Maybe you need to lower your standards

All is well here, although only because I’ve given up, in the most relaxed way possible.  I’m still trying to get everything done by the 20th, but I understand that’s tomorrow and that  I live in a world of dreams.  Even if I don’t totally finish, I’ll be close enough that the last few days of the holidays won’t be an enraged blur of wrapping paper and baking.  The gingerbread was baked last night, dinner for tonight is almost made, and it’s a simple one, so it’s bubbling on the stove, making the house smell like I’m ready, even if I’m not. A little while ago I got this huge urge to vacuum, and then realized that only a fool vacuums *before* a two year old comes to your house for dinner.  I’ll clean up the crumbs he leaves behind tomorrow.  It was always a pipe dream to have the knitting done by the 20th – I haven’t thought I would make that for a while… but I stand by my idea that I’ll be knitting for me on Christmas Day, with a cup of eggnog and the tree twinkling next to me.  I don’t have that much to knit really (sorry, let me just stop laughing enough to type.)  No, really – it’s not that bad.  A pair of Cloisonée mittens remain to be finished…

cloisoneeontheway2 2014-12-19

and I’d forgotten how much I love this pattern. Fast, fun, and easy to make the right colours for anyone – I hunted on Ravelry for just the right thing for a while before I realized that I’d already come up with it.  (You know you’re not thinking when Rav suggests a pattern you’ve written.)  After that there’s one more pair of mittens (two, if the sun shines) another pair of fingerless mitts, and one (two if the sun shines) hats.  I’m still in the running. This afternoon I’ll finish the cooking, work for a little longer, and then if all goes well, I’ll have an hour to knit before the hordes descend.  (Did I mention I’m looking forward to the hordes?) I was going to clean, but then I remembered I just don’t give a sh*t. I’d rather this was the first year I didn’t give anyone a gift still on the needles.

What’s Luis hanging today?

La luz de navidad. The Christmas light. (Edited to fix my crappy Spanish spelling. Big surprise.)

lalux 2014-12-19

I admit, I think of this as the “Christmas bulb” but Christmas light is close enough.  I was knitting it, and thinking that really, Lou probably wouldn’t know what it was, since all the strings of lights now are little LED things that look nothing like this, which is so much better for the environment, and so much worse for nostalgia.  Still, when I think of a the strings of lights you hand on a tree (and despite not having had anything that looks like this for years) this seems just right.  I  used this pattern, and didn’t change a thing, but for the gauge.  (The pattern called for worsted and 3.25mm needles, and I switched to fingering and 2.25mm needles to make it small enough.)  I imagine that when Lou’s old enough to really look at these, he’ll think of this the way that he will dial phones with an attached cord. If I were a better woman, I’d knit a long string of these for my tree.

Gifts for knitters, Day 19

Today’s gift for knitters, is project bags.  I know, I know, yesterday I did bags for knitters, but these are project bags, not knitting bags.  These go inside the knitting bag.  (I know. I told you we had a bag thing.)

I love these box bags from Splityarn with a passion.  There’s big ones, and smaller ones, and they squish enough to fit in my bag when I travel or go places, but they’re also tidy enough (and have a handle on the end) so that I can take it as is.  Lots of other great people make box bags too (look! Polkadots! This ones a call box! Sharknado! Hedgehogs!) Ones you can colour co-ordinate to your other stuff!)   and they’re fabulous (and they stack, like bricks so that the place your knitter is keeping projects is very tidy indeed.  (Yes, having more than one project on the go is normal, as a matter of fact, it’s a pretty good idea.) If you’re as crafty as your knitter, there’s a great tutorial on how to make a box bag here.

If your knitter isn’t that square (see what I did there?) then you can go the more traditional project bag route.  There’s a million of them, and they’re all good – there’s so many in fact that there’s no reason that you can’t co-ordinate it to fit in with your knitters other interests.  Sheep? CoffeeTardis? Do they wanna put a bird on it? Maybe chickens? Creepy stuff? The Enterprise? Crafty PiratesDaleks?  (As an aside, and this fits in with yesterday too.  If your knitter has a thing for the Doctor, maybe you wanna go nuts and pre-order this.)  If your knitter likes something, you can find a bag that goes with it. Go to Etsy, and modify this search with something your knitter likes.

60 thoughts on “Maybe you need to lower your standards

  1. My tree features a garland made of sock toes where the gauge was horribly awry, as well as a number of singleton baby booties where I ran out of yarn or couldn’t bear to repeat the pattern.

  2. I’m thinking that you should post a downloadable blank spreadsheet for others (who are not clever enough to create their own) to use. I’m thinking that it would be something useful since I keep losing my scraps of paper with “buy Lego for nephew and book for niece”. I also thought that I had more time and am just starting to knit 2 pairs of socks for my favourite niece and for my daughter.

