No But Yes

Yesterday I had a little of that Christmas anxiety that I’ve been seeking to avoid.  The little voice of Christmas panic tried to give me a hard time.  It reminded me that the baking isn’t done. I reminded it that the Christmas spreadsheet has not yet indicated that it is time to bake.  It tried to make me anxious about not having a tree.  I reminded it that we have a tree plan for today, and everything is fine.  It started in about a largish pair of socks that I haven’t started, I reminded it that I am almost done a hat.  It tried to freak out because some yarn I ordered hasn’t arrived yet, and I told it that everything is fine. It’s all good. There’s a schedule, and I’m on it, and why doesn’t it just chill its bad self out.   Then it said that the sweater I’m making is coming out the wrong size, and I told it to screw off – just reflexively – you know?

The truth is that it’s right about the sweater. It’s been right for days and I know it and I have no idea why I keep knitting on things like they are going to change.  The sweater is too big.   I’ve been telling myself that it’s not true and that the kid will grow and that it’s totally fine,  but it’s not. It’s like the opposite of the "It gets better" message.  Knitting does not get better. If something is too big, knitting for longer will not make it smaller. This is not how knitting works, and I can’t even believe that I tried to convince myself otherwise.  

It’s beautiful. It’s Madelinetosh DK Twist in Betty Draper’s Blues, and it’s going to be a great sweater for a little guy(I’m not showing you the whole pattern yet, it’s a little stealth) and I like it so much that I even thought about leaving this (the kid will grow into it eventually) and buying more yarn and starting again, but I do have a little thing I like to call a "budget" and besides, there’s totally not enough of this yarn to make the size that it’s obviously going to be. 

With that last realization, the voice of Christmas anxiety got a toehold.  I’m going to have to rip this out and start again, and that? That might be a problem.  I’ve decided to get a tree and then worry about it. A tree will solve everything. A tree will cast a magic glow that makes all things possible. I got this. It’s going to be fine. Totally fine.

Gifts for Knitters 2012

A few times over the years I’ve done a Gifts for Knitters thing – where I’ve listed some presents that I think that knitters would like to get. I do this because I think that non-knitters worry about buying knitting related gifts,  the same way that I worry about getting Joe engineering gifts.  I know he likes that stuff, because the house is as littered with circuit boards and resisters and vacuum tubes as it is merino,  but standing in the store that has all the thingies he likes? I don’t know what thingies might be good.  Are there some thingies he uses up all the time? Thingies that get lost? Is there a measuring tape equivalent of a transistor that I could put in his stocking?  Can you buy some of these thingies online? Is there a book about these thingies that most people think is pretty good, or am I about to buy him the book about thingies that they all laugh about because it’s dead wrong throughout. I’ve longed for someone who could stand in the store with me and give me some idea of how to navigate this stuff, and I always think that maybe something like this could help a non-knitter figure out our thingies too. 

I’ve been a knitter a long time, and I think I mostly know what they like, but darling non-knitters… take your knitter’s personality into account.  Follow your gut. You know more about your knitter than you think, and you’ll know which of these is a good idea for them.  Some of these are new ideas, some are good ideas from previous years, and as we go down this path together, know that I don’t get paid to promote stuff, this isn’t advertising, it’s just stuff I saw around and thought a knitter would like.

I know I’m starting a few day’s late, but I’ll catch up, and I’m trying to order them in a way that reflects that some of them might have delivery time.  Suggestions in the comments are more than welcome, and non-knitters? Don’t panic. It’s going to be fine.  You’re going to be amazing. (PS to knitters? Wouldn’t kill you to strategically print out a few things… you know what I’m saying?)

Day 1.

Stitch Markers.  I know, I know. Your house is littered with them and you aren’t really sure what they’re for, and one time you saw your knitter use a piece of yarn as a marker because they had no marker – and that’s sort of making you think that maybe markers aren’t important at all… but trust me. If you’ve ever even heard your knitter talk about markers (need one, have one, looking for one, lost one) then they’re probably going to be cool. There’s a bunch of kinds.  This ringlet kind is one of my favourites. They don’t get caught in your knitting, they don’t dangle around, they’re a good choice for the no-nonsense knitter who doesn’t own a lot of cute stuff.  If you have the other sort of knitter? One with a sense of whimsey? Look no further than this site. Tiny teapots! Little doughnuts!  Did your knitter go bananas for a mood ring back in the day? (Or last week.. I’m not judging) how about little chromastone stitch markers?  There’s (fake) coffee bean ones,  there’s skulls, this shop even probably has your knitters favourite kind of dog – if that’s the kind of knitter you have.  Stitch markers are a fun little thing for knitters. Super personal, and if you go to Etsy and type in "the thing my knitter cares about stitch markers" you’ll find something.
Best part? If you’re crafty, you could make your knitter some. Knitters are makers. They would love that.

