I am sure whatever you finish will be greatly appreciated. You have such a hectic schedule, it's a wonder you get all that you have done and finished on time. :^O
truly a woman after my own heart, except more organized. alas, planning of any kind - not so much. that is as good an excuse for a pot of tea, some wool and needles and (more) ignoring of household respponsibilities if i've ever heard one. so, I'm off.
You're a fast knitter. You'll make it.
I'm in denial. I have three pairs of socks to do (halfway down one sock so far), a Sophie bag, two pairs of gloves and a shawlette to get done... argh.
Hope your back is feeling better!
Well, if you don't learn a valuable lesson in knitting-time-management, maybe you'll learn not to schedule book deadlines near Christmas again?
Still, if anyone can do it, you can. Such lovely yarn!
I suppose it's a good thing you knit at the speed of light...but still...you're right. Less should certainly be more. Better luck next year.
Nothing wrong with pretty yarn ON the needles in a box with an IOU to finish before NEXT Christmas... Good Luck and Merry Merry!
What editor in her right mind gives a knitter a book deadline just before/after Christmas? I swore off Christmas knitting after my Mom's sweater was done at the end of February last year. Then this morning I found myself searching boxes for Cowl Yarn Potential. It's in the genes and there's just nothing I can do about it. At least your projects and mine are small (drumroll for disaster here, please).
Two words(won't work for you, Stephanie, but others might find them useful): bulky hats. I made the same one twice today (first time was too big) -- now that's fast. Not efficient, but fast.
Oh dear. Yes, you really will have to continue on this journey of less is more.
Here's a thought: Wrap the sock yarn for each intended recipient, put a card in with the month of the 2011 sock club month that it will be a part of. Then do them as your 2011 sock club months.
Voila! Two bird with one stone - a headstart on your sock club, and getting the knitting off your clock for Christmas.
Sounds like you're getting better at scheduling your Christmas knitting. Since our extended family Christmas won't be until the beginning of January, I was feeling smug until I realized that the hat I'm going to knit for my nephew comes after the 2 dolls I will make for my nieces, which come after I finish my sweater and my daughter's mittens. The planning sounded much better than the reality.
Maybe it's time to revive the Twelve Days of Christmas and make thos days your gifting days. It buys you time until the 5th of January at least.
I've already surrendered. I'm getting out my loom.
There will be handwoven scarves for everyone 'cause that's definitely 2d turnaround. Or less.
(Duh, I need to check my spelling before I post). That should be "those" not "thos" or "dos".
My Christmas just got a little more merry. THanks. I have earlier deadlines based on get togethers. but I also have 3 performances, and 4 jobs out of the way for this week. Wahoo!
I know I can't make it -- the end is too close and there's not enough hours in my day -- but I stubbornly keep knitting away as though I will make it. Not sure when I'll give up. Until then, I keep knitting!
Oh frick. Here I am being all, woo finals are almost over! And it's only the beginning of December, I can TOTALLY finish my Christmas knitting. 18 days, crazy optimistic self...18 days. Lovely sock yarns, as always.
Where is your knitting schedule that you get every year? Isn't it time to be requesting one of those?
What happened to all those monthly socks? Were they just for you? Can you repurpose any of them? Could someone NOT get handknit whatevers this Christmas?
Oh, never mind, that was a very silly question, I know. But really: Book deadline. Back pains (my sympathies, btw). The usual life crises. Give yourself a break and don't knit for anyone this Christmas.
Whatever happened to your Christmas-Knitting-Planner? Did she give up on you forever? :)
Ok, so everybody is going to hate me, but I have all my stuff done for this year and I'm hoping to finish up 2011 by the end of this month. However, don't hate too hard because this has been about 5-6 months of concerted effort.
After being late with every birthday and wedding gift I made this year, I managed to get ahead on the Christmas knitting. Then I decided at knit night last Thursday that I was going to make scarves or cowls for some of my work friends. I bought the super bulky yarn on Friday, and am already done with a scarf (Leaf) and a cowl (Marian). Normally, I'm not a fan of the giant yarn, giant needles, but the knitting goes so fast, it's awesome.
Good luck with Christmas! Most important thing: stay sane enough that you still love the people you're knitting for.
Yep, I've been having that problem, too. I started making stuff in January, so I thought I was doing really well. Started a baby quilt in June for a baby due next month, and got it 90% of the way done. Then I started a Christmas gift quilt, and looking at the number of blocks I need to make and the days remaining...how do we do this crazy math in our heads and think it will work out? I think fiber warps reality. Or maybe it's just a mind-altering substance.
I've stopped looking on Ebay simply because it has a countdown on the front page. I don't want to know how many days there are left. I'm into my second week lost due to snow and I'd like to apply for an extension to the run up to Christmas.
The good thing is that I don't have any Christmas knitting, if it's not done by June then what I'm knitting is for the following year.
I'm much more in tune with the in-progress socks' colorway (I like vibrant colors!) than with brown tones, most of the time. But, man, that Brownie colorway sure looks yummy!
I think it's totally reasonable! At least in comparison to your previous years :)
i gave up knitting presents for others a few years ago. the time constraint got to me, and some of the people i knitted for didn't appreciate my work. made my life much easier. i know that's not your case, but it's what helped me.
you are the uber knitter. you'll get it done. :)
Okay, back spasms didn't do it. I'll try to see what I can do about getting you hit by a truck. Nothing fatal -- just enough to put you in traction.
Just consider it my gift to you.
Time for a little "Eye of the Tiger."
It actually worked for me this year. I have one pair of socks to finish and I'm done. And then I only have to go to one store and by two frames. And I'm done. Completely. Sorry. I'm not really trying to rub it in.
You know, I started my Christmas knitting in January this year, too. Although, truth be told, I think I actually might have started on, like, December 27th of last year, and I felt all smug and sure of myself that I'd knit all year long and chuck things into this huge bamboo bowl I have sitting on top of the furniture holding my linens. I even discussed this throughout the year at my LYS and everyone would stare at me like I was some kind of guru and I'd walk away feeling all puffed up. And, to my horror, I'm already figuring out which relatives are going to get a lovely, personalized little gift card instead.
Although I think it wasn't so bad. Truth is, my bowl is totally full. It's just a couple of big projects and a few very small ones. And I HAVE been knitting for gifts all year long, but I haven't been saving them. Three pairs of socks already on their new owners' feet, scarves, hats, mittens, purses... I guess the real secret is to knit for the bowl and then actually chuck the stuff into the bowl rather than squealing with delight and presenting each finished thing to the recipients as soon as I finish them.
Hmm... Well, I feel a bit better about myself now. It WAS a good idea. Next year, I'll actually hoard, and hopefully I can say it really worked out. ^_~
Every year around this time something comes up and I think - I should knit them this for Christmas. This year, we have given my daughter cross country ski equipment (early, but she's using it) and I thought "I should knit her some socks." Hmmmmmmmmm
I barely make it under the wire each year by christmas eve, and this year,kids and grandkids are coming NEXT MONDAY to stay with us for 1 week, so I need to have christmas ready to roll TWO WEEKS EARLY! Things are about to get very interesting around here....
Ugh. I had a baby 9 days ago. Somehow I thought I could get all the Christmas stuff done before she arrived. I didn't. And 18 days doesn't seem like even barely enough time to BUY all the Christmas gifts, let alone MAKE some of them, which was the plan. I'm with you.
I cast on a scarf today, knitted four rows, and abandoned it. Need a less time-consuming pattern. Not killing myself.
Good luck with that less is more thing and let me know how it works out for you. i've never gotten there myself.
I love that you show a couple of skeins of yarn and can actually say, "These are socks." Because I look at my skeins of unknitted yarn and think the same thing.
