I walk the line

Last night a whole bunch of things happened all in a rush – for an entire evening things flew off the needles and into the finished pile and I was ecstatic.  Out of my mind with glee.  I was walking around the house so chuffed with myself that it was a good long time before I managed to get a grip on my smug self and look at things holistically. 

One pair of men’s socks done!

Tanis Fiber Arts Blue Label Fingering in Midnight.

Pardon the slightly less than revealing pictures this time of year.  There’s a fine line to be walked between blogging enough to show you guys what I’m doing and spoiling everyone’s Christmas surprises because I’ve taken great pictures. Expect a full parade in about 19 days, but until then this little workshop is playing it close to the vest. (&^$#$!!!!!! I forgot about the vest.)

Then a hat!

Mano Del Uruguay Maxima in Currant.

Then a beautiful skein of handspun!

Oh – I sort of snuck that in.  I know that it’s not technically knitting, but it is a present for a knitter.  It’s about 200m of the most delicious heavy fingering, from fiber I got from Fiber Curio and Sundries. (There’s yarn there too.)  It’s a pretty amazing mix of things that I wasn’t sure I would like:  CVM, bamboo, mohair and angora… but the resulting skein is drop dead gorgeous, soft and bouncy.  I am going to be a good spinner and wrap it up as a present though, just like I planned.  (I may even wrap it today, just so that I stop holding it and thinking about giving the knitter a skein of something store bought.)

I finished all those,  and went to the spreadsheet so that I could check them off, and while I was there I saw the two other pairs of men’s socks I’m planning on finishing (well, and starting too, but finishing sounds more inspiring) and the two sweaters and a vest and two hats and a cowl or two and I’m sort of starting to not feel well.  I know there’s a plan. I know there is. I know that the plan is good. It’s solid, and that if I just work the plan the plan will work, but mostly I’m starting to panic. 

If I can get a few things off that list this weekend I feel like it might be okay.  A few things. Like maybe a sweater or a pair of socks or a sweater and a pair of socks and a hat.  And mittens. 

No problem.

Gifts for Knitters 5  

Books. I know, I know – your knitter probably has a lot of books, but scan this list and compare it to your knitters bookshelf, because a really great knitting reference volume is a gift that keeps on giving.  

The Principles of Knitting
Folk Socks: The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear, Updated Edition
Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac: The Commemorative Edition
Cast On, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-Step Methods
Finishing School: A Master Class for Knitters

(Do you guys want more book suggestions? I’ve always got a list, but wonder if you want them?)

Gifts for Knitters day 6

Assuming your knitter wears jewelry (and remember, knitters are people first… if your knitter is like me and wears only a family ring, a wedding ring and the occasional necklace on fancy days, a great big honking pair of dangly earrings is still not going to be her bag) I love absolutely everything from Sassafras Creations.  She takes second hand knitting needles and makes fabulous jewelry from them.  It’s ridiculously charming.  I’ve been wanting a necklace like this for ever, and I’m sort of giggly over the pens

84 thoughts on “I walk the line

  1. Good luck with the Christmas knitting! I have avoided “it” this year, but I’m still feeling the pressure. Thank goodness for Christmas cookies to make it all better 🙂

  2. Hi Steph:
    Love the projects! Say, I have a skein of that Manos Maxima………. and am looking for a good hat pattern……… will you share what the pattern name is?

  3. Don’t Panic and Keep Knitting! (I want that emblazoned on a T-shirt or a set of mugs for Christmas. It probably already exists online somewhere. Must google.)
    I’m with Becky — book suggestions are always good and easy for non-knitters to purchase. In my mind, a non-knitter buying a knitter yarn is like a husband buying his wife underwear: dicey and unpredictable in its outcome.

  4. I’m doing surprisingly well. The first item on my schedule should be finished today (a cross-stitch) and then I will have the rest of the month to make a hat and a stranded Christmas stocking. And then I will be finished! I decided very few people were getting knitted gifts this year, which has made to stress level go down considerably.

  5. I want some hooks near the front door. Our house was built just as the closet was invented. The builder was hazy on the concept, however, and the front closet is only ten inches deep. Two hooks behind the front door for coats, and some littler ones to hold project bags that could be snatched on the way out the door would be fabulous. At present projects are stored atop the fridge to foil our yarn eating dog.