Day 2 (See? I’m totally going to catch up.)

I’m trying to hit all sorts of different price points here, so if the last one was thrifty, this one is for the non-knitter who’s been saving up for something more special.  Every craftsperson loves beautiful tools, and if your knitter has been knitting for a while, and you can see they’re maybe serious enough about it to want some serious upgrades? How about hand made tools?  Knitters love things that are handmade- it’s what they do, and they respect it. Consider a beautiful Nostepinne (they help knitters wind yarn into balls, knitters who like doing things by hand love them.) A handmade swift?  A floor model? Does your knitter spin too? Maybe a niddy noddy?

Good luck, happy shopping, I’ll see you tomorrow.  I’m going to see a man about a tree and rip a sweater up.

64 thoughts on “No But Yes

  1. The hardest thing in knitting (I think) is stopping work on a project when the little voice in your head is telling you something isn’t right. It might be time for a breather, time to walk away and work on something else, preferably in the non-knitting area, until you have some perspective and feel fresh. Love the colour–perfect for a little man. And why am I taking time to read your blog and write this comment when my own young man needs a Xmas sweater. Time to get going!

  2. The yarn and cable look to make a lovely sweater no matter the size but if there’s not enough yarn then you’re right; rip away. I had the same problem the other day with a gifty hat. I knew it was (probably) too big but the swatch wouldn’t lie, would it? So I finished it. Today I am making it again, with fewer stitches and fewer inches. Getting your tree will be good medicine. Have fun!

  3. My dad always used to say, “You can always get me a tool.” He did wood stuff. Did he mean a tool like a screwdriver, of which there are about a million types? Or did he mean a power thing to rip up walls? It’s great that you show the ignorant the way… We can all use a little help!

  4. What I wouldn’t give to be able to hand you all the Tosh yarn you need to start over without having to rip that one out. I’m in Ft Worth this week, by the way, with a mission to go to the Tosh store while I’m here. Just sayin’.

  5. Yes, the Christmas panic hit me this morning when I realized I don’t even have a list and I think I’m going to knit a million things and I only have 20 days. What was I thinking? And I already have a tree so that’s not going to help me.

  6. I have the MadTosh DK in Betty Draper’s Blues (and French Grey). It’s so wonderful that the sweater I’m knitting with it gets put aside as “the knitting I do when I need to remind myself how much I love knitting”. The sweater may never be finished, but the pleasure of knitting with the yarn could last a good many years that way.

  7. I could totally use a gifts for engineers list. Knowing the name of the ‘book about [those] thingies that most people think is pretty good” would really help resolve my own personal Christmas anxiety. So if you could get Joe to share his wish list…

  8. Oh. Good. Lord.
    I have lived in a knitting wilderness for so long that I forgot that there must be gazillions of neat things out there for knitters. Stitch markers? Mine are plain-jane from a large crafting chainstore and although I still love them and use them all the darn time, I’m now totally in love with Ringlets and MUST HAVE SOME!
    If only I could get my non-knitters to read your blog I’m sure it would be helpful. In the absence of any hope of three teenage guys reading any knitting blog for any reason whatsoever, I write a Christmas list and post it on the fridge. Actually, we all post lists, and it is ostensibly written for Santa’s benefit so we don’t all sound acquisitive and gimme-gimme. Mine always says the same things so you’d think they’d be used to it by now: yarn, fleece, roving, yarn, watercolor paper, yarn, beading supplies, yarn…. Problem with teen boys is that they think yarn comes from…well, you know, that big box store with really inexpensive merchandise. I’m trying to educate them but with no LYS within 50 miles of here, it’s an uphill battle.

  9. Oh, and I just ripped half a scarf, so I do sympathize with the sweater situation, albeit your sweater is both more complex and more handsome than my scarf. I have beautiful yarn, but the totally wrong pattern. Much too ordinary for so lovely a yarn. So I started again yesterday afternoon and now have about two-thirds of a scarf. Which isn’t as happy a situation as it sounds, because it isn’t a Christmas gift, it’s for this Friday lunchtime and that in itself is making me anxious. I have tons of other things to do before Friday.

  10. Oh and I forgot to add, if there are any knitters left who do not have all your books, that would be a great gift- I laugh, I cry, I think “wow I do that same thing”.

  11. Awww.. DK Twist. It’s my favorite yarn ever, and it is no more. Looking forward to seeing the finished object!

  12. I totally love “gifts for knitters”, last year I hinted about a Tom Bihn bag in cork, and come Christmas Day it was under the tree! Our family totally does lists, it makes it much easier.