I have been knitting holiday presents since May. I even bought an air conditioner so I could knit alpaca shawls through the dog days of summer. I have two more gifts to go, then I can start knitting for myself again.
Aaah. I'm glad to see someone else is in this boat. I thought I'd just make a few simple things and give everyone (except my neices) the same thing. 18 days to go, and I still have 6 dishtowels to weave, a dozen jars of jam to can, and at least 2 doll outfits to knit. Good thing my family is getting used to rain checks. ;)
My family and I quit doing Christmas over thirty years ago--just quit--and we've never been happier. Now when other people are racing around spending too much money and slaving over huge family dinners, we just smile and enjoy our time off. Just a thought.
My husband and I go old school. The holiday season is celebrated right up through 12th night, which means presents aren't late until around January 7th.
Hear, hear. My family's Christmas is coming early this year (the 19th) and I still need to knit 2/3 of a scarf, 3/4 of a doll, and a beanie. Yikes. I'm definitely having a "no reserves Christmas."
Why don't you give skeins of yarn as gifts and then hold a group knitting lesson? "Give a man a fish..." etc.
I had to quit before I began. Major surgery followed by major auto injury followed by the slowest recuperation I've EVER experienced (and which included a doctor-ordered ban on knitting) have all added up to absolutely no knitwear for anyone this Christmas. Well, I did get to knit one baby blanket for Charity...
Cut yourself a break! You have a back injury, a book deadline, and a family who needs your sanity more than they need your knitting.
Buy them a sweater, or socks, or an interesting book, or a Chia Pet. Go online and do it if necessary (I recommend this approach). Then relax, drink tea, and write your book.
Contrary to what many of us put ourselves through each year, just because you CAN knit it does not mean that you MUST knit it!
Good luck with all that, dude. I'm still slogging away on my mother-in-laws annual shawl, but it's boring, and I keep starting non-Christmas gifts instead.
Hope you are feeling better.
I say wrap and gift the skeins and patterns as a "promise gift", and you've got yourself a start on a self-imposed sock club for next year. Finish the hope-socks and the hat and call it a gift list.
How perfectly said: "I feel like I'm going into this Christmas with no reserves. I don't know how I'll get through it". I've been feeling that way since Thanksgiving (in the US) but couldn't really explain it to others. This says it perfectly!
And thank you for making me feel so much better about MY knitting schedule! I don't know whether I'll make it or not, but now I'll be thinking "At least I don't have as much as to make as the Yarn Harlot!" And knowing that you will most likely make it, maybe that will help speed me along.
Thanks for the inspiration!
Don't feel bad. Here it is the seventh night of Chanukkah and I finally put the holiday tablecloth on. Maybe The Husband will even make some latkes before the holiday is over(maybe, I'm not counting on it). The boys are both living out of town and won't be here until New Year's (English New Year, as we say around here). That gives me almost another month to knit for them. I like that Twelve Days of Christmas suggestion. You "could" give them all a copy of your latest book since that is what has kept you from knitting (that or a cosy for a hot water bottle. Quick to knit and relates to your back pain).
I got to cross one person off my Christmas knit list when she said "knitting is stupid". I'll never make her (my stepmother) another thing. Her son is already off the list for a similar sentiment. :-) Let them keep running their mouths and I'll be knitting only for myself really soon. LOL
To me, the holidays are times to gather with your friends and family, to enjoy each other (and good food!). It should not matter that perhaps gifts will not be exchanged. My family and I enjoy the holidays with a minimum of decorating and we exchange no gifts. We give to each other throughout the year, whether it be a ticket home, or extra help when needed, or the giving of a handmade item. That way, we feel gratified throughout the year and do not participate in the Great Holiday Rush!
Happy Holidays :-)
Well, I thought I was smokin' right along on schedule until you pointed out "18 days." I hadn't actually counted days yet and it's looking like I should have. Apparently I'm quite behind schedule now. At least I realized it today rather than, say, on the 23rd.
I'm knitting gifts for a holiday party... I have 11 days. Theoretically there was going to be a single knitted item (mostly toys, which are big on finishing work) for each person: 9 people once I stop counting myself and my husband.
Yeah, I'm going to keep trying, but expect that I will be baking batches of cookies instead.
All the kids (4 of them) want socks. I have 1 pair completely done, 1 pair has 1 done and I'm almost to the heel on the second one. 1 pair has 1 done (they're for the son-in-law with size 11 feet). and I have yet to start the 4th pair. I actually took a calendar and plotted out my knitting for the next 2 weeks. There are 2 weekends in there, surly I can get them done!
I keep say Less is More but have yet to put it into practice. I'm scared to death that I won't get done what I want to get done for Christmas...it really shouldn't be that way should it?
Just look at what is alread in the Long Range Planning Box and be proud...it is more than last year! And what a great idea too...I'll have to work on implementing one of those soon.
I'm older & a bit wiser after decades of knitting. After racing to finish knitting gifts & therefore missing out on the pleasure of knitting, I NO LONGER KNIT for any gift giving occasion---period. Instead knitted gifts are received by family & friends spontaneously throughout the year--on my schedule. Homemade gifts are now food. Things like homemade vanilla extract nothing to do but remember to get it going at least 6 months ahead of time & let it do its thing--in the dark & out of sight.
Could you enlist the help of house elves? You know the other knitters under your roof that are capable of magic with sticks. Or at least sub off the holiday baking to them?
Careful now or you'll hurt your back again with all that laughing.
I don't suppose it would work for you, but I've started wondering if I could get away with giving yarn, needles, pattern, and a promise of personal knitting lessons instead of actual finished objects this year. Seems way too simple though. There must be a catch in there somewhere...
I suddenly realized..I have no knitting schedule at all, ever. Things get done when they get done, and I would say 95% of my knitting is given away. My family has adapted.
All of the below is YMMV - it may be useful or not, but it may be useful to someone so I'm leaving my thoughts for you. :->
One suggestion to help cut back on gift-giving so that it isn't (as) overwhelming, is to make a list of all the people you want to give a gift to, then go through it and ask yourself "will this person be hurt if they don't get a gift from me?" (Generally, you end up with the children, and those relatives who are All About Reciprocating Gifts.) Then you go through who's left and ask "will this person be disappointed, but basically OK if they don't get a gift from me?" These are the people that you get to them if you can, but if you don't - no one will be screaming and crying and leaving guilt trips on your voicemail. Everyone who is left over, you can give yourself permission to not worry about.
Thinking of the people in terms of who *doesn't* need a gift from you can help you let go of the need to give them gifts. Because yes, we give gifts to people because we hope it will make them happy. But would you want to receive a gift that makes you happy, but that made the giver unhappy and stressed about (making it on time and) giving it to you? (Yes, I know - it's hard to apply rules to ourselves that we can easily apply to others.)
But a change in perspective might be useful, to think about who you can not give a gift to this year. This year we cancelled gift-giving, and are only doing stockings, because we just moved and spent a lot of money on furniture (replacing all the hand-me-downs and garage sale items) and thinking about what to buy and how to afford and how to find time to make gifts was making me want to skip the holidays and move on to January. But paring it down to just stockings has helped everyone. (Also, there is nothing like packing up everything you own and moving it to make you realise you already own too much crap.)
Um. Anyhow. Your friends and family will still love you and value you and think of you as a wonderful person even if you give no gifts at all.
I click the agree button under Rams' comment. :) You are nuts, but it makes for great reading.
I'm getting married on January 8th... I didn't think it would effect Christmas, but it is... the holidays aren't really happening this year... I have another shawl to knit and some blocking and sewing to get down so that my bridesmaids don't freeze...
We don't celebrate Christmas, and I've never wished that we did. All the hype, all the hope, all the fears of disappointment...not for me.
