I did it to myself again.
Every year I decide I’m going to make things for Christmas. I alternate
making cookies and candy for everyone I’ve ever met in my life with
knitting warm, woolen items for everyone I’ve ever met.
I make myself nuts trying to accomplish everything I want to, no matter how idealistic and unlikely to complete I am.
Every year I start out large and plan to make 15 different types of
cookies, and let’s not forget the salted caramel pieces, which are
delicious, yet if you don’t pay enough attention to them they become
caramel rocks instead of soft, chewy candies.
Or I decide that everyone in my family younger than 20 gets hand-knit,
colorwork-filled gloves, even though I’ve never actually knit a glove
before, but I’ve conquered lace and cables, so how hard can it be?
Answer: not hard, just when you make five pairs it can be a bit time
consuming. Kind of like that time I decided to knit four pairs of felted
clog slippers even though I had never done that before either. They
took days and days to dry and so my sister ended up with a slipper IOU
because hers still were wet and stuffed with newspaper. It wouldn’t be
Christmas without a knitting IOU. At least for me.
One year, before I fully got the hang of knitting, I knit sweaters for
three nieces and a nephew and I’m pretty sure none of them wanted them.
Yes, I’m that aunt who gave away knit gifts complete with uneven sleeves
and weird yarn discoloration.
Of course, the baby’s sweater wouldn’t even fit over her head, so she
doesn’t count. There’s logic in there somewhere. You have to find it
But I want to make things that people will enjoy. I want everyone to
understand that I love the knitting process, and I love them, so I want
to put those two things together and create a magical, wonderful,
Christmassy, fantastic day filled with scarves with a falling leaves
lace pattern or reversible, double-knit hats.
Not everyone understands this, and that’s OK. I’ll keep knitting things
that make me happy and giving them away, even to people who don’t want
them. And I’ll keep shortening my list as the holidays get closer and I
realize that I have some unrealistic expectations regarding my knitting
speed and the fact that I have to sleep sometimes and also take care of
children who require things such as food and diaper changes and other
items that hinder my knitting process.
One good thing about setting a knitting deadline for me that is out of
reach — and some would say insane — is that I’ve started knitting in
front of my children. I avoided doing that in the past because anytime I
am not giving them my undivided attention they do whatever they can to
get it, usually something that annoys me and nothing annoys me more when
I’m knitting than when a small person takes my ball of yarn and runs
away with it, thus unraveling all of the intricate cables I’ve just
spent a good while and a fair amount of cursing creating.
So I just didn’t let them see me doing something I enjoyed. It was for
their own good health, really. But I’ve had to do it this holiday
season because I sort of convinced myself I actually could finish my
knitting list, even though really I wasn’t fooling myself at all. And so
I’ve knit. And they’ve seen me. And there have been times when my ball
of yarn has been ripped away from me and I’ve had to chase down the
culprit. But the more they see me do it, the more used to it they are,
and the more they see that Mom is just a crazy knitting lady who shouts
out "Just one more row! I’ll get you your milk if you just let me finish
one more row!"
I’m OK with that.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on December 26, 2012.