Merry Christmas

Gifts for Knitters: Days 24 and 25
These are gifts, my darling non-knitters, that you can give to a knitter without any money, any time, or any planning, and I personally guarantee that they will be appreciated more than anything else you can do.  They are as follows:


I am sure you respect your knitter every day, but let me just take a minute to speak to you about knitting respect.  Knitting may look like stuff made out of yarn, but it isn’t.  Knitting is actually a container, that your knitter has filled with time and love.  Time that they chose to give to another person, that they could have spent doing anything else in the world.  When you see a knitted object, don’t see a hat, or a sweater, or a pair of socks.  See twenty, forty, a hundred hours of your knitters life that they have decided that you, or someone else is worth.  (How much time did you spend getting their present?) Understand that far from being a thrifty or lesser way of giving a gift, things that are handmade are the most expensive objects there are.  Conduct yourself accordingly as your knitter wraps that scarf for your mum.

Day 25

This gift leads straight out of the last one, and I know that if you give the gift of respect, that this next one will be a cinch for you to pull together.

The Proper Way to Receive a Knitted Gift.

1. Open the gift, and immediately say something positive.  (Suggestions are things like "Oh wow!" or "Oh my goodness!)

2. Hold up the item and smile broadly.

3. If you do not know what the item is, DO NOT SAY SO. 
We understand that knitting can produce some unusual items, and that the nature of handmade objects can further complicate things.  If, after admiring the item for some time you are still not sure what it is, say something like "This is beautiful. Oh my gosh.  Can you show me how I should wear it? I want to do it justice."

4.  After admiring and identifying the item, RUB IT ON YOUR FACE, or at the very least, cuddle it against your neck while saying something positive, like "Mmmmmm".  Knitters love this.  It’s because we’ve been worried that you wouldn’t like it, and knitting is a tactile thing.   Lots of non-knitters find some textiles scratchy or uncomfortable, and we’re worried that will be you.  Making immediate physical contact with the item reassures us.

5. Pronounce the item  the best gift you have ever gotten.  Kiss or hug the knitter, and show the item off to at least one other person over the course of the day.

6. Place item in a place of honour, and continue to admire it at intervals, remarking (see gift re: Respect above) that you can’t believe that a knitter thought you were worth that much time. 


-Comment that it doesn’t fit.  This is not something you discuss today.  Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after. Or in a week.  Not today.  Your knitter has been busting a move for weeks or months for you.  They probably finished a hat at 2am and are a little fragile.  Save it.

-Similarly, do not say it is scratchy, or uncomfortable or not what you wanted.  Despite what some other non-knitters may have you think, knitting is a super expensive gift – and if someone gave you a Ferrari, you wouldn’t pout and tell them you wanted it in blue. 

Now go forth and love your knitter.  They’re amazing.

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Peace out.  Be kind to each other.  Stay calm. 

148 thoughts on “Merry Christmas

  1. Now go get some rest, drink some eggnog, enjoy your wonderful family. As soon as I knit the neckband and sew together the sweater for my littlest grandson, I’ll do the same
    Merry Christmas to knitters one and all!
    And Happy New Year!

  2. I just started to read this out loud to my family, but I couldn’t finish (I think there was something in the air). Thanks so much for putting in words what we (sometimes secretly) all think; knitting matters.

  3. I’m going to email this link to my brother tomorrow. I made him a pair of Earl Grey socks and want only positive words in response to them no matter how he feels.
    Merry holidays to you and yours.

  4. Merry Christmas. I just got the most lovely email about a knitted gift —from another knitter so she knew what today. Admittedly, it was Wolmeise, so the fumes probably got to her!

  5. Merry Christmas. Thanks so much for the gift list, so many fabulous ideas. I am hoping to open up at least one or two of those excellent suggestions tomorrow morning ; ) Relax and enjoy your well deserved holiday.

  6. Happy Holidays Steph. Thanks for sharing and inspiring us. Have a holiday beer and enjoy time with your family.
    BTW, my Mom’s scarf is not getting finished by the time we open gifts tonight and I’m okay with that. I’ve got another gift that she was getting as well, so I’ll just show her the WIP and let her know if has an ETA of soon. 🙂

  7. Merry Christmas one and all, and may your yarniest wishes come true! At our house, the pies and cookies are baked, the house is (mostly) clean (at least the parts that show), presents are wrapped, and we’re as ready as we’re going to be. We’re going to a friend’s this afternoon, see my stepson and his fiancee this evening, and go to my mother’s tomorrow. I’ve got a pure silk scarf on the needles. All is well.