Pour yourself a drink (tea or something stronger), do only what you can, and tell your family and friends that you love them. Everything else is commentary.
I thought I was so smart this year and didn't plan on knitting for anyone for Christmas. Then I decided to make a Fish Hat from Knitty for my uncle. I knit it up in 3 days but have yet to sew in the ends. Still smug (my undoing), I decided that I had to thank a Rav friend for her wonderful support this year by making her a shawl. She lives oversees. Even assuming that I manage to finish it within the next two weeks (questionable given how little knitting time I have), there is no way it will make its way to her before Christmas. Fail!
My family decided to draw names this year, which means I have to come up with a fairly major gift for one person. I have a project in mind, I have chosen the yarn (from stash), and I am feeling fairly good about that.
My husband's sister's family doesn't do the name-drawing thing, which means that I need to either shop or knit for six people. Plus my husband. And my daughter, although my husband will probably get her a bunch of stuff. And I really should make the socks I promised my dad two years ago. I think it was only two.
Did you say 18 days? I am in such trouble, even though I'm not on a book deadline.
(That Everlasting Sock is gorgeous yarn. Going on a yarn diet is exactly like going on a food diet.)
I have a book deadline right before Christmas, too.
Rams, is there room for me to stand next to Steph as the truck comes by?
Other than to repeat the suggestions of using bulky/chunky yarns rather than the fine (yet lovely) sock yarns, all I can say is this: are you a Harlot or not? Do true Harlots kill themselves trying to be perfect, or do they say "to heck with this" and revel in the joie de vivre? Besides, you can always blame it on your career (bookbookbook).
Don't know why Christmas has to be the way it is. How did it get so out of control? I especially don't like the family expectations, that on this day, somehow everything is ok as compared to the rest of the year. Sigh. Gonna do some yoga and breathe.
My Christmas knitting list consists of one cowl. And it's for me. My stress levels are lower, but my blog is lacking all those pretty pictures of yarn :)
I thought the self-imposed Sock Club was working towards Christmas. Count that in and you're up 12 presents! (Well, maybe 11, I'm not too sure where you're up to at this point).
Also, give yourself a break! Bad back + book deadline + 3 kids + house stuff = free pass to buy presents...
OK, it's a little late for you, but just in case the reincarnation thing turns out to be correct, file this under "Maybe Next Time": Choose family that does not appreciate or expect handknitted gifts. Or at least never get started on giving them such items on a regular basis!
Hope you are feeling better!
My question has been, Do we do this craziness to ourselves or is it really imposed by others? My guess is 85% ours 15% others. My family expects nothing from one another as far as gifts go except for a phone call on our birthdays. We are always pleasantly surprised by presents. While I always enjoy watching from afar, your last sprint to the Christmas Eve finish line, keep a little reserved for yourself. Call it a little glass of Christmas Cheer.
This year everyone is "getting" gifts from Heifer International. I just can't face shopping, ordering, shipping etc.
I think that my time would be best spent finishing objects, instead I read blogs (yours of course) for inspiration, I tweet and I find the company of like minded folk.
Of course from the 20th December on I shall be selling my soul to the devil, knitting 36 hours a day, and cursing the time I have spent not knitting.
But for now ... great blog, nice plans ... I'm in there too!
At first I thought you meant you'd been knitting the gifts since January, when apparently what you meant was you'd been picking out yarn since January. You made a pair of socks every month; why didn't you just pick three of those months to make gift socks? I often bite off more than I can chew too, but then I just readjust my expectations and it turns out just fine.
You have my sympathies on the knitting front. Something I have done in the past is put a small sample of the yarn in a Christmas card and written "I.O.U. one pair of socks" (or whatever)and given it to the intended recipient. It buys me a little time and, hopefully, gives them something to look forward to. And don't forget 12th Night gifts. That buys some time as well.
Hmm, that sounds like you don't have my sympathies on the sore back front (which sounds funny) and you most definitely do. Been there myself a couple of times and it's no fun.
Your kids are (mostly) adults now - for the larger family gathering, perhaps next year the family could draw names and just buy one gift for another adult. (Hank and other youngsters could receive a single gift from each family unit.) Simpler, less expensive, and with a year's warning, folks would have time to get used to the new idea. (For this year.... good luck finishing everything!)
you know what might be fun? just kidding.
if anyone can pull this off, you can.
why de-stress now?
Another wedding knitter here; when my daughter announced her engagement this spring, my head exploded with Estonian lace. So it's been tiny knitting for me, all year. I think a truthful look at the situation is the beginning of wisdom; Christmas knitting is not going to happen for me this year because of a sprained wrist and other Life Surprises. I'm sure your family cherishes the love, skill, and beauty in your gifts, but making crazy is not making celebration. Knit what you can, Stephanie: but do simple too. Laugh when you're happy, hug the ones you love, and if by chance you are sad for a time remember that it is trying NOT to cry that makes your face swell up.
Stephanie - a reminder. No, several. FIRST, one of the major contributors to back pain is stress. This is not just my imagination speaking here. SECOND, the Eleventh Commandment is NOT " Thou Shalt Knit All Thy Christmas Presents" and Third, I would be thrilled to death if you stopped knitting those socks you promised me and gave me an envelope (with a pretty bow stuck on) containing an IOU for a copy of the forthcoming book for whenever it is published. - a signed copy would be nice! Thank you.
P.S. I will not be in the least offended if you choose to give this same gift to a dozen or so other people on your list.
Book recommendation for next summer: How to Unplug the Christmas Machine. Thought for right now: if you gave each of your intended recipients a choice, would they rather have socks in 18 days, or for you to have a little less stress right now? (and if they'd choose the socks, they don't deserve 'em!)
Haven't you been making a sock of the month all year? Maybe some of those could be "gifts" and you can repurpose some of those planned "Christmas Socks" for other people into Stephanie socks to make after Christmas???
I once many years ago worked like crazy making gift for everyone I knew, and maybe didn't know, for Christmas.
When all said and done I left myself out, ended up with a migraine headache,in bed for Christmas.
Then I made a vow, that would never again happen to me or my family. I do birthdays instead.
You know it really works
If you ever get this holiday deal de-stressed, you could sell the process and quit your day job.
I started making presents (knitted and fused glass) November 20, and I knew I couldn't make an early deadline of next Friday, the 10th. Those friends are going to have a charity donation in their names (I've knitted each of them things in the past and will in the future, just not this year), to really give others the spirit of the season. Wow. 18 days. Yes, I'll have a late night or two. I expect I'll be in good knitting company around the world.
Less stress = less pain. For your back, for the arthritis in my hands and tendonitis in my elbow. KarenJ is right about this.
I understand your frustration.I used to exhaust myself so much I was inevitably filled with pneumonia by Christmas. I still manage to knit a few things, and I still bake my thirty year old son's birthday cookies, but I now keep firmly in my sites my true holiday goals. Have you written the check to the food bank? Have you donated a sheep or a goat in someone's name? Perhaps some seeds or a drum carder? (How do you know that someone you love hasn't always wanted a sheep, but without the responsibility? Even a virtual sheep requires some care, you know.)My family has come to treasure these gifts on Christmas as a healthy mother cooks dinner and passes the home made cocoa.
You know, I remember several years back when you did that cookie decorating thing with the snow and the friends and the neighbours. That was what Christmas really is about.
This year, were not worry about presents. Just food and friends and wine and conversation and baking and of course our family. I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday.
You could always try promissory notes for January. That may put you behind for Christmas 2011, but perhaps there'll be enough time over the next 12 months to catch up for that.
Yeah...I keep telling myself that Christmas is nearly upon us and then I just can't seem to get motivated to DO anything about it. I love my family dearly but getting motivated to knit them anything or to even go out and buy things...not really happening.
