today was TEOTWAWKI, I would be set for a LOONNNGG while. That being said, I am always able to make something, and I will not have to buy any yarn for gifts this year.

There are couple of quick knit patterns that I want to work on.

First are these Toasties. I've made a couple of pairs. They are really easy to whip up. I can make a pair in a couple of evenings.

I also want to make a few of these dishtowels. I will also make a dish cloths to go with them. If you want to learn to knit, I recommend starting with one of these projects. They are quick. They combine several elements of knitting without overwhelming the learner. You can find the needles and cotton for about 7.00 at some place like Joanne's or some place like that. Or a Local Yarn Shop can set you up with a finer grade of cotton and get you started on the project.
( FYI Wendy, Central Yarn in Portland carries the Sugar and Creme Cotton, they are really great and will get you started, oh and your girls will enjoy it too;)

I was going to make some handpuppets for the little kids in the family.

I hope to make a vest for the Teen and Hubby. These should take about a week each. No sleeves makes this a project that I know I can get done in time.

My nieces will be getting a new sweater each for Christmas.They are toddlers and this also should take just about a week to do.

I also would like to make my FIL a pair of wool socks. The other men folk in my home will get some wool socks. Teen needs a new hat. And hubby wants one of these hats. This hat looks a little tricky and may have to be presented as yarn in a bag that I promise to finish when life slows down after the holidays.

There are a few non-knitted items that I want to make too.

I plan to give some homemade herbal teas as gifts. A friend used to use little muslin bags for serving bulk tea. I have the needed material for making these bags. I will also include a jar of dried mint to go with the bag.

I want to find a recipe for finger paints for the wee one. I also want to make some lacing cards for him.

I will be sewing a wrap for colored pencils for the teen.

I will be putting together a small photo album of the kids for family members from over the last year.

Some folks will be receiving baked goods. I will be able to enlist the help of the menfolk in the house for this project. On the other hand, I may have to do this on my own. They eat more than they pack;)

Finally, I also resolve to not buy any wrapping paper. I found some Christmas tins at the Goodwill that I will use for some things. I also will sew up fabric bags from scraps of fabric I have at home.

okay... If you peeked you should know that I also LOVE handmade gifts as well...


Robj98168 said...

Right on the no wrapping. Last year I was pretty able to stay on course with that, using cloth bags to wrap and that fancy japenese style of wrapping with cloth (the name escapes me right now)
Your hubby has good tast in caps/hats- I have wanted one of those caps for so long to drive the british convertible with

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link for those toasties.. my daughter would love them..
Sounds like you're on the right track for gifts..
Last year I made fabric bags for my grandson's gifts and at first they thought I was strange then later on they started using them to keep their toys in and ended up giving me a hug and telling me how much they liked them.

Wendy said...

Great ideas! I've seen the dish towels, but the top is knitted or crocheted and the bottom is an actualy towel. I think I might try the all knitted towel, although I may have to "Wendify" it a bit, because I'm not sure I can actually follow a knitting pattern, yet ;).

Anyway, you have some great ideas here, and I think you've helped me dream up some things I might do for my own handmade Christmas ;).

Witchy Mom's Homeschool said...

I am relatively new to knitting (I have only knitted a scarf with the very basic knit stitch so far). I would really love to try my hand at some more knitting and love the idea of homemade gifts!

p.s. I bought some big, fabric gift bags that were on sale a few years back after the holidays for very cheap. They would be very easy to make! They simply have a drawstring (well, rope, not string) closure at the top. I plan to make or buy more each year so that I'm using less paper and more bags for wrapping. The kids can help glue or sew on felt figures, letters, whatever to personalize their own bags, too :)

Fleecenik Farm said...

Wendy, when you get to parts you are unsure about on the pattern, the ladies will help you at the yarn shop. They want your repeat business so will help you through some of the technical bits.

Also, You tube and knittinghelp.com have how to videos to get you through some of the language and stuff...

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

A lot of folks are getting scarves this year. As a newbie knitter, I'm loving scarves and dish clothes.

Once I get the trick of knitting in the round, I'll probably make some fingerless gloves or toasties for my mom. Her hands are very arthritic and her heating bills have become stupid high in an effort to keep them mobile. Toasties might help!

Kristina said...

I am determined to teach myself how to knit this winter!!! I drool over the scarves and sweaters that people make!! Good job on getting on the ball for Christmas already!!! If only I were that organized!! :)

Kathy said...

As you know, I am a lover of your wool socks! I have a pair in purple and lavender that ... are oh so broken in and just right!

I'm not buying any wrapping paper this year either. What I have left over is what will be used and next year I plan to use finger paints to stamp newspaper (although sometimes the black ink gets on you) because at least that is reuse and recycles more easily than that shiny stuff.

I'm glad you are getting an early start to the holiday craziness. I am working my magic too.

No knitting needles need apply.

Chance said...

Came over from Simple Green Frugal Co-op. thanks for the links....I always overshoot what I can actually accomplish in the gift-making arena. that leads to a whole other issue of sustainability...I'm only one person!
In my husband's family, we reuse the gift bags and boxes every year. We joke who will get what bag this year. it's a lot more fun that way.