  8. Have a lovely day tomorrow, and thank you for all your knitting inspiration. By the way, since you don’t eat turkey, may I ask what is served in its place?

  9. Thank you for putting into words what we all feel. Every gift we make is full of love even if our friends and family don’t completely understand. As for good gift reactions my personal favourite is “Wow, you MADE this? That’s amazing, you are so talented.” Having someone enjoy the things you knit makes it all worth it 🙂 Happy Holidays.

  10. Merry Christmas to you and all your family. I do sincerely hope you follow your own advice, and stay calm. Enjoy that eggnog and a rousing game of euchre!

  11. My son is both too old for hand-knitted gifts and too young to have children, but eventually all that could change. Meanwhile, he promised to get me your new book for Christmas, and we always enjoy sharing your posts together and laughing or admiring. That connection is better than any purchased gift, so thank you so much!

  12. “Thank you” doesn’t begin do it, but thank you anyway for, well, all of it. And much much comfort and joy to you this Christmas and all the days.

  13. Merry Christmas Stephanie and family!
    Finally had the nerve to knit a lace scarf for my Mom in law this year – wish she could read this b/c I’m super nervous! Love your wit as always.

  14. Thank you for this. I got a bit weepy there for a moment, but that might just be the champagne. 🙂 Merry Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for this gift that you give your readers all year long.

  15. Happy Christmas, dear Harlot. You have brought joy for all of us with your witty knitting of words. May your new year bring that joy back to you a thousand times expanded.

  16. Merry Christmas, Steph. Thanks for the cheer you bring all year. From the chicken knitter in Pasadena.
    By the way, I decided to try a sock again and I made it to about 1 inch before I nearly cried. My daughter is making those beautiful socks now…win, win… I’m knitting slippers on size 8’s with worsted.

  17. Thank you for all the wonderful gift suggestions – I’ve been checking them out for myself! As I’m newly back to knitting (did it eons ago in college) I mostly make stuff for myself. Recently i gave my sister a möbius and a felted hat. She was over the moon which is making me braver!
    Have a very warm and loving Christmas with your family, Stephanie! May it live up to and exceed your expectations!

  18. Merry Christmas and peace and health to you and yours, Stephanie. And thank you for eloquently expressing so much in this post, as well as in these recent ones before Christmas. The time and effort you spend sharing with us is most generous indeed. Thanks again, Grace

  19. Thank you for showing the blog that Christmas Ninja is possible. You are an inspiration.
    I hope your holiday is full of fun and time together.
    Happy Holidays.

  20. It’s here! It’s the 24th. Have the most blessed and merriest of Christmases. In Sudbury, it is at last snowing-talk about waiting until the last minute. The roads are now covered and it’s magical. I’m ready. Things are under control. Merry, merry, merry Christmas.
    Cheers and red wine, Hazel.

  21. Thanks for harlotting on for another year. I honestly don’t know what I would do without you!

  22. A lovely post, Stephanie. Thank you — and a Happy Christmas to you and your family. Best wishes for a New Year that brings few worries, good health, and happy times for future memories.

  23. My youngest may have found “extra” Christmas wrapping paper under the bed in the guest room. I love going to the store and getting all new paper and rewrapping everything – no problem at the break of dawn on Christmas Eve day. My mom told me that all of the racing around is worth it because there comes a time when you can’t do it anymore. Merry Christmas – I’m off to make the Figgy Pudding now – don’t you just love the name?

  24. Merry Christmas Steph!
    Thank you for all the laughs throughout the year. But, really, thank you for putting into words everything I’m thinking, but just don’t quite know how to say!
    You are one awesome lady! Go have some nog, and enjoy!

  25. Thank you, Steph. A very important post. I know you hear bad experiences all the time, but let me tell you about a good one.
    The absolute best fun I ever had watching someone open a knitted gift from me was when our little granddaughter Esther, then 4, opened a scarf I had killed my hands over during the 9-hour trip to their house. The dog had teethed on Esther’s beloved pink scarf and she specifically asked for a new pink one to replace the one “Prince had chewed up”. I’m not a fast knitter and I didn’t have time to yarn shop, so I dug through stash and combined a couple of pink worsteds — one of which was little-girl shimmery — and grabbed some big needles. Garter stitch all the way. Esther loved over that pink scarf, stroking it, ooooing and ahhhhing. The next year she still was wearing it everywhere, bedraggled though it looked by that time.
    She’s nearly 6 now and still loves pink. I think she needs another one.