I'm finishing a pair of socks for my mum. And I knit 6 shawls, 1 hat, 2 washcloths, and a scarf for ladies at my old job (gave them to them on my last day about 3 weeks ago). I need to do a dog sweater for my canine nephew.
18 days...won't we all be relieved when it's over? Is that sad?
You are a ruthless optimist. But at least you're a ruthless optimist with a plan. This year was testing the waters of doing things a bit at a time. Next year, you'll do even better ;-)
There is never enough time. I'm sweating the Christmas gift scarf (which is 90% done) and the baby doll blanket (not yet started). I suspect your personal sock-a-month club may be evolving next year into a personal/Christmas gift sock-a-month club.
I'm quite certain that the calendar fairy came and stole away the extra days before Christmas. This evil fairy mostly contents herself with a moment here and 10 minutes there but in these days before Christmas, she steals whole entire days. This is the only reason I can think of that when I looked at the calendar a few days ago, it looked like I had loads of time, and now I have way less than I thought. I think this fairy is related to the one that takes the occasional sock from the laundry.
For me, every Christmas used to be like yours--until by Christmas day I was too exhausted and burned out to enjoy the actual day. My kids are grown now, which helps, but what also helps is that I quit giving gifts to anyone but children and hubby. Sounds cold, but most people are relieved to have the gift giving burden lifted. I give gifts during the year when the mood strikes or the occasion fits. At Christmas I kick back and enjoy the music, the few cookies I bake and whatever family shows up. Much better. YMMV.
As an online college instructor, I have some sympathy. I have decided that vanilla socks, only 1 more pair, and a hat are all that will get done between now and Christmas, and that will depend on everything going right. I have also cut out pictures of the way I want things to look, and they may just get pictures. I want to sleep, not be sick and get my grades turned in on time. May you find some good pictures to cut out, too!
You just HAD to tell me how many days were left! I've still got a sweater and a half to knit! (Kid sized at least, but still...) Not to mention biscotti to bake and homeschooling to do! Can I get off easy this year because I'm pregnant????
I'm right there with you. I'm calming myself with the idea that such resolutions should be graded in terms of progress, not perfection achieved.
I do love your optimism. Did you hear any voices in your head when you were agreeing to the book deadline? Perhaps they were saying, "Nooooooo" or something like that? Don't ignore those voices. They are trying to help you.
I am D.O.N.E., girlfriend. I'm already back to selfish knitting. Tomorrow my semester ends. I have to finish rewriting a paper, then all I have to do is whip out the decorations before my book group meets here on the 15th. Okay, maybe clean. Um, yeah, I was going to make some ornaments.
So: rewrite, decorate, host book group, make book group gift for the exchange, clean, make decorations.
Yeah. That's all.
If I were to get a present from someone that caused them stress or anguish I would so much rather not have the present.
I wish you peace of mind, not overachieving.
Presents are not about proving anything or giving until you bleed.
I knit presents for thirty-odd folks every year. The good news is that they all love getting handmade things. The better news is that there's no way I can talk myself into a "I'll get started on that right after Thanksgiving" plan, because even I am not crazy enough to believe that could work. All I'm doing now is a re-knit on a bulky hat that didn't come out as I'd hoped, and a couple pairs of fingerless mitss in worsted-weight handspun.
If you declare the first really hot day of the year the official start of the holiday knitting season, it does wonders for both productivity and sanity, lol.
Thank you for reminding me, I go to get on the "knitting ball" and knit those presents!
I hope I can finish a blanket, hat, socks and shawl by then....
whaddya mean, 18 DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS??!? yikes! what am i doing sitting here reading your blog, stephanie?
Would it really be Christmas without the last second panic knitting? Or the gifts wrapped on the needles?
I thought not.
Sometimes I think you are seriously bananapants. I got a pass from the family the past two Xmesses precisely because I was writing a book. Even this year, when I didn't actually have to write anything! I know it's in your head to knit a whack of stuff, but you really CAN give yourself a break.
I thought maybe the purpose of the self-imposed sock club was to get you out of binds like this - no?
"I feel like I'm going into this Christmas with no reserves." This is exactly how I feel every year. I'm not a fast enough knitter to even contemplate the idea of last minute knitting gifts....so good luck to you! Merry Christmas!!
Saw your new book on Amazon today. They don't have an available date yet. Can't wait.Hope you're feeling better.
Remember all those monthly sock kits you knit? Look at them. Half full glass time. Perhaps some of the people left to knit for could get fingerless mitts or hats.
You need chunky yarn & big needles!! Cowls & hats - much faster!
I think there are lots of places where they celebrate Christmas on Jan. 6th. Just sayin'
Personally I think you'll mow through a few measly pairs of socks and a hat or two with days to spare for cooking and decorating and the odd bout of tidying.
Me? I gave up Christmas presents years ago. But I'm knitting a few grumpy lumps of coal this Christmas, because they're just so darned cute.
Sock coupons! Or promissory notes or whatever you'd like to call them. Christmas is already cheery enough, your recipients probably don't need an extra bit of cozy beyond knowing that you're thinking of them, but late January (or where you and I live, mid-March) THAT'S when you need a new pair of pretty knit socks to make it through. You're not slacking off, you're dispensing gifts at the psychological moment of greatest effect!
I am in whole hearted agreement this year. I am knitting nothing for family yet I am busier than ever with requests that should have been said no to but couldn't because they were requested from people you can't say no to. I am already tired and I need every minute of the next 18 days to make all my deadlines.
I've started giving knit gifts randomly to friends and family as the mood strikes me. I knit what I like, for no intended recipient, and when it's done, it tells me who it belongs to. I aim to get around to everyone in my life time.
It works for me.
Stephanie, I hear you. I feel you. I had a massive meltdown the other day, decided to cut everything short (moving far away from home makes things more difficult and far more stressful) and head to the beach! A good dose of "screwitall" (well, in my case it was more colorful language, but you get the idea) helps everything.
OK I know this is very bad to write on a blog like this, but seriously? I have relatives who knit and I really don't understand why they have to give me something they've made themselves every single year. I would MUCH rather they spend that time visiting with me or just relaxing. My honest impression is that it is very important to THEM to knit for me, it doesn't feel like it's actually about me -- I'd be just as happy with a book, or a donation, or NOTHING -- also, getting something from them means I have to find something to give them back, and because I know it's going to be something handmade I feel extra-obligated to sew them something or find them something super nice...it becomes this vicious circle. Please, consider officially skipping a year. I officially only sew or knit for people's birthdays, babies, and random moments -- December is busy enough with concerts and parties and so on to spend time on making gifts too!
OK end of rant. Apparently that one has been building for a while.
I just succumbed to your well-documented bit of delusion... that magical thinking that says it's okay to add 4 new knitted gifts to your list on December 6.
I, too, face three pair of sock futures and another knitted object (an easy scarf instead of a hat, but same gist)...
And I've got a trade show after Christmas that requires me to knit one more full sweater in the same month that contains the above.
Sigh. I like Susan's idea above - perhaps next year I will only knit things for birthdays, to spread things out a bit.
Every year I admire the sheer volume of knitted gifts you turn out for Christmas. I did more this year than ever before but still nowhere near as many as you. Thankfully, you are knitting things that you have been known to crank out at breathtaking speed...go with the wind! (And I sympathize with the stressed feeling - I've been feeling stressed about Christmas since October. Should be fun!)
I wish my family appreciated knitted gifts. The grass is always greener... right?
