Maybe Behinder

On Saturday morning I woke up and decided that this was the weekend to "get it together".
This decision by itself did very little to fix things around here, but I got out my Christmas spreadsheet and made a very large pot of coffee, and I took stock of the way things are around here, and tried to do some realistic thinking about where I’m at with this thing.

Joe and I have a completely unrealistic goal of being finished with the shopping by Wednesday – a goal that seemed totally doable when we set it last Wednesday, but I’m starting to understand that one of us needs to commit to going to a store to make it happen, and neither of us have quite faced up to that. There’s a cleaning schedule in place, one that should have the house spotless and shining by the 20th. Alarms set to remind me to wrap gifts for 15 minutes here and there, and I planned out when I’ll bake what. (The baking thing is getting reined in this year. We didn’t eat or give away all of it last year, so even though it’s a lot of fun to do it,  it’s time to check the volume. Sam and I have agreed that even if nobody eats them, we aren’t ready to give up gingerbread moose.) I even got the pickled beets done, and three jars of lemon curd, and ran them through the canner. 

There’s only a little more to do there for the "food gifts" (Peppermint bark, I’m looking at you) but after a weekend of applying myself to the thing, I feel like it’s all possible, possible as long as I don’t think about the knitting.   On November 28th I showed you this. 

That was the pile of yarn looking to become gifts, and today it looks like this.

That’s a considerable improvement, and I’m not just talking about the tree being up.  The scarf? Finished, but for the blocking. Of the two pairs of men’s socks I hadn’t even started yet, one pair is DONE and the other pair is 1/4 of the way there. (Note to self: PANIC ABOUT THAT.) The little cream and white baby sweater and hat? The hat’s halfway done, and the sweater is totally finished, but for two wee buttons that need sewing on. (Note to self: FIND BUTTONS.) The two pairs of slippers that I hadn’t even got the yarn for? I got it, and it’s wound, but no magic elves have turned up to fix that little problem.  (Note to self: SLIPPERS TAKE A LONG TIME TO DRY.) There’s a little red sweater in there, and the back is done, but a back alone doesn’t make a sweater – and there’s still a pair of men’s socks unfinished.  So, taking stock?

1. Finish red sweater. Two fronts, two sleeves and a collar.
2. Finish blue and white baby set. Sew on buttons, complete the hat. (Remember it has six hours of duplicate stitch.)
3. Finish the socks that are only 1/4 of the way there.
4. Finish the socks that have only 1/4 of the way to go.
5. Knit two pairs of French Press Slippers and felt them.

Doable? No way to tell, but I can tell you this: I could really use some elves who want to make gingerbread and scrub the bathtub while I knit… and that brings me to:

Gifts for knitters: Some Sort of Time Machine.

You’ve probably noticed that your knitter likes to knit. You might even have noticed that they like it a lot better than all of the other stuff they’re supposed to be doing (see above re: bathtub scrubbing.)  I could be projecting here (but I am pretty sure I’m not) when I say there’s nothing your knitter wants more than a few more hours in a day to knit – and I know what you’re thinking. "Hey Crazy Lady who watches too much Dr Who, there’s no such thing as a time machine", but you’d be wrong.  You can be the time machine for your knitter.  An awesome gift, as we come down to the wire, or you run out of money, is your time, given freely to your knitter.  A written commitment to doing some of the things that your knitter likes less than knitting to give them time to knit is an amazing gift.  A little note that says "I will be YOU for six hours" or "This coupon entitles the bearer to four undisturbed hours of knitting while I do chores they hate" or "This magic note can exchange 1 hour of cleaning for 1 hour of knitting" is going to be make you a rock star of gift giving.  Don’t forget to use your best handwriting, and wrap it. 

87 thoughts on “Maybe Behinder

  1. This makes my piles seem much more doable. 2 pairs of lined colourwork mittens couldn’t possibly take very long. If only the 5 little people who reside here would understand mama has a lot less cleaning time available if they expect cookies we would be in business.