  26. Yes, your wise words could be said about accepting almost any present, but especially handmade.
    Merry Christmas!

  27. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Stratford, Ontario. Thank you for these lovely posts, Stephanie.

  28. Discovered your blog earlier this year, and I’ve finally caught up reading from the beginning. I don’t have any other knitters around, and you make me feel normal when my husband looks at me like I’m crazy. I’ve also come to grips with the fact that I won’t be finishing my grandmother’s scarf before tomorrow night, and that it’s okay. So thanks for being around. I shall track down your books soon 🙂
    Merry Christmas and Peace to you and your family <3

  29. I love your blog. I only discovered it relatively recently, and am now an avid follower. And this post says everything that needs to be said about receiving hand-made gifts; I once gave a pair of hand-knit cashmere blend socks to a very close friend, and the reaction was a great deal less than I had expected from her. No more for her! Please can I copy the “respect” part of this post and place it (with reference to yourself, of course) on my Facebook page?? Maybe it’ll give one or two other people the hint!
    Love to you and yours this Christmas time. Have a wonderful one!

  30. Dear Steph,
    May you have wonderful, quiet dreams tonight and a bright fun-filled Christmas.
    I’ll be spending a quiet day with my 92-year old Dad, who has been cursed with an inability to communicate. BUT, family is family and I’ll be working on socks for – well probably New Years.

  31. I just finished a vest for my mother. I’m thinking that I should bag the gift I got for my dad and knit him up a scarf. After all, I’m not seeing them until Boxing Day. Size 10’s for a nice drapey (read fast) fabric. Both items are from my own happy little Jacobs.
    Oh yes, it shall be done. Pax et lux.

  32. This post should be printed, framed and hung by the front door for all to see. 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  33. Have a very Merry Christmas with your family. Even though I am not a knitter I enjoy your blog. BTW this post also applies to crocheters, who even though they only wield one hook put just as much thought,time and love into their gifts:D

  34. Respect is key. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I am pulling out some favourite wool to knit with this evening, and tomorrow, as we settle in and enjoy. Cheers (there may be wine involved, so it will be straightforward, un-tricky knitting). Peace out.

  35. Merry Christmas to you, Joe, the girls and all of your family! Saw your tweet about your 3 girls, flashlight, and giggling and just couldn’t help remembering the story about the water ballon fight in the living room from your new book – I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard.
    I”ve really enjoyed your posts on the days to Christmas!

  36. Thanks for making our world a better place. I hope you enjoy the time with your family and have a great new year.

  37. Thank you for another year of enjoyment along with the opportunity to simply email what I want in the form of your daily writings.
    A Peaceful Christmas to you and your family.

  38. Lots of love to you and yours! I have made several scarves using your Handspun One Row Pattern. What a joy to create and to give! Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

  39. Dear Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for all the smiles, insight, and introspection your wonderful blog has brought into my life not just in the recent year, but for many years past.
    My knitting has improved tenfold since finding the Yarn Harlot; it’s not simply a pass time any longer.
    I lost both parents this year, Stephanie, and if not for the knitting, I’d have lost my mind as well.
    So, at this special time of year, please accept my most sincere, heartfelt thanks. I don’t always express them, but now they’re felt towards you every day.
    Gene Reyes

  40. Wishing you and yours a most joyous and loving Christmas along with hopes for a New Year filled with good health, prosperity, love, joy and peace.

  41. Merry, merry Christmas to you and yours! I love that Christmas comes whether I am ready or not. I got a lot of pleasure in reading your gift suggestions. My chances of getting any of this is nil unless I buy them myself. And now I have some great ideas for the coming year. Joy and Peace to all the world.

  42. thank you for this, I’ve knit my father a vest this Christmas. My first time knitting for him and I’ve been so nervous about his reaction. I know he will be so tickled I spent so much time on him I just hope it FITS! Merry Merry! Go have a beer!