  3. I think you have a typo. It’s luz, not lux. I took six semesters of college Spanish nearly forty years ago and it never ceases to amaze me when a word just pops up.
    Have a wonderful holiday.

  4. I HAVE to stop checking out your gift suggestions! I hope you’re getting a commission from all these places…Merry Christmas to me!

  5. So if my math is correct, that’s five (FIVE!!) projects before the 20th, not including the mitts you’re doing right now….and 3 of those are PAIRS….what could possibly go wrong with this plan??? And just sayin’…….the 20th is tomorrow! Happy Holidays Harlot with much love from Idaho, USA. 🙂

  6. I think the bulb looks a bit like a small yellow hot pepper – perhaps it could be the “pimienta navidad”? Sort of a version of the “christmas pickle”. (which is an unfortunate Pennsylvania tradition)

  7. I bought white strings of lights like that bulb just yesterday–didn’t know you could anymore, but there they were. You’ll see them occasionally around here in northern California, not on Christmas trees but on ones that can almost make it in our climate but for those rare nights when it actually does freeze: mandarin oranges, pomegranates and the like. And my new mango tree will definitely need all strings attached!

    And now I will think of Luis as we deck out our baby tree in white.

  8. Ooo, what if you knitted one or two lights a year? You could hang them as singletons until you had enough for a garland. That could be a fun tradition or annual gift for kids. And keeps it more realistic. It’s darling.

    And I love project bags. My only problem is I like sewing, too, so I always think, “I could make that.” But I usually don’t get around to it.

  9. The best way to get your guests to not notice if you vacuumed or not (and maybe dusted or not) is to have something really yummy casting an aroma when they arrive. It’s like magic, distraction and deception, but in the very best way.

  10. I think your strategy for the day is brilliant. I wish I could do the same but I have yet to start holiday things at home. Sometimes life gets in the way of life and I’m not so good at dealing with that yet. I plan on working on a New Year’s Resolution where I treat myself with more patience and see if it helps. (Also to make a spreadsheet next year and see if that helps too!)

  11. Your blog is as funny as ever. I haven’t been here in a while but am laughing as I read your post today.
    I LOVE the bulb..I may have to knit a few!
    Happy happy Merry merry

  12. Pingback: Maybe you need to lower your standards | Yarn Buyer

  13. You can do it! Like you said – at least it’s not the complete mad dash at the end now. 🙂

    I make project bags, and LOVE all your suggestions! Especially MisoCraftyKnit’s polka dot bag!!

    Have a fun tonight!

    Katie =^..^=

  14. Really, I think you should just call it quits and knit something for yourself NOW. The world won’t stop, and your family will love you just as much. (I’ll admit the mitts are awfully cute, though, and I’m about to hit Ravelry for the pattern.)

  15. Stephanie, I’m being to think that your gift to all of us this December is a blog post a day. 😉 A wish many readers have probably had for years. Loving hearing about what Lou picks each day. Happy Holidays!

  16. I have the date for my “You know you’re not thinking when Rav suggests a pattern you’ve written” as the 12th of Never, I can never see that happening in my lifetime, but at least the idea cracked me up. Furiously knitting cotton facecloths for Christmas (to go with the soap)

  17. If I was a friend or family, I’d be thrilled to receive a knitted gift from you and it wouldn’t matter if I got it a day or a week later. I know there is some “fun” in trying to get everything done by a deadline, but sometimes the pressure can squeeze a bit of the joy out of the holidays. I think a sit-down with a glass of wine is in order. I’m sure you will get it all done. Merry Christmas from a constant lurker.

    • Yes, you are right! My friend is knitting Aran sweaters for her two soon-to-be sons-in-law. With time to finish only one sweater, rather than show favouritism, she will give each of them a back, a sleeve, and a promise. I am sure they will be amused and delighted. As long as little children get their visit from Santa, everyone else can wait, content in the knowledge that they haven’t been forgotten. I vote for the glass of wine, Stephanie!

      Merry Christmas to everyone from a Time Travelling Lurker….I have spent the last few months reading the blog from the very beginning. Now working my way through the books!

  18. Thank you for the daily posts…a pleasant distraction from my to-do list : ) Good luck getting everything done and have fun with family and friends! Merry Christmas!

  19. “I was going to clean, but then I remembered I just don’t give a sh*t.”

    Haha! Yes! This pretty much sums up my attitude this year! I’ve got 3 boys all under the age of nine and I’m 33 weeks pregnant with boy #4. Even if I did clean, it will be messy again in 30 seconds. That time is much better spent knitting gifts, baking cookies and washing tiny baby things.