  13. If you rip it you get to knit it again and incorporate those design features that you thought of after you’d past the point where you could put them in. It will be a better sweater as well as actually fitting. If it’s not done for Christmas give them a hat from the gift box and a sweater IOU.
    My inner knitter is a cow – she’s always right and she knows it. She’s a smug know it all, she’s all “I told you so, but you wouldn’t listen” and that’s exactly why I don’t listen.

  14. I actually picked out that same swift myself, my own sort of “gift for THIS knitter list”. It was the only thing on there 🙂
    They are too beautiful for words (and great for people without a lot of space, too!). Those are all winners!

  15. Please note that some of the things suggested were in the “always need more” category, and others are in the “if they’re in your house you would know it” category. It is very difficult to shop for a dedicated hobbyist, in their hobby. Most of the time they have considered what was available, and have either acquired it for themselves or have deemed the item not worthy.
    I don’t like doing gift cards. In recent years I have gone with “experience” gifts such as cooking classes for my son in law who swears he can’t cook more than Kraft Dinner. This year the adult kids and their partners and I are going to a Cirque du Soleil performance and dinner.

  16. I could have my husband make up a list of thingies for you to buy (he’s into electronics & sound too.) Heck, I’m sure I could find plenty of resistor thingies or transistor thingies or other random electronicish thingies in my basement for you. We have about a million and one thingies in the basement. You’re welcome to whatever you can carry away. 😉

  17. My sister just asked if I wanted short double points, because I was trying to knit leaves and flowers – the kind you would sew onto something else. Brilliant suggestion.
    Also, remind the knitters and non-knitters that the really great shops do that list thing, which I used for years on my spouse.

  18. Could anyone email me a sample of ‘said spreadsheet’ with how to attack Christmas? I am an newbie to this kind of approach and would love to learn….

  19. Yea, next year, maybe you can figure margin of error into the spreadsheet. As I was telling The Husband, “Sure, honey, I have plenty of Christmas cards. I figured for margin of error….but I would like to point out that you erred.”

  20. 2 of the 4 hats on my Christmas knits list are done. Just casting on the 3rd. Have one pair of fingerless mitts and one lace scarf also. I can totally do this in 20 days, right. And I won’t see one of the giftees until the 28th. [So, the fingerless mitts that go with his hat can wait for Christmas week to be done. Have to remember that on my plan.]
    I bought the gingerbread house kit today, have the tree up and lit, but not decorated. And the buy in list is down to 3 or 4 items.
    Why am I so tired already. {plus there are the 3 Birthdays in the next 18 days.}

  21. I really like these gifts for knitters every year. I learn about things that I never knew were out there. Thanks for all of the awesome information!

  22. So this year I decided to make it easy on myself by making a few pairs of fingerless gloves (packaged nice with matching nail polish). I went so far as to only use patterns I have already knit successfully…numerous times. Easy right? Not quite.I don’t want to even tell you how many times I have frogged the #@%# things! Since the mitts in question are dark purple, I cast on a new pair in a light pink/peach Lornas Laces beautiful wool. Hopefully that will help! Enjoy your tree. Personally I’m watching the clock and the minute it turns 5:00 opening a lovely bottle of wine.

  23. What a coincidence! That little voice was just talking to me too! About the same problem. Guess we’ll both be ripping out sweaters today.
    I blame that nasty, lying, no good, son-of-a, little gauge swatch.
    We got a tree too. It was lovely, and then it fell down. I’m investigating how we might rig up a set of guy wires.
    Ah, the holidays.

  24. My favourite gift for knitters is a swift. I asked my Dad to make me one a couple of years ago …it is kind of like the one you’ve linked to here. He had no idea what it was, but followed the photo I gave him and made it on blind faith. It is a real treasure to have something he made… and it works beautifully. Ask your family woodworker for a swift.

  25. My problem is not so much that my knitting–and crocheting–are going badly, as it is that the list is getting longer. It’s not really that long–six, seven items? but I’m not a very fast maker. This will be interesting.

  26. My fiance made me a swift for my birthday this year. He learned wood working from his grandfather, found the instructions online, and decided that even if he hadn’t done anything with wood in years it was worth picking up. I love my handmade swift. It could not be more perfect.
    We’re going to talk next about him making me a niddy noddy, but for now I’m really happy with the shelves he’s built.

  27. Oh my gosh those stitch markers are darling. I need one of those “tea for two” sets with the scones already heavy with cream and jam.

  28. I crochet and do counted cross stitch, but my good friend is a knitter and you blessed me today with the coffee bean stitch markers — she will love them! I am stitching up #5 of 6 sibling presents and hope to deliver them to the framer by Friday — must stitch faster!