  43. I’ve only been knitting for a year, and reading your blog for a few months, but I have to say this is the Greatest. Knitting-related. Post. EVER. I’m going to send it to all the people I’ve ever discussed knitting with, knitters or no.
    Thanks for everything you do for us, Miz Stephanie. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

  44. I’ve loved the series on gifts for knitters!
    My 22 year old daughter has her first serious boyfriend and she knitted him a pair of wool/silk gloves for Christmas. He proved his worthiness to be in her life by being stunned that a human was capable of producing such an artifact, and exclaiming over how well they fit and how much warmer they are than leather. Off to a good start, dude!
    Joyeux Noel!

  45. hehe…rub it on your face or neck – the absolute knitter’s delight 🙂 I hope your holidays are relaxing and sweet for all.

  46. Merry Christmas!
    The best knitted gift I ever gave was the one I thought was the worst. My six year old niece had chosen the yarn for a poncho and she had picked neon pink and orange eyelash stuff. This stuff was utterly vile. It was slippery and hairy and so retinal-searing that adults recoiled in horror when it came into view. I was knitting what looked like a Disco Muppet.
    But I made it anyway and wrapped it for Christmas.
    On Christmas morning she opened the giftwrapping and promptly burst into tears. She sobbed that it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She wore it all day. And pretty much non-stop afterwards.
    Three years later my sister in law brought me the beloved poncho which was outgrown and tatty by then and showed me how much it had been loved. My niece refused to let it go even though it was more hole than poncho. So I darned the damn thing, and I sewed it and lined it and turned it into a cushion. And this year I wrapped it up and posted it off and it was put it back under the tree.
    I just had a call from my niece. She’s still sobbing and it’s still the most beautiful thing she’s ever seen.

  47. Today I gifted our Bible study group’s teacher with my rendition of your Lorne’s Hat. It’s made from a deep, royal blue, merino/silk blend. I’ve spent a few weeks working on it (ok, so I’m slow and don’t get a lot of knitting time). His reaction was absolutely perfect and warmed the cockels of my heart! His jaw dropped open, he gazed at it a good long time and in a hushed voice said, “You MADE this didn’t you? It’s beautiful!! Nobody makes handmade gifts anymore and no one has ever done anything like this for me before. I’m going to wear it every day!” And he picked it up and felt how soft it is. I gotta tell ya, he made me feel so good about it!! It was so worth the time it took to make it for him, and he appreciated that gift of time. Most excellent recipient! I’d knit for him again in a heartbeat. Merry, merry Christmas, Stephanie!

  48. I’m newly back to knitting and hoping for the right kind of reaction in the morning. Thanks for your wise and heart-warming words all year. Your blog is one of my favorites. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  49. There were times early in our young (18 months) marriage that my husband (first marriage for him, second for me) couldn’t get the idea of how to respect my knitting … until Christmas last year. I bought him the Blade movies and wrapped them in the scarf I made him. He got his hands on the scarf, which I’d whipped out on Christmas Eve right in front of him (one ball bandless chunky, garter stitch, US13 needles, 15 stitches a row), and immediately wrapped up in it. The movies? Took him 3 wks to watch them. I’d say that while it took him 6 months to learn to appreciate the art that is knitting, he got the hang of it pretty quick when put to the test. *grin*

  50. Dear Steph,
    If you never write another word, the post about respecting knitting and receiving a knit gift, are the truest, kindest and wisest thing you could ever write.
    Thank you for all you do for us..

  51. Perfect idea… Wonder if we can print it and tape it to the gifts, or if that would be too much.
    Enjoy Christmas Stephanie!

  52. Hello and Merry Christmas to you Stephanie and your family. I thought of you just the other day wondering if you were going crazy trying to get the last of the socks knit etc.
    Peace in the New Year!

  53. Would it be appropriate to attach your instructions to the back of my knitted gifts–citing credit of course? 🙂 They are spot on!
    Merry, happy and peace to you!

  54. I did the last bit of stitching-up today and hope the items in question will be well-received. You’ve captured the whole end-of-holiday hopes, wishes, nerves, mental fragility, and stuff we would like to say out loud just perfectly.
    As usual.
    May you and yours be blessed with continued light.

  55. I really did finish my brother-in-law’s hat at 2 am, this morning. Stranded colourwork. I really like my brother-in-law. Merry Christmas!

  56. This has been one of the best “advent” calendars ever. Thank you. My husband is a woodworker and has spent many hours this month making nostipinnes (sp?) for myself and knitting friends, and 2 tables for both sets of parents. We both have enjoyed your posts. Oh, my Christmas knitting has been done for 2 weeks or so now. My husband could be out working on those tables until 2 am Christmas morning, but has chosen to call it a night for fear of a mistake, or worse yet injury. Merry Christmas.