  6. You are rocking that plan, Steph! Holy crap, woman! Even if I had 20 hours a day to just knit, I’d probably still be hard-pressed to get off the internet long enough to do more than an hour or so. *sigh*
    Happiest day of my life (after the arrivals of Thing 1 and Thing 2) was when I decided NOT to knit Christmas gifts… granted, that was around the same time I stopped celebrating Christmas. But I don’t knit Chanukah presents either! LOL

  7. For book suggestions: Anything from Clara Parkes. Her books rock and are straightforward readable references (one each for Yarn, Wool, and Socks)
    Also any of your books, because I notice that was not mentioned. I love the short stories. 😀
    On another note, that amount of knitting is impressive.

  8. Yes, always book suggestions. Tho dangerous as my knitting books have taken over the bookcases…

  9. Since I so enjoy this blog I think one of Yarn Harlots books would be a great gift to. Knit On !

  10. As I’m due to “cast off” a baby around the 17th, a baby for whom I’ll admit a large amount of desire to knit, I’m not knitting any Christmas presents this year. That said I’m not as sane as that makes me sound – I still have four books to bind that will be Christmas presents. Thankfully they don’t take quite as long.
    It really doesn’t help that I’ve had cast-on-itis something awful this week!

  11. I took your suggestion from last year or the year before and nagged for an iPad, and downloaded the apps you said, have not looked back since, thanks Steph. Xx
    Ps took a lot of nagging only got t for my birthday last August, but worth waiting for.

  12. I love the skein of wool you are giving away. Yes, wrap it up now, and redirect the energy needed to resist temptation to getting a few more things off your list. Happy knitting!

  13. Just wanna say… I bought the Cast On Bind Off book by Leslie Bestor when it was mentioned in this blog awhile back, and it’s one of my favorite knitting books. Love it!

  14. Yes, please, on any and all book recommendations – my reading collection isn’t quite at SABLE capacity just yet. Thanks, as always, for the daily lift; I truly admire your optimism. I’m now going to take my knitting to the corner and sit with Presbytera and watch…
    Namaste –

  15. Please can you adopt me, or coach my family, or come live here (you can share my knitting room, knitting sofa and stash-case); I obviously am in desperate need of someone who understands real life (aka knitting life) and who can suggest inspirational gifts too …
    Meanwhile back in realityville, I too love the recycled knitting needle jewellery .. brilliant!

  16. I have to add November Knits by Kate Gagnon Osborne and Courtney Kelley and Top Down Sweaters by Ann Budd to the book list. Both new this year… and both absolutely fabulous!

  17. You give me hope – except that I also have to mail my hand-knits this year. Oh well – overnight super priority has-to-be-there-yesterday mail doesn’t cost very much… does it?

  18. Absolutely, positively book suggestions! I am always [ashamedly] browsing books on amazon, not waiting to go to my local bookstore, buying from amazon and then not pleased because the description spoke to me but book did not. Your reviews of books would be very helpful for both me … and my husband. Carry on!

  19. More books always welcome. They don’t even have to be knitting books in my case. 🙂
    And those Sassafras things are just too . . . too . . . well, I don’t even go for jewelry generally and wear the same earrings most days, but those necklaces are just too something wonderful.

  20. I would suggest The Knitters Life List by Gwen Steege. I got a copy this summer on Amazon. It is really much more than one would think. There are lists of techniques, history, yarns, fieldtrips, and lots of other goodies encompassing our beloved (craft, hobby, lifestyle, zombie apocolypse life skill). I thought it would be a list of somewhat interesting things to try with knitting. Instead I found a treasure trove of ideas and things to do that could easily take me the rest of my life to complete.

  21. Yes please!!! And I would like to add a suggestiong for a book that I love. “Knitting Vintage Socks” by Nancy Bush. It has really expanded my horizons of this novice sock knitter.

  22. I got the book Finishing School the other day, and followed it for the sweater I’m finishing up now. It might be my first handknit sweater that doesn’t look too… “homemade”? Definitley a great book to look into!

  23. Principles of Knitting is also available as an e-book, and is less expensive (and less heavy) than the paper version, so it could be good for the techie knitter.
    There are other knitting books that are available as e-books as well. How great is that to have a portable knitting library?