This year I'm knitting more to get through the season. My dear father died the day after Christmas last year and I'm having trouble getting into the spirit. My mother died 38 years ago during the holiday season. Knitting is helping me. I knit and give gifts telling the people if they don't like them (or they don't fit because of my aversion to swatching!) just pass it on to someone who needs it or wants it. The thing about giving knitted gifts is that the process is what I crave. I only give knitted gifts to people who appreciate the fact that I am giving them a gift in which every stitch is full of the love I feel for them. If they pass it on, the love is still there for them to feel. It is helping me get through the season.
`O. ¸¸. ✲. ¸. o´¯`¸. o´¯`❄¸ (░) `O. ¸¸. ¸.✲´¯`o. ¸ (░) `O. ¸❄。`O. ¸¸.
¸. o´¯`❄。 ¨¯`*✲.... ¸. o´¯`o. ¸ (░) `O. ¸¸. ¸. o´¯`❄. ¸ (░)
´*。✲´*。.❄¨¯`*✲。 ❄ Keep It Goin'!**SPLAT**The Start of Snowball Fight
2010 and you'd better start splatting peoples before they splat
...............you. One Rule, you can't splat someone who has already hit
Go look in your box and get it organized NOW. Or CRAZY will take on a whole new meaning!
Gotta run. Have to bind off 300+ stitches on a shawl, then finish a hat or two! ;-D
Isn't if funny? It must be universal that we all think - let's cut back. Let's try to slow down etc etc.
Yet here I am at Best Buy today so distracted by the salesman's jewelery - like he deals in gold and not photo printers - that I forgot to buy anything and left feeling even more anxious about the remaining days. Knitting? I can't even find the frickin' knitting bag(s).
So you have knit 11 pairs of socks and are still 3 1/4ish pairs short? That seems nuts. But, I'm right with you. I can do it and so can you!
I have to finish 1/2 a scarf, one sock, two hats, and a pair of gloves for a 6'5" son who has giant hands. I tried to get him to accept hand warmers, but that was a no-go. He wants fingers, really long ones. sigh........
Oh man.....and a baby sweater, but the back is finished.
Most people on my list have enough stuff; only 2 pairs of socks and one sweater (2/3 done - just sleeves left) and everyone else is getting mentioned in a donation to Heifer.org if they are fiber related and Doctors without Borders if they are not.
Next year it could be an giftie item a month, instead of sock of the month. Surely you don't give more than 12 hand knitted items each year?
1. Are these gifts from you personally, or from your family? If they're from the family, then the girls can make up a couple of gifts apiece. You've raised wonderful kids. They can help.
2. If they're from you personally, your friends will feel just as loved if you give them the yarn and an IOU. Really they will.
3. If one of your friends was in this position, what would you tell her? or him. Would you really say to get crackin' and finish that knitting? Didn't think so. Take it easy, woman!
If self imposed pressure was a cooker, turkey dinner would take an hour from frozen to perfectly done.
Remember all those great felted slippers you made last year? You know, with that great pattern that you inspired me to purchase? I bet the ones that would have gotten socks or a hat, even if they got slippers last year, would love more slippers this year. Fast! Easy!
Is this where you make your list of things to do (knitting) and have your friend (I want to say Linda, but I don't think that is quite right) make a timeline for you to follow? Good luck, but most importantly enjoy doing it. You don't need more pressure. (Maybe it is one of the Rachels)
Gift cards! Make your own gift cards. It will only take a little while because they can be the same but change the name of the giftee. Then state that you will make whatever they want in the colors they want. And, that it will be ready during the year. Take the pressure off. Give yourself a break. And, maybe promise yourself to start earlier next year. Heh! Best wishes!!!
Believe it or not but I think you actually do have less things planned than other years (judging by what you've posted on your blog).
What about all of the socks from your self imposed sock club? Can you turn any of those into Christmas presents and call it a day?
I hear you.
Just started knitting a sweater for my son for Christmas, as I knit one for my daughter last Christmas.
One problem.... He is 6'3" and I'm a very slow knitter.
Yes I should be knitting now but I just knit 6" of the back and my wrists need a break.
Oh yes, forgot to say I'm using 3 3/4 mm needles.
Repeat after me "I work well under pressure. I work well under pressure."
Ouch That is a lovely bunch of yarn to be knit up BEFORE Christmas. Good luck with less is more .
You need to switch to Three Kings Day, Ephipany is on Jan 6, giving you 12 more days to knit. And you are right, Christmas should not need to be a campaign you need to have reserves for. Stretch it out, you will enjoy it more and be less stressed about the whole thing. Also, could the stress of sitting most of the day at the eye doctor's office have created the back spasms? I got them a couple of times when my kids were new babies. Really tough to pick up 12 pounds when I couldn't bend over to pick up anything.
Well, to quote my mom, "all you can do is all you can do." It doesn't sound very deep, but it has helped me a few times when I'd think about plunging into crazy lake. I got married to my husband this year (we had one of those "heathen unions", as it were), and not like it really made a lot of changes, but suddenly I feel like we have 4,012 people to get presents for, at bare minimum. All those neices and nephews, in-laws and parents, friends and coworkers. Am I doing something about this? Um...no. My husband is in school, I work part-time with my 3 year old son, I'm pregnant (and crazazy with hormones) and I can't seem to handle the remote possiblity of Christmas stress. So I am holding all these people in my heart and wishing them well for Christmas. It's either that or ingesting enough coffee for 18 days to turn my hair blonde and curly. :)
Gah! I swear I hit the "post" button only once. Oops, sorry. :(
What do you mean - Christmas is 18 days away?
Whatever happened to "it's still months away"?
Or "next month"?
And here I sit, reading through each and every one of your comments. Sheesh! Procrastination thy name is Janey.
Happy holidays to you Stephanie. And to all your readers.
Thanks alot,Steph. If someone had asked me, I would have sworn it was still 3 weeks till Christmas.
On another note.....I notice that you use dpn's on socks and hats....no circulars. Which dpn's are you using? What makes you not use circs?
Egad woman! You shouldn't be writing this! Knit! knit! No time for back spasms! Oh what the heck. Remember the 12 days of Christmas? That gives you until midnight on 6 January. Embrace it, at least for this season. Or make it a month-long winter solstice celebration. It'll still be winter, and the hats and socks will still be appreciated. :)
Dude. You could barely *move* just a day or two ago. For that reason alone -- never mind your crazy schedule and your book deadline and all the rest of it -- you deserve a free pass this year. Rest, dear Harlot. :-)
Harlot you've inspired me all year. This past summer I followed your lead and started a project of the month. A few took longer, a few took less time, but as a result my "must be finished" knitting is (and some of it is out the door already), and I'm now in what I've started calling the "bonus projects". I have faith you. Of course, this may sound confident, serene, and maybe a little bit of bragging. However, I'm so used to the frantic last minute sleepless nights of frantic knitting that even with 18 days to go I'm FREAKING out because I may have, just maybe forgotten something or someone important ...
My Christmas wish for you is lightning quick fingers, caffeine & or liquor on demand as needed, and little helpers to pitch in where needed so that you knitting proceeds unimpeded.
I hope your back is feeling better. A combination of yoga, massage, and physical therapy kept me out of back surgery. I've had a crazy autumn and so my approach to Christmas is to do only the things that I want to do. This means fewer gifts and only two pairs of handknit socks to gift to two dear family members who will appreciate them. I'm writing personal notes to people who will enjoy receiving them (dumping the mass mailing of either "the letter" or cards with signature only) and not decorating which I've never enjoyed. Raise your right hand and take "The I will not be crazy this Christmas" Pledge!
i just want to weep.. the fatigue is SO immense and the list/expectations are SO endless. yet it is still SO far to go to the finish line...
it used to be so much fun.
when someone else was in charge.
I wish you really, really good luck with this. I have described my own holiday preparedness situation as "stretch out and bend over".
18 days? Really?
Haven't done any shopping, let alone knitting...