  57. I knitted 11 basic Ann Budd hats for my husbands family (in 12 short days). For the first time ever they were the most spectacularly received gifts I have ever given. Quotes included (from a finicky 9 year old boy) This is the best hat ever!!!!! And from his uncle (husbands son). Im going to send you a picture of all of my clothes so that I can have hats to match. The littlest step granddaughter confirmed the authenticity of all the good words by simply not taking it off for the entire evening. (there is a pic on my most recent blogpost if you’re so inclined). It made all of the frantic last minute stuff worthwhile.

  58. Another good thing to do once received is to post a picture of you wearing said object on Facebook.

  59. You’re so right. I feel the same way when I touch the old beautifully embroidered and crocheted table cloths I found in my Mother’s linen closet after she passed away. I think she got them from my grandmother. The countless hours a woman spent on this fine thread work is simply amazing. And the thrift shops are full of this kind of fine work, discarded and seemingly out of fashion. It is all part of women’s history and each item tells the story of patience, peace and joy in the skillful making of these beautiful works of art. Merry Christmas!

  60. Stephanie your post was fun and interesting as usual and a Merry Christmas to you. What caught my eye and seriously tugged at my heart strings was eclair’s post which starts “Merry Christmas. The best knitted gift I ever gave was…”! That was the most wonderful story and my husband and I loved it! Thanks so much to eclair for sharing it and adding another candle in the window…:D

  61. De-lurking to say thank you, thank you, thank you for, over the years and particularly this past month, expressing the things that I’m thinking and feeling in ways more eloquent than I ever could. You rock in so, so many ways.

  62. Merry Christmas, Stephanie. Thank you for all the wonderful posts this year. I’ve been inspired, tickled, and taught about life and love and knitting. Merry, merry and happy, happy to you and your family, to everyone who reads the blog, and all the other sentient beings out there, too!

  63. Merry Christmas to you and your family may it be the best one ever. Thank them for sharing you with us. You are a mighty fine blessing.

  64. A merry and peaceful Christmas to you too, Stephanie. I personally have to thank you in part for one a couple of my presents. My husband read, listened and acted. I also learnt a lot over the past month as to what is out there and what I can get from non-commercial stores. Yes, I frequent etsy, however you opened my eyes to so many different options and wonderfully creative artists. Thank you.
    I’ve had a very hard time getting into the season, for various reasons (stress, death in the family, feeling disconnected from close yet physically distant family etc). I’ve had to work hard to get back in touch with the true meaning of the season and what that means for me. The way back was through giving. Thank you for the reminder.
    Peace and Blessings.

  65. My sister was a knitter and so am I. As two of the last survivors of a large-ish group of gift-givers and receivers, we missed the thrill of opening gifts on Christmas Day. So we made a pact to give each other a whole bunch of small individually-wrapped gifts each year, to add to the excitement. They were varied and garnered from all over, throughout the year – a movie, a handpainted trinket box, a mug, a book about the history of tea, a painting. One of my gifts to her never varied, though: every year, one pair of handknit socks because like me she was prone to cold feet. A different colour every year, plain-jane socks with neat, turn-down cuffs, and always in the softest yarn I could find. She never knitted anything for me, until she was chair-bound with a sore back in the early part of 2007, when she worked on a purple, chunky, cabled sweater. It turned out that the sore back was actually bone cancer, and the purple sweater, the first she ever made for me, was the last thing she knitted, ever. I wear it again and again and again, and always with gratitude and remembrance.

  66. Thanks Stephanie. I’m going to include a copy of this with each knitted item I give as a gift from now on. Many people are sorely lacking in knitting etiquette. Thank you and Merry Christmas.

  67. Merry Christmas and warmest winter wishes to you! I’ve loved all your December posts, but perhaps today’s the best!

  68. Merry Christmas to you. Joe and the girls. Your description of how to receive a knitted present had me smiling. It is just what my partner did this morning when she opened the face cloths and scarf I made her.

  69. Well, I’m happy to say after reading your list, my husband is the perfect knitting gift recipient. When he opened his scarf today, his first words were “KNITTED STUFF!” and then rubbed it on his face and wrapped it around his neck. This entry made me smile 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you, Joe, the girls, and the whole Harlot family.