  29. Apparently etsy does not have owl stitch markers … yet.
    Patiently waiting … to see if husband assaults etsy with requests for owl stitch markers 😛

  30. Haha, I should have a gifts for engineers post 😀
    I have been a knitter longer than I have been an engineer, but I figure engineers don’t blog about it as much.
    Fry’s Electronics is your friend. Think Geek and Woot, and New Egg. Blogs about building tube amplifiers might lead down an interesting path.
    My engineering husband also appreciates building projects, but he is mechanically inclined, not electrically.
    Molly : )

  31. Thanks for this list – I love reading through it every year. PS Floops stitch markers, they have an etsy shop, are nice stitch markers I got recently.

  32. I love finding yarn that has been wrapped in a project bag (there’s a chance that this happens because it is my knitting Mum buying it for me), because I can cast on yet another new project and have somewhere to put it.

  33. I have that floor swift & I love it. No more having to take out the swift, find 2 tray tables to set up, clamp the swift to one & the ball winder to the other & wind balls. Makes it so much easier.

  34. I have a pair of socks that I knew were too big after I finished the first one. Why did I go on to knit the second the same way? One is frogged the other isn’t yet. Of course the yarn is non shrink.
    I did the same with a hat and a pair of mittens. But they felted beautifully.

  35. Presbytera, you’re right. Having to frog one of the gifts means IT is beginning. Please pass the popcorn salt.

  36. My nonknitter purchased my present today after calling me to make sure he ordered the correct thing-a 20″ Schact Flip loom. My hubby is the best!!

  37. I can’t believe there aren’t any German Shepherd stitch markers, out of all those breeds!!
    I really prefer ringlet markers, but think I might get the woolly sheep ones and make them into earrings instead…

  38. I’m assuming the title is a reference to Little Britain. Should that be the case, I esteem you all the more!!

  39. This made me think of “Pete the Cat”. My daughter is really into Pete. Everything is cool. Don’t worry. Groovy. (“Does pete worry? Goodness no!”)

  40. Kids could make stitchmarkers out of paperclips and coloured tape. They are lovely to use as end-of-pattern rowmarkers in repeated patterns. What I really love to give knitters is a CHIBI. I love the bend-end of the needle, that I can use it with sockyarn to very thick yarn, I love the tube with screwn-on top, which keeps my needles safe and I love the little eye at the top, to which I have fastened with a ribbon my pair of scissors. One of the best low-cost presents I can think of.

  41. A shame about the sweater. If you ever figure out a foolproof way to stop knitting the moment you realize something’s wrong, be sure to post about it :-). Personally, I tend to eventually stop and then poof! a UFO. I like denial, not about everything but definitely about that..
    And a lovely handmade nostepinne, that’s excellent advice. Sure looks better to pull that out in public than a used tp cardboard roll. You can really get some looks if you do that in a public place.

  42. One year I got a wooly board–and hadn’t even asked for it! I have a DH who loves gadgets, and HE thought it was cool. It is. Now I really want a new, sort of space age drying mat that is at our LYS, and because it it not a gadget…who knows. But a thought–our LYS has a wish list box for all of its customers–you can write a list and leave it with them, and the family or whoever can come in and ask for your list, and voila! Instant right gift. Very handy, especially for listing things like $38 a skein yarn.

  43. Day 6 – I have made a total of 2 gifts so far. There are 4 grand nephews and 2 grand nieces. Um I’d say I’m not going to make it. What size is that sweater??

  44. I agree with Elizabeth (first commenter this time around): there’s knowing that you’re going to have to rip and then there’s “KNOWING” that you’re ripping it. I think it’s because blocking has suckered me into believing that water and some pins can make it right — no matter what the sizing issue.
    I love the “Gifts for Knitters” posts. I usually email the link to your blog each day to my husband throughout the series, adding in little comments like “See? I’m totally easy to buy for!”

  45. I have been wanting a pretty chatelaine for years. I just saw one on Ravelry and SHE SELLS THEM IN HER ETSY STORE. Of course, I have to buy it for myself,, who else will?

  46. Ah, but when you get the gift for engineers right, they are SO wowed! Back in the poor-as-church-mice days, I trucked myself down to a tool place and had a conversation with the man there. I didn’t know what the thingie was called. He said ‘what’s it look like?’ and I drew a picture. When I left with the little–and very inexpensive–item, he was watching me with complete envy for my husband. Go to the thingie store and ask. The guys think this is VERY cool to do…and they have great suggestions. Or ask Joe’s friends who know what he likes/wants/needs.

  47. A smaller sweater will take less time to knit than that one would. It is totally all going to be fine.

Comments are closed.