The way thing are

Well. This is it.

There you have it, a little pile of yarn that intends to be things before Christmas.  The Day Of Reckoning wasn’t that bad…if by not bad you understand that I mean that things aren’t as bad as they have been in the past but are still sort of amazingly ambitious. 

There’s the scarf I need to finish (that’s not a present, but still has to happen.) A nearly finished pair of socks, two pairs of men’s socks that aren’t yet socks at all, a little red sweater, a blue and cream baby set that’s only 1/3 of the way to being a set, two pairs of slippers that are invisible because haven’t even ordered the yarn yet, and the same goes for a hat.  There might be something else in there that I’m not committed to, because if time runs out I think I can buy my way out of it. 

That is, to my way of figuring knitting time, about 100 hours of knitting, and about 27 days to knit it in, and that rounds out to about 3.7 hours of knitting per day, which sounds bad, but probably isn’t, considering that I have seven flights and seven nights away from home  in the next 12 days – and that will help, but will likely be balanced out by the fact that I’m teaching and speaking for six of them.  I’m trying not to think about it.  I know too that the season also holds cooking and cookies and building gingerbread houses and taking Hank out for our traditional shopping trip, and making sure a few things get into jars and pulling together a celebration for solstice and…

Now is a really good time to remember that these are goals, not mandatory knitting landmarks that I must hit or be damned.  I’ve enjoyed the last few years when I’ve been organized and relaxed and darn it all the way to H. E. double hockey sticks, I’m not letting go of that feeling. 

Still, it might be doable. Right? The next few days will be the test.  If I can get the back of it broken, the universe might just unfold as I hope it will.  Or more of the ceiling will fall in.  No way to know. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and to the rest of us, Happy 27 knitting days until Christmas.  Get busy.

128 thoughts on “The way thing are

  1. Thank you for making me feel a whole lot better about the two baby cardigans and man-sized scarf I’ve to finish (plus, ahem, the Christmas stocking and knitted tie I’ve yet to start). Best of luck! Good to know I’m not alone in my epic quest to hit mandatory knitting landmarks. I mean, er, goals.

  2. Last night I was thinking I was okay: 1 scarf, 3 cowls. Heck, I might even be able to get back to knitting for me again (I am in need of sweaters, socks, and mitts, and, of course, already have the yarn for all of them).
    Then my husband mentioned that with our house guests, I really should knit something for at least five of the eight (all of whom I really like, none of whom have any of my hand knits yet). He said he’d take care of his uncle and the 4 year old boy would probably prefer dinosaurs and the 7 year old girl might prefer a book, BUT that leaves his aunt, cousin, cousin’s wife, and their 2 teenage girls.
    I cast on a Pretty Thing this morning. At least someone will get something.

  3. Oh my goodness. Most of us are going through the same stress. No, it’s not mandatory but really, isn’t it ? I don’t want to disappoint my friends and family. Luckily I was only requested to make hats this year and hats it is. A lot of bulky hats are coming off the 10, 10.5 and US 11 size needles and I have to tell you, four of them are the Unoriginal hat (thanks so much for coming up with that one). Good luck to You, me and all of us crafters because it’s pretty close to the finish line. Enjoy the rest of your day !

  4. you know, having things actually finished on the actual day of Christmas is overrated. I’m a full believer in doing your best, and not beating yourself up. The hat is just as pretty if it’s done on New Year’s Day… or valentine’s day, or Groundhog day.. even St. Patrick’s day!
    For the record, I have three second socks to finish, 2 hats to finish and 1 hat to start. the afgan that might have been finished last Christmas, might get finished this year! Happy knitting.

  5. I always love watching you yank finished knitted items out of thin air this time of year. I had a LRP box as well, and only put in a pair of socks which have now disappeared…along with the box. I wrote a list of things I hope to have knitted in time for Xmas. I’m just tickled more of it has been knitted already than in years past. I cheated (maybe)–I started in late October.

  6. Just finished a holly/snowflake hat for my DIL. Hope I have not committed an outrageous Christmas sweater for the head… Good luck on all you have planned, congrats on the philosophical part about what happens if it doesn’t all come together!