  70. I could not agree more! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Stephanie – and may all who receive lovingly handmade gifts from you understand how much you love them 🙂

  71. Merry Christmas!
    Thank you for sharing another year of your life with us. Have a wonderful time with your family. We’ll see you on the other side!

  72. Thank you for all your posts this year, but especially this month. My fiance had been reading them for ideas. This year he presented me with the special edition Knitpro Symfonie Rose interchangeable needle set. I was stunned. I blame you. Thank you so much.
    Wishing you and your family and friends( and all your readers and followers) all the very best for Christmas and the year ahead.

  73. Best reaction ever to a handknit gift: from a friend this Christmas, upon opening–she squealed, rubbed her face in it, and said, “Oh, you KNIT me something! Oh, I was HOPING you would!”
    Runners-up: from a friend a long way away, photo text at 8am Christmas morning of self wearing hat and a big smile.
    from a friend several months after receiving a pair of handknit socks in the mail, upon being told (it came up in conversation) that the socks were superwash wool and could actually be washed (shudder) in a machine, “DUH. I had to do a special load of laundry last night to get them clean.” Me: “You’re wearing them now?” Friend: “These are the best socks I have.”
    And Steph–thanks to your lists, and the assurance therein that if I’m a knitter I really must like yarn, I sit on Christmas morning with 5 SKEINS of Wollmeise.

  74. Oh, sorry, another runner up: not-quite-two-year-old nephew receives handknit elf hat. Refuses to ever take it off.

  75. Merry Christmas everyone. May this next year be even better than this last one. Thank you for a wonderful year of blogs. 🙂

  76. Perfect. Thank you. And a very merriest of Christmases to you and yours. (Typed while my family is preparing Christmas breakfast and telling me to sit down and relax.)

  77. I have a story about the best reaction.
    I decided to make (crochet) a tablecloth for my mother-in-law (this was back in the early 80s). I spent almost a year making it (it was huge and filet crochet) and when she got the gift all she would talk about was how it was wrapped. When she finally opened it, her first words were “what did you do”? I told her I made her a present so she would know what it was like to receive her many handmade gifts. She loved it.
    It’s a day I’ll remember forever. Sadly, the tablecloth was lost after she past away, but the memory lingers still.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  78. “Knitting is … a container… filled with time and love”
    That need’s to be on greeting cards and mugs and project bags and other such knitterly paraphernalia

  79. Thanks to your wonderful suggestions I was the recipient of a beautiful cork Swift Bag from Tom Bihn! Love it! Thanks so much for the help!

  80. I just showed my brother this list, and after reading #3 he took his new hand knit-by-me socks off his feet, put them on his hands and said, “Wow, thanks for the mittens!” (It was a joke. We laughed!)

  81. The best knitted gift I ever made was a wool aran sweater I knit for my brother over 35 years ago. Not only was the pattern difficult and the sweater the first I had ever made, but I am allergic to wool and had to sooth my red-rashed, swollen hands each time I worked on it.
    My brother had been going through a very difficult time in his life and I wanted to give him something special for Christmas that showed how important he was to me. And his reaction on receiving it didn’t disappoint…on opening the package, his eyes went wide and a big smile glowed on his face. He couldn’t put it on fast enough! Thank God, it was a perfect fit.
    Flash forward to Christmas, 2005…as the family was gathered opening presents, we started talking about Christmas gifts past. My sister-in-law turned to me and told me what happened to that sweater. As she was cleaning out their closet, she found a box on the back of the tallest shelf. Asking my brother about it, he told her that it was the best gift he had ever gotten…a sweater his sister knitted for him. He had worn it so much it needed washing…but he didn’t realize you couldn’t throw a wool sweater in the washing machine…it shrunk horribly! He couldn’t bear to throw it away…and there in the box lay the tiny aran sweater, folded neatly and covered with tissue paper.
    That story (and a peek in the box that still held a child-sized, now felted wool sweater) was the best Christmas present I’ve ever received….twenty-nine years in the making.
    Merry Christmas!

  82. Merry Christmas! Steph! I hope Santa brought you tons of yarn, hand-wrought needles and best of all 25 hours in every day to use them in You kept me laughing thru some bad moments this year. Thank you. Lily

  83. My grandchildren are all knit worthy. The 5 that got their socks today all put them on immediately and all but the youngest (15 months) told me how soft and warm they were. 2 of the 3 that got them last week have worn them, had them washed and worn again. But the most knit worthy prize goes to my 10 year old grandson (who already wears a size 10 men’s shoe). He has worn his socks every day taking them off at night before going to bed and putting them back on in the morning. I had to explain they are not magic socks and need to be washed to prevent smelly feet.