I've only recently gotten back to serious knitting, so I wasn't pressuring myself to knit gifts this year. Just a scarf for my boss (the Malabrigo insisted on coming home with me, and it was in her colors) - which just needs blocking and seaming at the center. And then yesterday I decided, 'well, if I'm doing something for Amy, I should do something for Jane and Greg too'. So last night I cast on a basic basketweave scarf and today I cast on a lacy cowl. Oh, did I mention I want these to be done by our staff luncheon on the 13th? Yeah, I clearly have a fabulous grasp of reality. And unlike you, dear Harlot, I do not knit like the wind. There may be UFOs with IOU tags on Monday.
Good luck to you on your list, and happy holidays to you and yours! (and sympathies on the back - hope you don't get a stress-induced flare-up)
what about your self-imposed sock club? 12 gifts right there, no?
I'm with ya sister. I have a sweat to finish (sleeves, make up, collar), a pair of socks, mittens, a throw, a hyppogriff, and a pair of slippers...
Know what you mean! The holidays seem to get busier every year in spite of my intention to make them more simple. Hope you're feeling better!
Many of us will keep trying too. My daughter is 3 months married and one month pregnant and the socks I knit her husband (6'5")
in Cascade Heritage red and black; bleed and bleed and bleed. I was supposed to feel really great now-after six pair of hand knit socks for my children and their partners - but I don't and I'm angry. How can "superwash sock yarn ($18) bleed like this?
Let it all go! Your family and friends would rather have YOU -- rested and engaged -- than socks, hats and you exhausted. Trust me on this.
Have a glass of wine.....you will feel more relaxed and think that you still have lots of time! Merry Christmas!
Maybe in January you could do a self imposed christmas knit club?
I do the less is more. Very stress free. Only gift I knit or buy is for the 5 yr old niece. No one else gets gifts and I dont get gifts.
I cook for my entire family. Prime rib roast (super easy and delish) with steamed veggies & home made bread. I buy a pie and cake from the bakery. We spend time chatting while the roast cooks for a few hours. I love it. Wished we had done it years ago when I was younger.
Good thing you're a much faster knitter than I am. I'm just going to slog along and hope for the best!
I recommend leaving the country. I flew to the other side of the world, and absolutely nobody is expecting Christmas presents from me. And on the plus side, they have yarn made of possums here - it's very soft.
My dining room table is piled, and I mean PILED, with projects in various stages of being - all yelling at me to work on them, not that other one! I think I need that hour by hour organizational scheduler that you had a few years ago - and lots of hot tea. By the end of this weekend, if the pile still exists, it will at least be organized and I will have a plan. Now I have witnesses! (Help me...)
Same here, with the addition of a wedding anniversary in OMG TWO days!
Well. I've been so busy the past five days diagnosing why my Mac is misbehaving so terribly that I've completely ignored everything else, including Xmas knitting, TV, eating, the cats, even *gasp* FarmVille. What's the date? The 8th? Crud. Oh, well. Next year, maybe?
Back to Apple Fixit 101...
Many years ago I decided that Xmas presents would be donations to charitable organisations and tangible presents would only be given if I had time.
Oh...good luck Steph. I broke my ankle sledging with the kids and I'm still not sure, even with two weeks of enforced bed rest, that I'm going to finish. We all do it to ourselves, don't we?
Now go pull out the pile of finished objects. Notice how much BIGGER that is. I started my Kissmoose knitting in June and had it half done by August. I didn't add to the holiday knitting until November, and I still have a pair and a half of socks to knit. This much I know I can do.
I do appreciate the simpler holiday however - I can't bear the gross commercialism or the culturally manufactured Guilt if I don't fit the advertised norms. This is the second year my loved ones are all getting hand made- and very little else.
Boy do I hear ya sister!!! I had great intentions with my Christmas knitting and started out doing pretty well. Money being tight and all, I thought I would knit most of my gifts and give presents that were a little extra special and save on my cash reserves. Then I started having eye problems that made it really hard and very painful to look down, focus and really do much of anything. So, to treat the eye problems, I was put on a medication that makes me feel like I have the flu for a day and a half every week. Feeling nauseous is not conducive to knitting. Yuck! I also sunk myself by knitting a shawl for a present and not realizing that the knitted on border takes longer to knit than the body of the shawl. I guess I shouldn't have picked something that I haven't done before LOL! At least it looks nice. So like you, next year I'm going to try and knit, weave, and handcraft my presents starting in January. I'll let you know how that works out LOL! Hope your back is still on the mend.
Oh, what women do to themselves! My mother was always completely burned out on December 24th. She apologized for everything that wasn't up to her own standards. (We never thought anything was wrong or missing until she told us) At least in Holland we do the gift part seperately from Christmas. We don't have Santa here but 'Sinterklaas'. This is almost the same guy, except for the Bisshop's hat, stick and cape and he comes from Spain instead of the North pole. This saint, from a distant past, gives his knitted items on his birthday, December the 5th. So after that you can take a deep breath and start thinking about Christmas baking and dinner.
I've been feeling quite relaxed about Christmas, partly because I knew you weren't into the frantic knitting stage yet.
I think I'd better think about getting my act together. Just a bit. You know, maybe buy some cards or something.
OMGoodness. 18 days? And I just spent the last 3 hours playing with my blog and putzing around Ravelry?
Ooer that's cutting it fine, I'm guessing no sleeping would fit into this plan?!
I'm only knitting two gifts this year and I still started them a bit late and am in a panic about whether or not they'll be finished, I useless with deadlines though!
I still have part of a sleeve to finish on a sweater before I can join it to the body and other sleeve and finish up in the round, and 3 pairs of socks to go. I'm in an office (no knitting allowed--I tried!) for 8 hours a day. I can't decide if I should try to finish the sweater and forget about the socks, or do the socks and forget about the sweater, or if I have a chance of finishing anything at all....
Yes, but you are down to 2 and a half pair of socks and a hat, which has been started. Look at where you usually are this time of year. I say you have done very well and, rather than punish yourself for not being all done, you should congratulate yourself on being so much farther ahead of the game than ever before.
I'm a new knitter and started my mother's shawl back in October, on Columbus Day or Native American Day as we call it in South Dakota. I figured I would have to knit an inch a day to get it finished and mailed off in a timely manner. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy, right? After all, who can't knit an inch a day?
Me apparently. I'm pretty close, close enough that if I put forth some serious effort I can do it. I'm kinda wishing I had truly slacked off on it so it would be impossible to finish and I would be forced to punt to something else.
But what about the Socks-a-Month that seemed to work fabulously and has inspired me to do a variation with my wip? Weren't those 12 pair for Christmas gifts?
I've always thought the gift-giving should be postponed until March! I don't knit for my sisters anymore, and the grands all said in late Nov. that they want hats and slippers. Only late!
Glad I'm not the only one nervously knitting away in the wee hours thinking "I'm not gonna make it," But carrying on regardless.
I'm glad your back is feeling a bit better.
I say, "felted clogs for everyone!"...wasn't it this time last year you were felting the French Press Slippers by hand? Look how far you've come :-)
Ahhhh, Steph, I know where you are. I'm right there beside you. The last 4 months of this year have been a nightmare. I've spent most of my time trying to assist my son and his family after a bad car accident which just left no time for Christmas planning. And I had some surgeries scheduled for November just to make things more complicated. Life is just beginning to return to normal and, as you said, it's 18 days to Christmas -- well 17 now. There's no way the knitted gifts will be ready; but even if my family doesn't understand why, they'll just have to deal with it. I've decided to do what I can and pass along IOUs to the other folk. :)
You're doing better than I am. I LOST three WIPs. I understand losing a stitch marker, or even a size 0 dp, but three entire started projects is insane. What did I do with them? Can we frog the month of November and have a do-over? Why don't men panic when the holidays approach? Is it okay to skip the eggnog and just chug the brandy?