  7. I have a pair of socks for my husband to conjure forth, a felt cat for my younger son to make, a crayon and drawing pad holder for him too, a quilt for my older son, and maybe I might even finish my first lace scarf for myself before it gets warm again. Oh, and a fabric Advent calendar to get on with, right now. Not as large a pile as yours, but then I’m slower!

  8. I am lucky that the Harry Potter show is in my city till March. Each adult child and spouse gets an envelope with calendar pages for Jan-March, together with a demand for black-out dates. When I find the date that works for everyone, there will be tickets for the show. This morning I ordered yarn to make all the house scarves, since I don’t know where people belong. But if I get that info, there might be scarves. For sure, this being Canada, if the scarves aren’t used this winter, they will be next.

  9. Holey Moley! That’s a whack of knitting, good thing that you knit at light-speed (as compared to me, anyway. I knit at snail speed, or have done since October 1) I have only 1 baby sweater and a cowl to finish. Oh! And 14 dozen biscotti, 12 lemon loaves and 12 cranberry loaves to bake, wrap and give away by December 20th. My house will smell delish.

  10. I can always count on you to get me thinking about my knitting gift plans, even though I try to keep them to a minimum. I don’t enjoy knitting to a deadline, and I have enough knitting deadlines to cope with without the Xmas stuff added in. But this year my son wants a hat to replace the one he lost (argh!) and maybe a neckwarmer for another family member. Twenty-seven days should do it. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  11. 27 days?!! Thankfully, I only have one committed knitting gift. The rest is just wishful thinking on my part, and includes fingerless mitts (3 pairs), finishing the Never Ending Sock, finishing the pair to the Never Ending Sock, and some linen handcloths for the best friend ever. Knit On, everyone.

  12. You know what? In the dreary days of January and on into February, when all the fun and bustle of the holidays is over and done, wouldn’t it be a nice surprize for someone to receive a belated handknit little red sweater, or warm socks, or a cozy pair of slippers? Nice, huh? For Christmas, give them chocolate and a promissary note.

  13. I love piles of yarn! Couldn’t you just go swimming in it?! You have a lovely pile there. I see Joe’s socks, lol. That red is very pretty. The white and blue looks like it will be something so sweet for the baby – definitely gotta include us in on that one with pictures.
    My bet is you’ll have two gifts done by tomorrow at this time. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    Have a great day.

  14. Well, Stephanie, if it gets too crazy, just remember those people on your gift list who would prefer to have you sane rather than frazzled, and get them something you don’t have to knit. Just as an escape hatch, you know?

  15. I feel so much better about having to knit two hats and one and half more leg warmers (not a good choice for last minute gift for a TALL 11 year old, but too late now), cheers to you, lovely Stephanie!
    oh yes, and finishing the bodice of a sundress (thank god the skirt is cloth!)

  16. well, look at it this way: Throw in some undergarments and your carry on bag is packed. I am scaling back what I plan on knitting for people and who I am knitting for…. 27 days is NOT a lot of time (esp. since I get to spend the next few days with my granddaughters staying with me! YAY!!!! NANA TIME! ) but then again, if I compare our two knitting speeds, I’m stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the NY Thruway in Albany during rush hour and you’re doing the whole “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Whimey” thing in a T.A.R.D.I.S. (think how cool it would be if knitters actually got to have their own T.A.R.D.I.S….. or even a time turner, lots of time to go back into and knit!) what gets done gets done and no one will die if they don’t have a handknit item (although if Canadian winters are as cold as the Maine ones I remember, it may come close LOL!) have fun and Happy Holidays!

  17. Maybe a solution is to plan trips REALLY FAR AWAY in late November, early December. Like .. teach a class in Japan! Or, a book-reading in Australia! Think of the 23-hour flights right about now. Bliss.

  18. I am a slooooow knitter and I have thought a lot about returning to the ideal of 12 days of Christmas….with Christmas day being day one of the holiday and January 6 being day 12. This would give more time to knit and enjoy the season. Happy holidays and peace to all!!

  19. I don’t knit for Christmas, because no one wants beanies, woolly socks or handwarmers in the Australian summer. I did distribute knitted items last year at a family dinner in May. But not for everyone, I don’t want to raise expectations and find myself with mandatory knitting. Good luck northern hemisphere knitters!