  2. thinking of ‘accidentally on purpose’ sending today’s post to the other half. On a bit of a declutter & save for house buzz at the moment so it would be perfect.

  3. I absolutely love todays gift suggestion. 🙂 I am sending it to my daughter.
    I have a question: how come your Christmas knitting pile seems to be going down while mine seems to be growing? i am not sure how that happened? lololololol

  4. My husband’s “time machine” is playing golf…and I have already purchased his card so that he gets a discount on greens fees and the like for next year.

  5. My hubby found me an early Christmas present this year: a cleaning lady. She comes every other week and insures that the house doesn’t get to far out of control.

  6. yeah you Stephanie – remember that an unfinished knitting gift goes well with the “coupon for service” (they want the sox? they can do the dishes, and you are both happy…)
    please add link to peppermint bark recipe!

  7. This weekend I stopped at a local craft/fabric store to pick up a set of circulars for a project I hadn’t intended to make but now realize there is some urgency to complete and I commented to the cashier that it must be pretty busy these days. She said, not really, most people have completed their projects and are now working on other holidays, like Valentines Day.
    I don’t know what kind of people these are, I don’t think they’re my kind of people.

  8. My god, if my fella gave me that gift of time, I’d do unlady-like things to him!
    I’m trying to get a grip on the cleaning since someone may be staying at my house while I’m gone for the holidays. Of course, I set the unreasonable goal of having the house SPOTLESS.
    I’ll probably be willing to shell out hotel money by the end of the week.

  9. Those slippers are so cute!!! Already in my queue. As for the time gift, I am totally asking for that next year (and inexpensive!). Good luck on your Christmas prep!

  10. How old should said gift-giver be? I’m thinking my 6-year-old and 3-year-old could do some cleaning, especially since they’re closer to the floor. I think that would be a great gift for both Mommy and Daddy this year.

  11. Of all the awesome gifts you list, this one is the best. Time to knit while have-to’s are getting done by someone who is not you. Priceless.

  12. Oh man! You can do it!
    I’m down to:
    Graft the sleeves, block, and sew eyes onto the owls of a Katie Davies’ Owl sweater
    Knit and felt a pair of lined slippers (so actually four slippers) for my hubby-to-be’s stocking.
    I also have a custom-order rainbow scarf that needs clouds. I’m at 6/20 there.
    Wish me luck~!
    Katie =^..^=

  13. Okay, so what is a good gingerbread recipe? I’ve been looking for one for years, and mine never come out right.
    I decided years ago to only do birthday knitting, so my knitting panic is spread out across the year.

  14. I accidentally created a new family tradition a few years ago when I didn’t finish a handmade gift. Now everyone is eager to get the “unfinished gift” because then they get a gift after Christmas. Last year my older daughter was the recipient, and quite possibly the year before as well. The first was my son’s girlfriend 3 years ago…she waited until September for her hand quilted quilt! This year it’s going to be my husband…but don’t tell him!

  15. I love the thing about the TARDIS. 🙂 Good luck getting all of your tasks completed before celebrating the holiday with your family!

  16. So… those felted slippers would make a great New Years gift. How nice to start the new year by putting on New Slippers! Just a suggestion.

  17. If it’s any consolation you’re knitting is a lot nearer to finished than mine is – but then I long ago realised that I would be wrapping yarn – again!

  18. This year I made (following a wonderful blogger’s suggestion) washcloths for all my office co-horts. Paired with a small bar of soap and an inexpensive little dish, tied with pretty ribbon -they are charming and I hope, appreciated. They enabled me to get ahead on the larger family projects (oodles of fingerless gloves, hats and mug cozies). Thanks Harlot!

  19. the time machine also works quite well when I get requests (the ONLY ones allowed to “request” anything from me when it comes to knitted items are people I have given birth to… they’re uber knitworthy to the point they refuse to let anyone touch their handknits at school, where others keep trying to swipe them)…. I only knit on the item they’ve requested while they’re actively doing something for me (ie: chores I hate such as mopping the floor).

