Ah, New Years Eve – a busy day for me always, as I tidy and clean the house, take out the garbage, catch up on laundry, try to get everything as sorted as I can. I like to end as I mean to go on, and that means that the dust bison roaming the living room have to go – lest they haunt me all year long. I do this every year, and although it has never made one whit of a difference, I persist in doing it… feeling like if things are all unsorted as I enter the year, they’ll stay unsorted for the rest. (I suppose actually, that it does work, and that the level of chaos our housekeeping has for the entire year is really the upgraded version – and that we’d be some sort of horrible episode of an embarrassing tv show otherwise. That alone is enough to keep me cleaning today.) I’ll tidy up here too, and show you a few of the things I’ve made over the last little while, things I kept on the lowdown, so as not to spoil the surprises of all parties concerned. I made my mum some slippers after all, those old fashioned ones…
I’d link to the pattern, but it’s one I’ve carried in my head for about 30 years. I think I’ve made at least 50 pairs over the years. It’s from a Paton’s booklet I had in my teens, and when my Mum slipped them I’m pretty sure it was her 10th or 15th pair. She’s been wearing the French Press ones for a few years, and in my stocking this year was all the buttons from those worn out slippers, returned to me to be recycled into new ones. Typical of my mum, a helpful and not so subtle hint. I think she might prefer those to these old fashioned ones. (Noted, Mum.)
Frankie, Myrie and Luis got Foxy and Wolfie hats – all foxes, for the lot of them. I’m charmed to death by these hats – and I think Luis and Myrie were too.
Lots of growling and fierce faces. (It turns out foxes are not as mild an animal as I imagined.) There’s no way to know if Frankie liked his. He didn’t cry when we put it on him, so I’m taking that as a win.
Carlos, Meg, Pato and Old Joe all got socks, You’ve seen all those go by as I finished them – Amanda and my brother Ian got hats…
I was especially pleased about Ian’s hat, since it turns out that his dog ate his touque Christmas Morning, so my timing was fabulous. (Thanks Seamus.) Ken got a fabulous pair of socks… I’d gotten a lovely gift of this Fade to Black yarn from CaterpillarGreen (thank you!) and as soon as I opened the packet, I knew that Ken would love them, and he does.
Besides all that knitting, I made tons of food, lots of cookies, several messes and… Well, here’s something I’m pretty proud of.
I made a knitter. Blog, meet the newest to join your ranks, my Co-Lead on the Bike Rally Steering Committee this year, Cameron. Now some time ago, Cameron rescued my knitting. I’d left it behind after a meeting we were at, and he traipsed through the night, found it, and brought it back to me. When he did, he mentioned that he’d like to learn to knit too. Now, people say that all the time, usually it’s just a reaction to how much I knit – some sort of contagion that passes quickly. With Cameron though, well – he brought it up again a few days later, and a few days after that, he said something like “we still have to choose a time to get together so you can teach me to knit” and I started to think he was serious. I tested the waters by asking him what he thought he’d like to make – and he responded with “What could I make?” I thought about it for a few minutes, and told him I was confident he could make a hat. A little one. “A hat for your nephew” I suggested. “For Christmas.” Cameron lit right up with this idea, and a few days later I met him in a pub (it’s a very good place to learn knitting) and after a pint or two, he had it. He worked on a swatch for starters, and when I had a sense of his gauge, and he had a sense of what he was doing, we ripped that bit back, and he cast on for his hat.
Cameron knit on for a little bit, and then I taught him how to fix a dropped stitch so there was a chance he could knit without me… and left him to his own devices. The next day, he dropped me a text mentioning that he was having a little trouble stopping with the knitting. This was my first clue that he might be hooked. The next day he fixed a dropped stitch by himself and sent me several pictures of the process. The text read “I’m so proud!” This was the second hint. Fast forward a week or two, and Cameron is getting ready to fly home to his family for Christmas. We meet again, and this time I’ve got in mind that he’s going to finish this hat (or not) without me, far from Toronto, with nobody to help him. I teach him how to do the colour work part of the hat (aim high!) how to k2tog, how to read his pattern, do magic loop, i-cord, and talk about how to weave in his ends. He asks, very charmingly – if he’s going to be allowed to knit on the plane. (Hint three.) That night I phone a few knitting friends and tell them about how even his stitches are. I tell him, but only briefly. I don’t want him over-confident.
The day after, he does knit on the plane. (Clue four, received) and when he lands, he has the colour work started. He texts me a picture. It’s almost annoyingly perfect. (Clue five.)
The next few days pass, leading up to Christmas, and Cameron texts a few questions about the pattern, says he thinks he’s figured out “the loop thing” and starts to sound nervous. “I’m worried about I’ll do with myself when it’s done” he sends, and something in my heart leaps. He’s starting to sound like a knitter. Not someone who’s just knitting a hat, not a one off… but an actual Knitter. I comfort him as best I can. I remind him he didn’t knit for decades, and he was somehow okay.
On Christmas Morning, the pictures arrive.
It’s a hat. It’s a beautifully finished hat, and it fits, and Cameron looks so proud, and his nephew looks so sweet (and like Cameron is making him hold still for a hat picture, which is resonant and funny, and probably the first of many incredibly awkward knitting moments – my phone is full of them) and it’s such a really, really good first project, and I text “Congratulations!” and he texts back “Thanks! I kinda want to bring it back to Toronto so you can see it and then mail it back, but I guess that would be weird.”
And that’s not weird, not to me, and probably not to you, and that’s almost when I believe I made a knitter. Almost. The deal is sealed a few days later, when out of wool, far from home, and headed for the airport, Cameron sends the following.
“I really am a bit distressed I won’t be knitting on the plane. I have a feeling that airplanes are going to be where I do a lot of this. And steering committee meetings.”
And with that text, I know two things. Cameron is a knitter now, and I totally chose the right person to go to meetings with.
So that’s what I made this year. All those hats, so many socks, several sweaters…. and a Knitter. We are legion. Happy New Year. See you in 2016.
PS: I’d be an idiot if I didn’t give you a way to show your love to Cameron, and welcome him to the fold. To that end, here’s his bike rally fundraising page, and… in case you’re pleased that I’ve brought him to us… here’s mine.
PPS: I made sure he took a lot of pictures. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll need them for his Ravelry account.