  84. Dear Stephanie, A joyous Christmas to you and yours. Thank you for… well, a list too long to name, so I will sum it up by saying “thank you for it all”. Just thinking how I miss your traditional post about your aunt and uncle at this time of year, as they always reminded me of some dear senior generations in my life, both those still here and those now departed. I’m sure your two loved ones are together in the next life sharing some fond memories of a Christmas past. Here’s to shaping today’s traditions into tomorrow’s memories. 🙂

  85. Merry Christmas to you and yours!
    Amen to today’s post! And can I say ‘amen’ again for emphasis?
    If what I made is not to your liking, please know that I did my best to use the color you said you liked and to make it the size you said you were.
    (Please know that I don’t mean you since I’ve never made you anything.)

  86. If I didn’t know better, I’d say my boyfriend’s son had read your post. I knit him a pair of fingerless gloves (Endpaper Mitts, in black and grey.) He’d admired my pair and even tried them on a couple months ago, but there’s no telling with 15 year-olds, so I knew it was a gamble. But I cast on anyway.
    He unwrapped them and exclaimed, “Oh, SWEET! They look so warm!” He immediately put them on, petting and smoothing the fabric, “And they’re soft! This is really wool?”
    I almost don’t care that he doesn’t do dishes and his room is usually a wreck; the kid knows how to appreciate handknits — he’s growing up right.

  87. one more idea. in about a week call and ask how to wash the item if it is clothing. it doesn’t matter if you wore it or whether you ever will. pretend you need to care for it properly. we’ll love that you asked. it’s better than a thank you note, oh yeah people don’t do those anymore either.

  88. Merry Christmas Stephanie.
    Thank you for a year of fun and knitting. And this last month has been great with all the suggestions.
    Please post a link to the mushroom tart recipe. My hubby loves mushrooms and thinks it looks great.

  89. Stephanie, you are the glue that unites many of us across thousands of miles. I have laughed, cried, smiled and recognized some of my own uh, shared peculiarities. May your holy days be full of joy and family, and may many more such days fill your future. Thank you for sharing so generously.

  90. Oh, Stephie, Stephie!!!!
    I used the “right tool for the job” on my husband. He’d been vascillating on a set of Addi Lace Turbos for me….and he FINALLY caved!!! I’m getting them today!!!!
    YAY! I can hardly wait to start using them…now where did my laceweight wool go???? Shawl knitting here I come!

  91. Thanks so much, and Merry Christmas! My son managed to complete nearly all the steps when he opened the handknit socks I gave him. And he did better than putting them in a place of honor to admire: he put them on. I was absolutely thrilled. And to top it off, he gave me a book on spinning. Yes, I am very proud of my boy, and I love him beyond measure.

  92. Merry Christmas, Stephanie!
    Thanks for brightening 2011 for me and bringing me knitterly cheer. This sounds like a Happy New Year post … so I’ll say that, too!
    Happy New Year!!!

  93. You made it through Christmas! Congrats! And any smugness is well deserved and earned and I will think of it as snugness instead. Looked stunning from here anywho.

  94. Others have said it better, but I want to add my thanks for all you do. Love the way you express many of my feelings about knitting gifts for those we care about.
    I hope you and yours are having a marvelous holiday, and wish you all the best in 2012. Keep the blogs coming!

  95. Thanks for keeping us informed about your christmas preps and gift ideas all throughout December. I love to follow you through this time of the year and congratulate you on how well you pulled everything out this year. My hero! Best of the holidays to you and yours, dear Stephanie!!

  96. re- how to receive a gift- I also like it when they take it to better light to better admire their colorway 🙂

  97. My husband look at the wrapped box his present was in and said, “It’s not something you it??” I bought him a couple of golf lessons to improve his game. Maybe I should sell his clubs to buy more yarn. hmmmmm.
    Happy New Year.

  98. Thank you for your wonderful comments. I am sending a Linc to my son-in-law along with washing instructions for the afgan I knit him from alpaca that I skirted,picked, washed carded, spun etc. I en’ t think that he was very impressed with his gift.