  24. Ahhhhh… welcome to the panic feeling! I am freaking out because I have to finish three pairs of felted slippers for a custom order, but my little girl was sick, and so I missed two days of knitting. TWO days! I didn’t plan on nursing a feverish and vomiting child, but alas. The knitting had to wait.
    So let’s just take a nice deep breath and know it’s all gonna be fine, knitting wise and all…

  25. dang, I’m not supposed to be shopping for myself this time of year!
    Also, I have a pair of socks on the needles (actually just the second sock at this point) that are making me quite grateful that my husband has small feet/ankles. My uncle (for whom these socks are destined) does not. They’re taking weeks, I tell you!

  26. My favourite Go To book is Knitting Rules by your nibs. It’s helpful and makes me laugh out loud at the same time.

  27. Have you ever considered starting the Christmas gifts before December 1? It might be less pressured, and more enjoyable if you do 2 or 3 projects a month, starting in August. You would have more time to enjoy family and friends.
    To do this each year makes you tougher than me!
    Happy Holidays!

  28. BOOKS FOR THE iPAD!!!!
    You should mention that if the knitter has an Amazon Kindle or BN Nook, they should think about buying copies of books like these as e-books through Kindle or Nook. I bought Principles of Knitting for the Kindle, and I use it all the time on my iPad. Need to look something up real quick? Out comes the iPad. I find I use it far more than if I had bought the hardcopy, because I don’t have to be home to use it.

  29. Nicole @ 1:19 or Lynda the Guppy or Steph: What apps do you recommend for the iPad – I will be looking to get some of those on Dec 26th 😉 yeah!!
    And re Xmas trees – I am in the states and the tree we just bought was grown in Lunenburg, NS – I feel such a kinship to the tree this year as my paternal grandmother came from there!!

  30. uhmm wow. That is quite a robust knitting list. I thought my list was large, but I only have 8 hats on mine, 2 1/3 finished so far…. well, I am certain you will do it. but it is quite the list… fingers crossed for all the holiday knitting we have planned. Can you imagine the collective quantity that is on all of our lists? just in the readers of this blog alone? boggling. Carry on and stay focused!

  31. Book suggestions? Yes, please. Great DVD’s? Again, yes. I am DVD librarian for our knitting guild and we are always looking for the good stuff.

  32. I had a boss who said, “Plan your work. Work your plan.” Sometimes it works.
    I only planned two knitted gifts this year and finished them quite a while ago. But … (yeah, there’s always a but), yesterday I saw a project online that yelled at me. So today I bought the yarn and an extra set of DPNs.

  33. Do not panic. Panic is a huge time sucker, er, waster. Just keep on keepin’ on. You will get there!

  34. More books! Which ones do you always come back to? That’s a hard quality to assess when you just flip through them at the store.

  35. I love your gifts for knitter’s suggestions! I use them to get things for myself, with Christmas money! Thanks for providing so many good ideas. Good luck with the plan and spreadsheet!

  36. Don’t panic yet, it takes too much energy. Keep knitting – if anyone can do it, you can. Thanks for sharing the pics so far. I’m looking forward to seeing whole pics and to hear who the lucky recipients are. And saying “finishing” is MUCH better than saying “starting”. Keep thinking positive thoughts CHRISTMAS, MERRY, SPREADSHEET, HO HO HO !!!

  37. Books, of course. I’m also looking for a suggestion of a “how to knit mittens” book or pattern or something, for my new-knitter sister-in-law for Christmas. She’s desperate to learn mittens, and while I can do them, I’m not sure I have it in me to teach her. Anyone have any ideas for me?

  38. Presbytera, you are sooooo right. “(&^$#$!!!!!! I forgot about the vest.)” is a sure sign IT is winding up for the pitch. I don’t think there will be a scorched FO this year. . .but maybe the Knitting Deities will summon up cat barf on a FO, a sweater collar that simply refuses to stretch over the recipient’s head, or a daughter appropriating the yarn intended for the last gift!

  39. I have the Jangly Dangly earrings and bracelet, and they are terrific. Not loud-jingly, and very light to wear. I get compliments on them all the time. From non-knitters, at that, who usually can’t believe what the loops were in their former life.

  40. I have for many years read your blog and about your Christmas present plans. I wonder if you have considered biannual gifts instead of annual ones, to lighten this load. Each year it is hard to read and hard not to read and I am always pulling for you.

  41. oh my, those knitting needle items are creative, colorful and so fun. Our GM says ‘plan the work and work the plan’…and enjoy 🙂

  42. You are doing an incredible job buddy. Regards from Hotel Charles de Gaulle. Keep together with the great do the job.

  43. This is usually a really great site content, im delighted I came across it. Ill be back off the track to look at other reports that.