  20. Hi,
    Getting me to knit for you would be a retrograde step, unfortunately.
    I am still not stalking you, but I would come and scrub your bathtub.
    Greater love hath no woman…..

  21. Wait. If you’re given time gift certificates for Christmas, wouldn’t you need a real time machine in order to use them for pre-Christmas knitting.

  22. I once had a guest (the Australian cousin of my Australian fiance) sleeping on my couch for three months. He had hot meals ready when I got home from work. He hesitantly asked if I would be insulted if he defrosted my refrigerator. After I wiped the coffee off my face, I gave him permission to clean anything at all in my crummy apt. He was a lot more fun than the fiance, who I did not marry.

  23. If only I could get the felines to help instead of hinder… House would be clean and all the knitting would be done!! I, too, have faith in you that you can get it done!!

  24. Have to admit I’m a “bad girl.” I haven’t finished LAST year’s Christmas socks yet. Hmmm. Better make that a “very bad girl.” I don’t even know where I hid those socks-in-progress. Perhaps it would be best if I skip hanging up my stocking this year — coal dust makes such a mess.

  25. Wait-some people think one can watch too much Doctor Who? Obviously the same people who think there is too much knitting going on…

  26. I’m married to an engineer and I really wish he’d start working on a time machine, then just send it back in time to me now so I can do all the knitting and sewing I wish I had time for.
    And your colors are so warm and cozy, I could just cuddle with your yarn balls. (that sounds really dirty!)

  27. Giving of one’s time is a HUGE gift and should be done more often. And I have to say I’ve been following your blog for some time and am always in awe at the amount you want/expect to get done in time for Christmas. Even if you are weaving in ends on the way to the party, you seem to get it done!

  28. Now that is a perfect gift. I wish my Joe would gift me a few knitting hours this Christmas. But I have a feeling that I’m going to get something pie related so that I can make a pie instead. Oh well! Pie is tasty!

  29. I only have one project; a skinny tie for my son and I’ve run out of yarn 10 inches from completion! To the yarn store tomorrow.
    Time would be a great gift! That or sunshine (not much of that here in my part of Michigan).

  30. Don’t forget, Captain Pearl-McPhee, that you can also go back in time with a warp-capable starship doing a slingshot maneuver around the sun.
    Live long, prosper, and get your X-mas knitting done before X-mas!

  31. Actually, if someone wanted to rent a maid for me for one week, I’d feed her and give her the best bed in the house (mine) for the duration AND I’d knit her a pair of socks as a bonus.

  32. I don’t know if you own a food dehydrator, and this may sound weird, but I use my dehydrator to dry knitted items in a hurry when needed. It works fantastically, I can dry a hat or a pair of mittens in just a couple of hours without any damage to the item at all. It does make the house smell a bit like wet wool, but this time of year – with all the ice and snow – it usually already does.

  33. Ok. I feel your pain. My mom is going to be 88 Jan 10. At the end of November I thought ill make her a sweater! I can do it ! The yarn is a gorgeous fingering hand painted merino wool and I’m using size 3 needles. The back is done. It was straight stockinette stitch.The front is a not too hard 8 row repeated lace pattern. Tonight I ripped out for the sixth time!!! As I write this it’s lying in a tangled heap at my feet having landed there after I threw it in disgust. If you listen carefully you can hear it mocking me. “What’s the matter Pattye? Can’t handle an easy lace pattern? Perhaps you should stick to less intensive hobbies like watching TV… Then…. I swear it snickers.I have less than a month to do this. It’s no longer a project it’s an epic battle! It’s about 1 am and I going to sleep. Seventh times the charm. Just in case your wondering tomorrow I will be adding lifeline to each 8 row repeat.

