Thursday, November 27, 2008

No wonder this time of year has the highest suicide rate

It's that time of year again. I pull out skein after skein of yarn and cast on tons of projects for gifts. Christmas is trying to sneak up on me and it's winning. I thought I had the advantage after starting my Christmas knitting in June, but it appears that I was wrong. Why?

1. Knitting gorgeous color work mittens for your Mom's gift and giving them to her when they're done with the phrase "I'm taking these back before Christmas so I can wrap them." really doesn't make an exciting gift. I want to knit her another pair, but I despair of ever having time to cast them on, much less knit them.

2. My knitting group has decided (in November - thank you!) that we should have a gift exchange. There's seven of them, not counting Mutti and I. I've decided to knit fingerless mitts for everyone using my leftover bits of yarn - a quick project, right? Much more reasonable than scarves or hats. I have one pair done and am halfway done with the first mitt of a second pair. Hmm... will I make it?

3. For some reason my sister is getting two pairs of mittens. Two pairs. A color work pair and a more rough and tumble pair with thrums for keeping her hands warm while she walks the dog. The thrummed Dog-walking Mittens are done (whew), but I just finished the cuff of the second Shining Star. Will someone hold my hand? Metaphorically, of course, otherwise I wouldn't get any knitting done. Before someone asks, I will be posting the chart in the near future (so, sometime in the next millennium, if you know my definition of 'in the near future'). Be warned though, my sister has long, slender hands and I've made this mitten chart long and slender. Plus, the mittens are knit with alpaca, which stretches with wear, so I've made them snug. I'll post the chart I have aaaannnd.... if you ask nicely I'll make a wider and shorter version. I need to screw around with the thumb gusset, too, because I really don't like it NotThatIWouldEVERTellMySisterThat.

Shining Star Mitten - fancy

Dog-walking mittens - rough and tumble and warm

4. I almost forgot that my Aunt Marge needs a gift so I cast on for thrummed mittens for her. I always knit warm things for her because she lives in western New York near Lake Erie where the winter doesn't play around. These are knit using alpaca with Cheviot x Dorset thrums. Instead of leaving long thrummy ends, I carry the roving along like it's for stranding. Much neater -looking insides. I have the second mitten knit to just inside the gusset. These shouldn't take me long, if I can persuade myself to put down the mitts for my knitting group.

5. Mutti has unwisely requested mitts to wear in her keyboarding class. Not unwise for any other reason than she knows that Christmas is next month and I'll be torturing myself enough with all the Christmas knitting. This makes me think - is this fun for her? Haha, twist the knife? Anyway, her hands get really cold in an air-conditioned class (and no one has bothered to ask why is the class air-conditioned in the middle of winter?) and she can't type with cold hands. Thus: keyboarding mitts. I'm knitting a keyboard pattern into the back of the hand and (madnessmadnessmadness) I will be embroidering the letters in after. Have not even started the second one because the needles I need are being used for Di's Shining Star Mittens. See my problem(s)? This may turn into a, er, New Year's gift. Also, I really hate knitting fingers. This is why you've never (okay, only once) seen me knit gloves. Never again. I swear it.6. Someway, somehow I'm still finding time for spinning. Earlier this month I didn't quite finish some DK wt yarn for a pair of mittens I'm laughably planning for myself using some DK wt dark brown yarn for my own interpretation of this pattern. Don't even ask me about yardage and such. It's Shetland wool, dyed by me, Navajo plied. If I get up from the computer to check the yardage I won't finish this post because I'll be sidetracked by the yarn strewn across my desk (complete mess... don't even get me started on that). It's enough for one mitten. I still have to spin another bobbin. Next year perhaps. I'm calling the colorway November. *
7. As if that wasn't enough: after the first of the year I'll be teaching a spinning class. Drop spindle and wheel. It's strictly BYOW^. Since I'll be teaching drop spindle as well (not everyone can afford a wheel) I've picked up my own spindle to get my spin back in. It's just like... well, I won't use the phrase riding a bike after my nasty accident in Virginia, but it's just like... um... eating pie. Just comes naturally. I'm spinning Burning Sensation for a friend on my favorite Spindlewood Co. Bubinga and Heartwood spindle (how I love thee...). DK wt, probably. If you want to learn and you live in Olympia or the Olympia area (Tumwater, Lacey...) post a reply in the South Puget Sound Ravelers Group thread Spinners?. Note: this isn't going to be a free class.
I'm off to work on my sister's mittens. They're the kind of mitten I can only work on in the morning: aluminum needles and slippery alpaca color work. Welcome to the Northwest Inquistion. Enjoy your stay, try the salmon.
^Bring Your Own Wheel
* Oh, nevermind. There's 126 yds. Gosh, isn't Ravelry handy? Big smooch to Ravelry.


allisonmariecat said...

Someone needs to do some yoga breathing! Or have a martini.

I'm not attempting widespread handmade gifts (except my apple butter, which takes me 2 hours to make 5 gifts, much quicker than knitting), so I am blown away by your Christmas knitting! Everything is gorgeous and ambitious and unique, and whatever you manage to finish will be treasured. May I suggest focusing on getting one present per person knocked out, before finishing the second one for someone? Best of luck!

Chris said...

Whoa. And WOW. Hey, I need a pair of mittens... ;)