  20. Good luck!
    I have the ribbing on Katie Davies’ Owl sweater left, and some slippers to knit/felt/sole.
    Not many people get my hand knitting, because they wouldn’t appreciate it.
    However, those above are just gifts; I am knitting for Christmas sales (as well as sewing), and let me tell you…That is a mess to be seen. I’m really looking forward to 4pm on December 14, because then I will be finished for the season and posting the rest of the spoils to Etsy!
    Haha
    Katie =^..^=

  21. You will get it done! You are the fastest knitter in the universe!!!
    We will need to see pictures of the finished gifts please!!!
    What—no cowls or fingerless mitts????1

  22. Well I think I’ll go with your LRPB idea, but start in January, and only work mostly with small random projects. The kind that I can give to anybody. But work on friend/family-specific projects too, of course. (Earlier in the year.)
    I had a couple miserable week-long stints in the hospital the past few months, and you’d think they’d be perfect for knitting, but alas…the contagious illness I had did NOT need to be spread to my friends, you know? 😛
    So I’m currently going through my stash and looking at patterns to store away for next year. I don’t have anything for the casual acquaintances this year, so I only need the leftover time to work on 2 more people. Should be OK. (Praying for no more hospital-time.)

  23. Most people get holiday presents. But how many people get a special hand knit the night before the 3rd major snowstorm in the month settles over the city?
    Aim for Christmas…but there are worse things than getting a warm hand knit in the dreary days of January and February!

  24. I think this is totally doable! 3.5hrs of knitting a day is not much. 😉 (I fit in more than 10) also, you happen to be a very fast knitter. yah, totally doable.

  25. Yup. more and more glad I decided not to knit for anyone this year.
    Last year I knit all.the.things.
    Next year I probably will again.
    But this year? No.
    A friend is having a baby. Baby gets a sweater.
    That’s it!

  26. Happy knitting to you. You can get there, Stephanie. Also, keep at the long range planning box again next year. I have finally reached my goal this year. All of my Christmas knitting was done last Monday. It is a Thanksgiving miracle!

  27. It’s Thanksgiving and I’m warm with the wine and the lovely dinner and the family time – and I’m not worrying about the knitting (two small shawls, one nearly done and another just started), and not really planning to do ANY shopping; I’m just going to enjoy the family and the twinkling lights and the music this year.
    Of course you’ll finish what you need to finish, you knitter-like-the-wind. It will be a lovely holiday season. Enjoy!

  28. Someone else made use of the T.A.R.D.I.S. as being a useful tool to help you meet your goal. Another one would be the replicator: Instead of ordering “tea, Earl Grey, hot”, you could order “knitted sweater, wool, dark red, size X.” Or, at least you could order something along the lines of “beer, Red Hook ESB, cold” or “screech, cold, with a shot of vodka”.

  29. I’ve been following you for years and your crazy goals for Christmas and you seem to hit every one of them!!! Honestly it seems like you’ve stayed on your path and you will make great progress on your flights. If worse comes to worse, I suggest knitting on a pair of socks while you are speaking. All knitters will understand!

  30. If you’d consider moving all your family DownUnder to Oz or Enzed, you’d have no knitgift deadline worries whatsoever. Its far too hot here in December/January to don much at all, let alone knitted gear. As recipients of Christmas knitgifts can’t even consider wearing their warm and cozy lovingly knit prezzies for at least 5 months, there never appears to be the same spontaneous joy when unwrapping them somehow.

  31. Definitely too hot in the Southern Hemisphere to knit Xmas gifts. I say this as I knit my first 4-ply baby blanket for a February baby. I totally second you travelling our way for a reading one year instead of doing your gift knitting. Totally selfish reasons but it would help you out too, no?

  32. The time has come the walrus said to speak of many things. Of shoes and ships and ceiling whacks and cabbages and kings. And why deadlines are boiling hot? And whether pigs have wings. (Or at least my inner Christmas knitting list does.)
    Don’t mind me here…
    Happy giving-thanks!

  33. Next year your schedule should contain 13 periods. Remember a year has 13 x 4 weeks is 52. That thirteenth period you make a 28 schedule and that is for ticking away non-knitting days (teaching, away with familymembers, those no-way-I-can-knit- today days). Now divide christmasknitting by twelve, one non-brainer grab in the go thing and one time consuming, the rest is optional. Maybe that will be a better schedule then yiur usual. You may swith between monthly tasks, but keep to the one easy/one difficult or time consuming. This must work, because you can do the instantly urge to knit something new technique with this schedule,

  34. Last year, when you posted some of the recipes you served at your Solstice celebration, I wrote down the Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts and decided to make it for Thanksgiving this year. Well, today was the day and it was a hit!! Even people who don’t usually eat brussel sprouts admitted that it was tasty. Thanks for sharing! Good luck with all your knitting goals, I’m confident you’ll make it!