Everyone has her Christmas traditions. One of mine is reading your annual Christmas meltdown countdown.
And I mean that in the most Christian way: if I knitted better and liked more people, I'd be elbowing you out of the way as Rams's truck came barrelling down the road.
Oh Steph I feel your pain.......and your panic!! Eighteen days isn't long at all - I've to finish knitting the cloak for a wizard doll, and his shoes, a pair of mittens for my mother, a hat for my husband, and a pile of stuff to do for the charity thing my knitting group are doing. Okay, that's only making lengths of knitting in to scarves - tasselling, etc etc, but it all takes time I just don't seem to have just now.
However, your Long Term Planning box is a splendiferous idea, and one which I shall be taking in to the new year with me in the hope that at this time next year I won't be quite so crazed as I am at the moment!!!
Good luck, Steph - and keep us posted if you get a moment to blog x
My dad used to say, regarding change, "At first it gets different, and THEN it gets better." Another acquaintance would say "Better is the enemy of done." My sister says that "happiness is an attitude, not an activity."
I say giving feels good, but not so's that it hurts(compromises, burdens, makes vunerable....) the giver.
It's Christmas. Happiness, light, companionship, community, love. "Tis the season to be jolly, Fa La La la La la La La La!" (a la Babe the pig).
Best wishes to you, Harlot, and thank you for bringing us a year of rip snorting words to make each of our days more merry.
At least you have a plan, sometimes that's a good part of the battle. I only have a few vague ideas, so it's good thatI don't knit (yet). I just need to figure out the details - who gets what, and where/when to get the what's. Aiyyeee!!!
I'm still spinning yarn for some of my Christmas gifts. Fortunately am doing smaller things this year - mostly hats & fingerless mitts - from my own sheeples' fleeces, for our veterinarians, who have been there through thick & thin for us this year. More a token than anything, but the gifts will come from the specific beasties they've cared for. The beloved family ingrates will get checks because I haven't figured out how to knit an iPad or Kindle yet.
You've made great headway this year in the "futures box" and personally - to save the stress I would take each skein of yarn, put it in a very pretty gift bag with a promisory note attached. Done. Then, work on your deadline and eat fewer cookies (as in less baking). Of course - with fewer cookies, you are then allowed to drink more beer. I mean - it IS Christmas, right?
You can always do what my mother always did...wrap up a skein of yarn...with a note about what it will be.
I just flipped back up through the comments.
I take it all back - too much advice, so I'm here (again) to say that I hope your back is better, your fridge is full of beer, the local bakery is full of good cookies, and that you survive with as few tear and headaches as possible!
Bless you, deary!
I love the color way of the socks with the "hope born in them", can you share what it is?
Do you recomend a yarn winder and swift that you really like?
Thanks so much for your blog, i love reading it and hope you are feeling much better!
I also wish you much speed in your holiday projects!
I can be fairly certain that the recipients of those planned gifts would rather know that you didn't make yourself miserable with back pain in the process of knitting those gifts. They would most likely be happier to have you in fine health and spirits. Just a thought .....
Trying is good!
I think that as women, we always want to do more for everyone we love...if we concentrate on how nice it is to make things for people rather than on how many we didn't finish, things might be better :)
I can't really talk though, since I'm going crazy trying to knit scarves for my three aunts, grandma and niece, a sweater for my husband, gloves for my sister and a beret for my mom!
You Can Do It!
If it makes you feel better, I have a men's hat, a felted bag, a lace cowl, and a pair of socks that is working with the universe(and my yarn killing cat)to be the bane of my existence! I'm determined to complete this in 18 days. DETERMINED!
I dunno - I still remember when you were doing the fair isle mittens at the last minute, and you made two of the same hand, and had to start another.
This is much much better! :D Happy Holidays Stephanie!
I actually created an elaborate spreadsheet to keep track of the knitting of a sweater for my mom for Christmas, because I wasn't sure I could make it in time. It's very nifty and recalculates - based on how much I've done so far - how many hours per day I will need to knit to finish the knitting by Dec 20th (12/20 to 12/25 is reserved for sewing up). When I first started, I was at a reasonable 1.5 hours per day. Today I am at a very demoralizing 3 hours per day. Apparently my knitting speed slows down significantly when knitting cables. And of course, the spreadsheet doesn't take into account all the ripping out and restarting. sigh. On the upside, I can tell you approximately how many stitches (139226) and exactly how many rows (1495) are required to knit this sweater. Great.
I finally sorted pressies for my two half sisters, I barely know these girls yet every year we all buy each other pressies.. I stress about these ones most of all. This year I went to Oxfam unwrapped and ordered them each a charitable gift... they''' either love them or ask not to swap pressies next year.. I know what you mean about everyone talking about Christmas like it is a marathon... btw not heard lists of Christmas Knitting yet... are you that far ahead in the game?
Never fear - you're NORMAL. No one ever wins this organizational war. Had little packages ready to mail, lists for shopping made, embroidery done. Got a cold, sinus infection and bronchitis. Little packages are still sitting, shopping lists have curled up and died, embroidery is not wrapped, refrigerator is bare and pet food bins are rattling for lack of kibble. All is normal - laugh in the face of terror - HA!
I hate to be the voice of reason - especially since I have 3 slippers to knit, and 2 before the 17th - but maybe it's time to reassess. What about the self-imposed sock club? maybe there is a pair that you could give up to gain some sanity? do you like a pair enough to not sleep or do anything else for 2 days?
And another option is to not give someone a knitted gift. I'm just sayin'. Would your family rather have handknit socks or a Mum that is fun to be around? After all, the kids are growing and soon they won't be there to talk to during the holidays, having moved on to new places or with other people. Talk to them now, knit socks for them later.
(and this was not written to sound sanctimonious, or suggest that you don't talk to them while you're knitting... I hope you know what I intend in leaving this comment.... it is said with kindness and suggestion (unaskedfor) not judgement or censure).
Has Rachel started your calendar yet?
On the brightside- this is so much less knitting than you've had to have done in years past...
Good lord. I read the last two paragraphs, stopped, thought that you had to be mistaken, looked at the calendar, did some math, and.... uh oh.
Wait a sec? What's in The Long Range Planning Box™? And you know, crazy as this sounds, you don't always have to give hand knit items. You could just get some lovely thing at the store (and knit those socks/ hat for a future birthday? Just suggestions in case you want to keep your sanity.
Good Luck with that Stephanie!
I decided to stop knitting holiday gifts a few years ago because I just don't enjoy knitting on a deadline. Especially since I am prone to make stupid mistakes (like not reading ALL the directions before I start) I make many more in deadline knitting because I am in a rush and stressed. This is not to imply that I don't give my knitting as gifts, I most certainly do but I will work on a project and make the gift unexpectedly rather than on a holiday or birthday imposed schedule. My only exception to this rule is prayer shawls for people recovering from an illness or loss. This has soooooooo much increased my enjoyment of the holidays!
I think your knitting list is restrained - but starting in December might be the issue. :)
You've had a rough month so far, so be easy on yourself - and move the deadline till the end of the year. I'm certain everyone will understand.
I'm not doing Christmas knitting, but I do have a baby sweater in progress (since fall 2009) that needs about 3 or 4 more inches and sleeves... baby is due the 27th. It may or may not get finished, depends on if I work on it or non, lol.
I also have a nearly finished felted sheep tote that would make a cute diaper bag if I finish it up too. (It was started in 2004 and got packed away fall of 2007. Just got it back from storage.)
I love the saying: "The best gift I can give my family is a happy, non-stressed wife and mother."
