Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Christmas Knits

Our Christmas giving has become much more streamlined over the past few years, but I still fuss quite a bit over what to get our kids. While I want my gift to be appreciated and useful, I baulk at being a payment-and-delivery system for hope count on mom and dad will buy for Christmas. Realistically, we can afford to help and I like to, but I sometimes wish I could be more self-indulgent in my giving -- I'd love to figure out and give something I'm sure would be perfect for them, but meanwhile, they're doing without something they'd love us to help out with. Overall, we're being gracious and getting it right (on both sides) more often than not and trying to keep our eye on what's important. Thinking this through as I started making lists early in December, I realize that while I'm happy to buy the larger-ticket items the kids hint for (and I use the term loosely -- our idea of big-ticket is more likely to be a contribution to the new computer rather than a new laptop), I still need to express myself in my gifts. I reconciled myself to the situation by deciding to give each daughter/son and partner something I've knit and to maintain and solidify a tradition of giving everyone a carefully-chosen book. Having resolved this, I happily acquiesced with the other requests. I guess I feel as if I'm able to indulge my own gift-giving this way and indulge their gift-receiving with the bigger items -- not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, but I was happy with the resolution.
Anyway, these are some of the gifts I gave, the final knitted items of 2008:

I began this scarf, made in Madil's Kid Seta, not sure who it would be for (honestly, I started out thinking I might keep it), but I started to imagine it on Rhiannon, who really has been getting her scarves on, and so that's who I gave it to.
Good choice, as you can see below . . .

Last Christmas, when I gave Bronwen a pair of fingerless mitts, Adam remarked that he wouldn't mind a pair, so that's what he got. For my knitting readers (hi, Jillian!) these are made in Cestari's 2-ply, a heavy worsted, and the pattern is a modified (shortened) Dashing. Deets for all these items on Ravelry (I go by Materfamilias there as well; unfortunately, you need to be a Ravelry member for access). He wouldn't be Adam if he didn't give us the ham's pose:
And to demonstrate these mitts' versatility, another pose
I'm going to make at least one more pair of these -- Zach, Rob, and Paul seem to think they'd be useful, and they were enjoyable to knit as well as being potential stash-busters.
While Rob might have a pair of these in a future gift box, this Christmas I made him an Aviator hat out of Big Baby Alpaca -- I forgot to get a picture of it beforehand, so Megan sent me the one at the top of the post. The boy totally endeared himself to me a few days after Christmas when I was assuring him that I'd exchange his hat for some mitts if he didn't think the hat suited -- he looked at me, surprised (or feigning surprise very convincingly): "Why wouldn't I Like it? I wore it all day yesterday!" -- If he wants them, he's got handknits for life!
By the way, only when I looked closely at Meg's photo did I realize that the oh-so-photogenic Henry is wearing the 100% cashmere chevron scarf that I gave Megan. (Which means she's not quite as likely as Rob to get a lifestime supply of knits -- although the dog does look cute in cashmere!)
A much faster knit, also a scarf (except when it's a shawl) is this sharf/scawl that I made Bronwen using the Big Baby, a chunky, luxuriously soft Alpaca and 15mm needles in a child's-play stockinette. Because the stitches are so big, the button (a big beauty made of Mother-of-Pearl) can fasten anywhere, simply turning any stitch into a buttonhole, for various configurations. Bronwen had admired one in a Mt. Pleasant shop last summer, and it was an easy design to copy. I think I'll make more of these in future as well.

I still have a post left to report the few last movies we saw in 2008, more for myself, perhaps, than for you. After that, I'll have well and truly entered 2009 -- my colleague today jokingly began the countdown -- only 12 weeks to go 'til end of term.
What about you? 2008 all tidied away? 2009 well-launched?


  1. Wow, gorgeous knitwork! (Is that a word?) All of those are so lovely and fit the recipients so well! You really have a great sense of what materials will compliment the pattern/design.

  2. Deeply miss the years of buying toys and storybooks. My 21 year old twins got books (Arivind Adiga's "White Tiger", Rawi Hage's "Cockroach") and items like flannel-lined jeans and down vests which I know they enjoy. This year I made the decision to give no cash or gift cards. Love your knits, especially top scarf, and it's such fun to see them modeled by your appreciative family.

  3. Lovely family, and such beautiful knits! I especially love the sheer-ish mohair one.

  4. Yes, I struggle with that same thing, happy to able to help out with the things the kids want but need help with, but also missing that bit of fun of finding the perfect gift. It seems like you have found a good path, and the knitwear is gorgeous.

  5. I just watched Slumdog Millionaire, which was very enjoyable. Have you seen that one yet? Great cast, great story, great direction and pacing.

  6. Ha! 5 weeks and counting until half term..
    I LOVE that last knit with the really HUGE button, I truly believe a small gift, hand made is worth a dozen did I really say that aloud?

  7. Pseu: Thanks -- that is part of the fun of knitting -- matching up yarns with patterns, choosing colours for wearers, etc.,
    Duchesse: While I've done cash and gift cards in the past, I'm not happy at all with that solution and I don't think I'll do it again.
    Cockroach is on my list, btw -- De Niro's Game was powerful.

  8. Iheartfashion: Thanks -- I really love the mohair one as well and was quite tempted to keep it.
    Mardel: so you've been there too!
    And thanks re the knits.
    Miss R.: Thanks for the recommendation. Isn't this one still at the theatres, though? We seem to be spending our former theatre-going nights in Vanc'r sitting with Miss Nola! And no complaints either.
    Alison: I wish I had a close-up of the button -- I love it as does Bronwen -- a splurge that really makes the garment, I think.

  9. All great knits - the multi-tone scarf and cape/scarf are especially lovely!

  10. Thanks Jillian,
    My favourites as well, and I hope I get a chance to make at least one more of each (although the kidsilk striped scarf is a bigger commitment time-wise)

  11. wow, I love your are prolific. And now I know I've been spelling "balk" wrong all this time, dammit.

    Especially love Rhiannon's scarf.

  12. Karen: I had to double-check the spelling for "baulk/balk" -- the latter is the US spelling, whereas I generally use Canadian -- so you're not wrong at all.

  13. How did I miss this one? This looks so good on Brownwyn and I can't believe it can do that Jekyll and Hyde transformation!! Very, very unique and a special gift!

  14. Karen: Thanks -- I'm already planning to make at least one more and I have a few buttons chosen.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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