  99. Lovely post as usual! I’ve so enjoyed all of them this year and especially the gifts for knitters series. I made a hat for my son and…it was too small! It was a one skein pattern, but 64 yards of chunky yarn was not enough for him. Nonetheless, he put it on, wore in the snow, and grinned all the way. Made my Christmas! My other son received a hat too and it was just the right size. He too wore his. I didn’t ever teach my boys how to receive a homemade gift, but they did it right anyway! Thanks for all your posts and sharing your love and wisdom. You are awesome!

  100. Lovely post as usual! I’ve so enjoyed all of them this year and especially the gifts for knitters series. I made a hat for my son and…it was too small! It was a one skein pattern, but 64 yards of chunky yarn was not enough for him. Nonetheless, he put it on, wore in the snow, and grinned all the way. Made my Christmas! My other son received a hat too and it was just the right size. He too wore his. I didn’t ever teach my boys how to receive a homemade gift, but they did it right anyway! Thanks for all your posts and sharing your love and wisdom. You are awesome!

  101. I have so enjoyed your blog this month! I benefitted from your suggestions in two ways: I bought myself a bag from one of the lovely designers that you recommended on Etsy…AND I just happened to mention to my hubby that I’d REALLY like a set of size 2 double point Signature Needles…AND I GOT THEM!!!! Merry Christmas Steph!

  102. Happy Christmas Day to you. Thank you so much for your blog.
    FYI: I donated to Doctor’s Without Borders but the email you linked to bounced back to me. Who knows maybe it is just a cyber holiday mystery.

  103. I was so thankful for your blogs throughout the month. You are so kind.
    I made simple wrist warmers for people. They all put them on and rubbed them on their cheeks and wore them the rest of the evening. I didn’t even have to tell them. I am more a quilter than a knitter so I was impressed that they all knew the right thing to do. I did point out that they had passed the Yarn Harlot test for recieving a knitted gift. They looked at me funny but that is not really a new thing.

  104. Stephanie, this was a wonderful blog. I have enjoyed the countdown to Christmas and have shared it with my friends. You have put susinctly the efforts of knitting and how it relates to something that is not knitting. Thank you. It has taken a long time for some to truly understand the value of the knitted gift. Perhaps the light dawns and the thoughts and lessons wont be forgotten. A blessed Christmas holiday to you and your family.

  105. Amen Sister! Thank you for the tidbit on respect. Yes, I love knitting, but sometimes it does get a little mundane if you don’t have a cool pattern, etc. and that is where the big love for the recipient comes to play!!

  106. I don’t know how you do it: you write constantly and always have something worth saying and always say it in a way that is witty or heartfelt or both. Thank you for all the time and effort you have put into your blog. It’s always a pleasure to read it and has been for what is, in internet time, eons.

  107. My husband may not get a lot of knitted items, but each item he receives (this year it was a hand sewn pillow) he receives with joy and heartfelt appreciation. Sometimes it feels a little kooky, but I love it so much more than the “Huh. I guess…” things I have heard from others.

  108. My son and his wife did all the above-mentioned appreciative gestures. In addition, they quibbled over who would get to take the first nap under the new afghan. They also volunteered to host an afghan sanctuary for unloved/unwanted/unappreciated afghans. I love them!

  109. StrongCat: Your story about your sister made me cry. How wonderful that she was able to knit you that first and last most perfect gift.

  110. Your post made me weep. I have knit like a fiend for my five grandchildren this year, all of whom are too young to read, no less act appreciatively for handknits. But I’ve been sending your gift-a-day messages to my hubby (their grandfather), so we’ll both be working on them as they grow old enough to say “Oh WOW, you MADE this?” Meanwhile, he managed to give me a set of stitch markers. It’s a start…
    Thank you, thank you, thank you, DEAR Stephanie, for brightening my life!

  111. Have had family oh and aw over my knitting for years. Was once asked to knit a sweater by a relative. Wanting the work to be loved/used- I spent time w/ her looking for her fav. pattern, yarn, color, measurements were taken- nothing left to chance. Slam dunk- I knew she’d love it. Weeks later when it was completed, I gave her her chosen treasure. She held it up and exclaimed “It’s too small, and I hate wool -it’s itchy. Well brown won’t show dirt, but cat hair will get all over it! Dont worry. It’s ok I can find someone to give it away to.” I quietly snuck away and unplugged her fridge. Hey, the sooner she diets the sooner her sweater will fit.

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