  35. I think it’s both funny and horrifying how all of us fool ourselves all the time about how much knitting (spinning, weaving) we can get done in X amount of time. For decades now, we have been gathering evidence about how it can’t all get done, and yet every year, we plan more than is humanly possible. Hope is a lovely thing, but how old do I have to be before experience tempers the hope just a bit?

  36. Wow…lol, and here I am worried that I won’t get a baby hat finished for a co-worker by Christmas! You can do it, Stephanie! Keep calm, and knit on. 🙂

  37. Wish I had time to read all the comments!! My only ‘suggestion’ is to remember to pack the right yarn/needles/pattern for your flights. The last couple seemed to have been ‘issues’. Entertaining for us, but I am sure frustrating for you. Good luck and happy knitting!

  38. You inspire me regularly, Miss Stephanie. I only have a tea cozy to purchase yarn for, knit and then felt. I’m not especially worried about the knitting, that part will go fairly smoothly with bulky weight yarn. It’s the felting that might destroy my ability to get it under the tree in time. I have felted stuff before, but the thought of letting wool go for a swim in a running washing machine stops me cold. Every. Single. Time.
    I’m doomed.

  39. Oh dear, Thank you for doing the math, I had not realize just how insane my knitting plans were. I think I may have to act fast before IT happens again this year. 3 scarves, 6 hats, 2 baby sweaters (just need sleeves), 1 baby quilt (top done) 1 baby blanket edging to finish. hmmm, Think it’s time for a movie marathon!

  40. I’m halfway into a pair of cuffs (easy peasy) and only 3 shawls on needles. Since I don’t do much shopping during the season, I have time to complete projects, I think. If not, oh, well. My family has to realize that hand-made takes time.

  41. I’m going easy on myself this year. I had major back surgery a month ago, so the only Christmas knitting I’m doing this year is finishing the second sock of the second pair of socks for my doctor. Hey, he spent 12.5 hours working on my back in two successive surgeries two days apart and, in the process, gave me the ability to walk pain-free again, so two pairs of socks (one per surgery) is the least he deserves, the blessed miracle worker!
    And since my knitting mojo took a major hit post-surgery for some strange reason (I find myself actually sitting and doing nothing while my knitting sits untouched next to me — clearly, this is not typical for me), just finishing this second sock is just about all I can count on getting done by Christmas. Everybody else gets something non-handmade this year, and they’ll be happy with that or else they won’t get anything next year!
    I have confidence you’ll make. You do every year, somehow!

  42. Nope! Not doing it this year. No knitting for Christmas! What you say!! How can this be? No, I am not a sandbagger…just one who knows what can and cannot be done and it WAY too late for me to even THINK about knitting ANYTHING for Christmas presents. As it is, I am paying for a floor loom and catching up on other more urgent projects…like paying bills and such. We had to move very suddenly and that did not help the Christmas knitting plans. So…no knitted gifts from this kid.
    As for our dear Harlot! YOU GO GIRL..and good luck!
    Barb R.

  43. There will be NO knitted gifts for Christmas, because I had a hat give-away at the family Thanksgiving gathering. Strangely, the weird hat I swore I would never make another like, was the first to be chosen.

  44. What i need is a Box of Requirement — similar to the Room of Requirement at Hogwarts: Whatever one needs, it’s in there!
    We’re having a baby boom next April — a grandson known for now as Tomato and a great-niece or g-nephew. They’re the only ones getting handknits this year. There’ll be a sweater for Tomato and 2 soaker shorties and 4 soaker “sacks” for Anne/Andy Other under the tree. A blanket for Tomato is on the needles, but won’t be done that soon, since I’m designing it as I go. (Your gorgeous layette was my inspiration, though my blanket is neither white nor lacy.)
    Here’s wishing you safe and pleasant travels, with time and elbow room for knitting! Sorry to miss your visit to my state.