  44. Jennifer @ 10:27
    I asked this same question not too long ago, and of those books recommended, the one I liked best turned out to be Robin Hansen’s “Favorite Mittens.” Perhaps your sister-in-law would also find it useful.

  45. Stephanie, what I would love to see — if there is such a thing — is a book for left-handers (by which I mean those of us who knot from the right needle onto the left). Truly left-handed, with cast-ons, and increases and decreases, etc. I’ve worked out most stuff with paper, pencil and plucking my brain, but it would be a dream to see someone that knits the way I do demonstrate a twisted German cast-on, for example.

  46. Do hat and mittens, or hat and socks, because that way it looks like you’ve got more finished! (lol). When our LYS, Natural Stitches, had its inventory sale, I treated myself to the Knitter’s Almanac, opened it, and discovered what a beautiful foreward you did for it. Bravo! Happy holidays to you. Now excuse me, I have to get back to the afghan,two pairs of mittens, and 3 baby blankets that I’ve promised people for the holidays ( and I’m using a GANTT chart….)

  47. I thought there were several pairs of socks you put away during this past year to use as Christmas presents…….you can count those too and perhaps drop something else from your list to knit. Or did you have weak moments and wear the socks? LOL

  48. Hi there– it is my pleasure to have my book Finishing School on any list that includes EZ! THanks– and happy holidays!
    Best– Deborah Newton

  49. Stephanie, I have been living under a rock for many years (I’ve newly happened upon your blog)! I used to think that I was semi-serious knitter and now I know that I was completely delusional on this front. Your archives are brilliant. The book suggestions are great – would love to see even more. Good luck with your weekend projects.

  50. Congratulations on getting so much done! I was plugging along on my Christmas projects when final exams came upon me and stopped it all short…
    All this knitter wants for Christmas is to pass her medicine exams…

  51. More books, yes please! Because, much like one can never have too much yarn or fiber, one can never have too many books that talk about yarn and fiber!

  52. Some hints for male knitters and presents for them: go to the fishing sports shop. Look for smooth things to make stitchcounters and rowcounters with and make it a diy present, they have tubes for dough which can be used us woolneedle cases and tubes with srew on lids to store small dpn’s to larger ones. The artists shops have pencil cases with very male colours, ideal for storing the larger needles and I have seen harmonicafolding papercases for about 6×6 inch paper which are ideal for circular needles. These are all available in very mantuned colours and patterns. Natural colour wooden needles are also not too womanly. Look at everything a female knitter could use and buy the most malelike version and colours. I would think a laptop case with many extra pockets would be an ideal male knitting “bag”. Think outside the box, you will find more. Also, I search the male department for things women can use and would like.

  53. It warms my heart to see all those comments in favor of books – yes, real books!!! The dwindling of important figures in the book market and the closing down of bookstores and the giving up of book chains – not because of us, eh?
    Please, more suggestions read and approved of by you.
    Thank you!!!

  54. Yay, Christmas knitting!
    I’m pretty much in the same boat, Stephanie. I have commissions I’m finishing and a pair of slippers I’ve got to have done and felted by Thursday (if I can do it) so that my man doesn’t know they’re going into his stocking…And then I have a pair of mittens for someone else I have to finish by the 24th! Fun, fun!
    I’m sure you can do it! *pom poms*
    Katie =^..^=

  55. Did you know there’s another book titled Cast On, Bind Off that came out this year too–by Cap Sease? I would encourage people buying books for knitters to consider this one as well–I mean really can we have too many books about casting on and binding off? I don’t think so.
    Good luck on your knit-a-thon!

  56. I need one of the books that has the baby surprise sweater in it. I haven’t made one, and I feel like I’m falling down in my knitterly duties by that omission!
    The other thing is even if you don’t know what kinds of things your knitter is making/likes to make the person at your knitter’s local yarn store probably does. They can steer you to the items that will be appreciated the most.

  57. Could I have the skein of yarn, please? I’ve no idea what I do with it, but I really need to pet some yarn. Something seriously soft (ooh, there’s some Monday morning alliteration). In any event, I”m in wild admiration that you can spin something this cool. I wish I could spin, weave, bake ala Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray combined….

  58. About The Principles of Knitting: it’s a big honking book. I bought it for my Nook (I’m sure there’s a Kindle edition as well); it was the most expensive Nook Book I’ve purchased, and worth every penny! Now I have this great reference with me wherever I go. Just sayin’….

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