  20. who cares about vacuuming… I have an understood rule: anyone who criticizes my housekeeping is more than welcome to do it themselves (only one person ever did… my mother-in-law. She was babysitting my sick then 4 year old while I was at the local community college taking my finals. She decided to clean my kitchen while I was gone. At the time she ran the kitchen at the hospital and as a result was a bit OCD. I just thanked her and left it at that.)

    The holidays are about spending time with family, the cleaning stuff and cookies? Your girls can do that (I am doing mine this weekend). I have half a pair of socks (I knit the cuffs, legs, and gusset on both socks so that I can make sure the length on the feet are identical, which makes it the perfect take along project and puts an end to the dreaded second-sock-syndrosme) left to knit. I used your sock recipe and modified it for my teenage sons’ size men’s XL (US size 14) feet.

  21. Your post are inspiring for all of us who knit for Christmas. We had a family party last night and I took along a hat I,was working on. Guess what everyone wants for Christmas next year? So,I made a version of the spreadsheet and see if I can keep it up all year. Thank you for sharing that idea. I may not be pulling my hair out this coming year.

  22. You and I clearly live in different worlds. I might tackle those mittens (and they are lovely) in the middle of summer if I planned to give them to someone for Christmas. Today I actually wrapped two gifts, with help from hubby; he managed the tape and I mangled the paper around the boxes, and with a great deal of kafuffel they were placed under the tree. Neither of us are in the best of health right now so our Christmas plans are minimal this year. Your daily posts about Luis are so enjoyable. Thank you!

  23. I highly recommend reading the book “Unplug the Christmas Machine” well before the holiday. (I have no connection to the authors, publisher, or retailers.) It certainly helped me pare down, delegate, and realize what’s important. I read it so long ago that it’s past time that I read it again for reminders.

    • Thanks!! I read that years ago and loved it, but had forgotten the title!
      Happy holidays (ALL of them) to the Harlot Blogosphere)!

  24. I got the call box bag about a week ago. I love it! It has a little side pocket inside for notions. And she gives you a choice of British-themed charms to go on the zipper–I chose the teapot! It’s quite charming!

    Also, I am quite proud that I sent off my knitted gifts in the post today. I am shocked–usually I am knitting like a fiend by this time of the year and am at least a project behind. I do have one washcloth to finish, but that should be easy enough (famous last words). I love your idea of a spreadsheet–I think we’re going to institute one for next year. Happy holidays!!

  25. This is the first year that I’ve knit things as gifts. As such, I have actually knit someone something twice, when she happened to mention that she didn’t like purple, 2 weeks after I finished a purple cowl for her. I started in September and as of yesterday cast on something for the BFF, which won’t be done, was the most fun thing, and may actually be the most challenging.

    I honestly have no idea how you pour that much love out into something in such little time.

  26. Oh, gosh, the Ravelry search suggesting your own pattern as what you were looking for — seriously, you had me laughing so hard I cried. That was read-out-loud-to-the-husband-worthy.

  27. “It was always a pipe dream to have the knitting done by the 20th . . . .”

    And just what were you smoking in that pipe???? Why did you not share??????

  28. I just caught up on the last four days of your blog and you have inspired (shamed) me add more to my gift list. What else am I going to do whilst in bed with stinking cold?

  29. Your ‘gifts for knitters’ post with the bags is the one I look forward to every year.

    Mmm, knitting bags. They’re almost as good as stationery.

  30. Is Canadian Christmas a different date than States Christmas? “Cause it would take me several months to finish your knitting list, and seems it will only take you several days! You are a better woman than I !!!!
    Merry Christmas 🙂

  31. Love the tweet that you should write a book! My husband even said, hasn’t she written about 10? Even he knows!

    We have decided to read your daily blog along with our advent calendar of A Christmas Carol. Hopefully the kids won’t get them all glommed together.

  32. I remember things pattern. I hunted relentlessly at the beginning of Nov so I could make a shrug for my daughter in law with it. I don’t think I’m going to make it. They arrive on the 23rd. I have 2 parties and 3days of work. It still needs at least 2 color repeats and sleeves. On my side is that this is bulky yarn and 10.5 needles

  33. Cleaning has definitely been delayed here – in favor of finishing my baking and knitting. Usually, I just make sure there are no obvious dust bunnies, and hope no one will notice!

  34. I thought those mittens looked familiar. Turns out you blogged them on the same day you did the Gifts for Knitters project bags in 2011. They go hand in hand! (see what I did there?)
    Also, I think I know what I’m knitting on the plane to YVR now.

  35. My LED lights look just like your knitted one. More than the old ones, actually, because they have this waffly light-diffusing surface that could well be rows of knitting.

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