  45. Click click click click. Here’s to warm beautiful knits. I’m just into my 2nd pair of socks ever and actually sweated (first I pouted) my way through instructions…but just made it to the decrease to the toe part. I like the little needles and fingering yarn…pretty pretty little stitches.

  46. As a newbie knitter in Australia, most of whose relatives live up in the tropical north, this isn’t a big issue for me. I certainly won’t be knitting them any hats and scarves and gloves; they’d never wear them. I’m considering maybe a knitted bag next year, when I get better & faster. Or a light lacy evening wrap would work.
    But I do have one cunning plan: my bloke is getting a skein of yarn wrapped up, with a label “one pair socks, some assembly required”.

  47. Thumbs, thumbs and more thumbs. and now it looks like a really weird word. My holiday knitting turned really handsy
    and now I have a half dozen pairs of mitts finished except for the thumbs.

  48. Good luck Stephanie! Don’t let IT get you this year! I’ve been knitting up a storm and have made 7 toques for the guys at work 2 “minecraft” toques for my nephews two purses for my boss and our accountant. I’ve knitted my daughter and her best friend owlet fingerless mitts and now have to make some fingerless mitts for my cousin. I was going to knit my good friend and my god mother something but with both being knitters I bought some lovely vases and filled them with beautiful yarn and some homemade knitting needles and a pattern for the yarn and that’s them done I feel great and have found you and your blog very inspiring. Thank you and knit on sister!

  49. Here’s the thing: when one is a knitter , the expectation is that all gifts will be lovingly hand-knitted. While this notion is somewhat idealistic, we, as knitters do indeed try to meet this expectation, sometimes to the detriment of regular meals, housework, laundry, etc. So far, I have a kid-silk scarf, fingerless mitts, infinity scarf, 1/3 of a hat, and 10 stocking ornaments to my credit, so I am optimistic while my hands hold out. Oh, and my 6-year old grand-daughter wants convertible mittens.

  50. All the best with your Christmas knitting!
    If I were delusional, I would make a list like this: fingerless gloves, boy sweater, hat, mittens, infinity scarf, and so on. That would be doable, too, another year, but I need to stay sane for my little people (2 and 4) and the house is a mess. Next year!

  51. A bit off thread here but, is it okay to ask what happened with the ‘Afterlight’ Rhinebeck sweater? No is a fine answer 🙂

  52. Laura @ 4:31- i’ll bet you are sitting and enjoying being post-surgery! you got your gift early. and that is wonderful, although it does not get the knitting done, i guess.
    i just have a few things that i absolutely have to finish- another pair of fingerless mitts for my son, some little cats i want to make my daughter in rainbow colors. i started socks for my boyfriend- my first adult-size socks- and they are each about half done. but they may be a birthday gift instead.
    i don’t like knitting to a deadline either, and i try to start in the spring. my problem is that i sometimes choose the wrong things if i start that early. does anyone else have that problem?

  53. I wish you well in your knitting adventures for the holidays. I do have a suggestion for you. How about taking a “Christmas in July” approach at that reckoning of yours. In other words, do a check in July to see your progress. It might give you a better handle on how things are coming along and you can then set a pace more suited to reaching your goals.
    Best wishes, Kim

  54. vicki in portland–oh, yeah. last year, in july i started knitting fingerless mittens that go over gloves for a small group of six friends. by the time november rolled around, i had all six sets done, but the group had grown to 16! by the way, self-striping sock yarn makes wonderfully random patterns when you use it for gloves. i’m working on the last pair of mittens in the mitten vortex [six pairs in a week!][‘oh, can you knit a pair of booties to with those?’] to make it worse, she gave me the yarn she wanted me to use. i’m supposed to be knitting for an infant, mittens and booties out of worsted. i haven’t found a pattern that uses that gauge, so i will have to wing it. if i try for the gauge the existing pattern calls for, the result is like cardboard. {{{{{sigh}}}}}

  55. If I can’t finish a knitted gift by Christmas, I give the recipient a “yarn cocoon” and tell them it will hatch into a nice gift if they give it back to me.

  56. Thank you so much for mentioning me in your December 1st blog! “Working Girls” has had so much exposeure! Thank you! Sincerely, (artist)Maia Cummins…. I find much inspiration from the beautiful colors, textures and design work that you all do.

  57. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

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