  34. Forget the knitting, I want to know about Christmas moose (mooses? whatever).
    I think we need some in our house. And where would one purchase a moose cookie cutter?
    Inquiring minds…

  35. Great Post.I like making Gifts for friends and family..I love to knit and make sugar scrubs and knit and make birdseed ornaments and knit…
    Hope you get all your knitting done…

  36. I’d be willing to give the leftover moose (plural) a home. Let me know, and I’ll send my address and postage. (Not really, because I’ll have too much on hand as well.) No room in the freezer? Zipper bags and your freezer are your friend. Or borrow freezer space.

  37. Best. Gift. Idea. EVER!!! I have some vacay days coming up before the holiday, but will need to shift some furniture and find new homes for various elements of the stash during that time. I so need two more of me. Will have to make do with The Plaidman & DiscoDame as my “other” hands.

  38. Of all of the gift suggestion I love this one the most. How I long to just sit and knit for hours without the guilt that comes from doing nothing required, like laundry and making meals.

  39. I love those two pictures because they are a visual representation of one of the things that I love about knitting: that knitting makes the universe more orderly and less jumbled.

  40. In the days when our kids were little, my husband created several gift cards for ‘4 hours of uninterrupted creative time’. Back then this gave me the opportunity to spend time with my neglected floor loom. He would take care of the kids and do whatever else needed to be done around the house. It was a gift that I was able to use throughout the year.

  41. I don’t knit gifts, so I don’t know your challange.I love to read your blog in Dec,and I know every year you pull through. Just one stitch at a time.
    As for Christmas,I am done. All bought and wrapped.Just waiting to start cooking.

  42. I still have 5 1/2 slippers (Check Ravelry for Non-felted Slippers by Yuko Nakamura. They’re quick, simple, and fun!), half of a felted pillow, tons of baking, and cleaning that I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around before my parents and sister come next week. My brother, sister, and I decided that we’re not doing gifts for eachother this year, so that took a load off. But I still made slippers for my parents, afghans for my 3 kids (the slippers-in-progress are for them, and match their individual afghans), and the felted pillow in the works is a special gift for my husband. Apple butter canning is done, though! That’s our teacher/bus driver/neighbor gift each year, and it’s always yummy. Still, no cleaning is happening, and the kids are sick of eating leftovers from the freezer . . .

  43. Oh, oh – my husband has recently taken up knitting and felting. As if I’m not concerned enough about my yarn and fleece stash disappearing, now I have to worry he’ll read this post and get other ideas?!?

  44. I was knitting all last night in my dreams… but when I woke up this morning, I still had all of these projects that were not done! 🙁
    Your gift suggestion sounds amazing!

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  46. I sewed a tree skirt for a gift for Christmas. I thought it would be quick, and only take me about 6 hours. I was wrong- so wrong. It took me two full seasons of The Walking Dead, plus a two hour movie.

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  48. I must have really smart kids for my just-5-year-old made me a lovely coupon for my birthday for “one time of undisturbed knitting”. It nearly made me cry (in a good sense), I had no idea they know me so well. So – yes – your gift idea is wonderful!!!

  49. “hello my name is…” Crazy Lady who watches too much Dr Who
    that would be me as well, parenting my 15yo who is
    Crazy Teen who watches too much Dr Who.
    Thank you, I now have a secret identity. And so does the teen.

  50. Two years ago on Mother’s Day my husband gave me three Raffaelo chocolates that were *magical*. I was told that as soon as I ate one I’d get 24 hours to myself to do whatever I wanted.
    Whenever I tell other women about this present they whimper with jealousy. Unless they’re knitters. Then they grab me and ask to borrow my husband!

  51. I had to stop reading my blogs about 2 weeks before Christmas as I wasn’t getting ANYTHING done LOL. Finally catching up! Had to save yours for LAST because more than any others it INSPIRES me! Went and saved that slipper pattern to my favorites…I HAVE to try my hands at those! Super cute!!!

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