So over the years I've deleted or simplified all the preparations for Christmas that don't bring me joy (except a few that give DH and my kids lots of joy). So baking has gone, card-writing has gone, decorations are minimal.
Knitting gifts has changed too, as my kids have married and started having children, there are too many of us to do a hand-knit gift for everyone every year. It's so much more fun to knit for children!!! Now I do just a few handknit gifts for the adults, and rotate who gets them. I have to admit -- turns come up more frequently for those who really treasure hand-knits and the love that's in each stitch, vs. those who really don't care!
I'm also very happy to give knitting as a Work-in-Progress. Then I can make them fit, get color and style opinions, etc. And there's lots of time right after Christmas to knit while we sit and visit.
Not to mention shipping time, here. Good luck!
As fast as you knit you'll get them done. Plus knit a pair for me. I wear a size 8.
::runs and hides::
Only 18 days until Christmas - oh, 17 now - I am surprised!!!! (just how is it possible that I am surprised? I don't know but I am!).
Stephanie! I know, just make up a new Christmas, you can't be a slave to a calendar, maybe call it the Knitter's Christmas, for sometime in January when there's SFA going on. I'll sign that petition. Let's do yoga for your poor wee back. Miss you....
I wish you the best of luck and I hope you're feeling better. Strength to your fingers!
Gee, thanks for the reminder. ;) I am in the same boat as you with several, albeit fairly small projects to get made. But I do also have a new LO arriving any day now (literally, I'm due the 12th) and a 19-month old to wrangle at home. Here's to positive thinking.
I think you are underestimating the recipients of your gifts. From your descriptions, your family and friends sound like a swell bunch, kind and understanding. They would not want you to be distressed over providing gifts for them.
Consider giving yarn as gifts with the promise of hand-knit items to be made from it. The recipient gets to open and enjoy a present 'on time' and gets to enjoy the anticipation, the luxury of customizing the item, and seeing the transformation.
You can give items still on the needles, so they can see and feel what is coming. After ooohing and aaahing they can hand it back and you can continue knitting, to their delight.
You don't have stress yourself out about completing gifts and your friends don't ever have to feel their gift caused you distress.
I've been reading your blog for quite a few Christmas's now, and I have to say, this plan you're laying out today, even with the bad back and book-deadline, is far and away the most realistic I've heard yet. Best of luck!
Make that left-wing, KNITTING kooks. That new mayor sounds like a real piece of work. Sheesh.
So a cowrker and I were workign over the crafting and deadlines by Christmas... then he brought up how his grandmother quilts and every one wants one. So instead of trying to please everyone... she makes one quilt for the holidays... The recipient is determined by raffle. Brilliant I Say kudos to her. He said because she gets to make what she wants and everyone gets a chance at having one. The distribution has worked well since no favorites are played...
Okay, I didn't post when I read yesterday because I worried that my reaction might seem, umm, a bit off, but here goes:
This was the best post of the season so far -- now I know that Christmas really is coming and it's time to get moving on it. It just didn't feel right yet, there had been something missing and I'd even begun to realize what it was -- and it was THIS!
How did you expect me to get through the season without this? The monthly sock club successes were lovely to look at, but they started the anxiety. How will I know when to start panicking, I wondered, if the YH is all caught up and not panicking about Christmas?
But now? All is well in the world. I admit though, I want to see a schedule too, those are always such fun to read. It's like all the books I read on decluttering and organizing. Total fiction to me, but still enjoyable.
Thank you so, for finally getting the holiday season on its way.
New Rules: Knit for no one; make no promises. Make finishing open-ended, always. Knit for sanity and joy. Knit to learn. Knit for the experience of making something warm (and to hold wool in your hands). Give FO's away often and randomly. Give warm wooly FOs to those who are cold. Give shares in Heifer Intnl. to family members in lieu of material objects, it doesn't hurt to be reminded to share.
Why does time seem to wind up and go faster the closer we get to Christmas? Didn't I just clean up after Thanksgiving dinner yesterday? and now it's only 17 days till christmas? Where was I when this happened????
I have three scarves and a cupcake hat to finish for presents and I had a grand idea to finish 10 hats for Hats for the Homeless this season ... but oops, I forgot about the fact that I was working two jobs and going to grad school full time. I had a Christmas knitting nightmare last night! So my new attack plan is as follows: Stage 1: donate the 4 hats I finished and work on hats all year long for next year. Stage 2: finish the two scarves that I need by next week, STAT. Stage 3: The third scarf and the cupcake hat will be worked on as soon as school goes into winter holidays on Dec. 21. At least I have a lot of holiday movies I can watch as I knit around the clock on Christmas Eve!
I have 6 and 1/4 gifts left. Two are double knitted fair isle hats. That's divides into.
Yeah, I really don't want to know.
Oh, I am *so* with you. I have at least triaged the list (since I don't think I can knit 5 pairs of socks in 18 days, this is good), and some things will be technically just *gifts* and not Christmas gifts.
But since I've knit two sweaters (for kids, I hasten to add) in the last two and a half weeks, the list is starting to look slightly more reasonable....
Take the holiday season off. I know it sounds radical, but you need to be able to enjoy the holiday too. Sometimes it is good to take a vacation from knitting. It helps to clear the mind and you will be inspired when you go back to it. Right now, you have had a tough time with your health. Will you really enjoy all the high pressure at the last minute? That is a challenge when you're in fighting form. But this year you are not. Why don't you make this the Christmas that Auntie Steph DIDN'T knit? Give the kids music, the adults books, make a plate or two of cookies, drink some eggnog, and just relax. Go to bed at a good hour, without the stress of impending deadlines. Besides, it might make your family appreciate the knitting you do for them in the future, when they recall:
THE CHRISTMAS THAT AUNTIE STEPH DID NOT KNIT!!!
They will appreciate you in future years. Be kind to yourself.
You could do what I do - "Give and Get" presents. I "give" you the yarn and pattern (so you can see) and then I "get" all of it right back to make your present! Everyone gets a kick out of it - and I don't feel so stressed.
Think smaller projects. How 'bout fingerless mitts with worsted/bulky weight yarn??
Ok, here's hoping this doesn't sound smug and discouraging ... but this is definitely one time of year that I appreciate being Jewish!! No Christmas worries. On the other hand, we get hit hard at Passover -- forget knitted items and presents, it's all about destroying your kitchen and reconstituting it in time to cook at least 4 festive meals in advance of the first 2 days for anything up to 20 guests (some people have more), and then when you've recovered from that, doing it all again for the second half of the festival 5 days later ... and then after that restoring your kitchen to the way it was in the first place. Hmmmm, perhaps Christmas is the softer option.
Heifer International (HI) is an organization that claims to work against world hunger by donating animals to families in developing countries. Its catalog deceptively portrays beautiful children holding cute animals in seemingly humane circumstances. The marketing brochure for HI does not show the animals being transported, their living and slaughter conditions, or the erosion, pollution and water use caused by the introduction of these animals and their offspring.
By definition, animals raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. The animals shipped to developing countries are often subject to; water and food shortages, cruel procedures without painkillers, lack of veterinary care resulting in extended suffering as a result of illness or injury.
A large percentage of the families receiving animals from HI are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot ensure adequate living conditions, nutrition, and medical care for animals they have been given. HI provides some initial veterinary training to individuals and the initial vaccines. But, long term care for these animals and their offspring is up to the individuals.
To make matters worse, animal agriculture causes much more harm to the environment than plant-based agriculture. The fragile land in many of the regions HI is sending the animals cannot support animal agriculture. Although they say they encourage cut and carry feeding of the animals to avoid erosion, the reality is often quite different.
The consumption of animal products has been shown in reputable studies to contribute significantly to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a variety of cancers. Regions that have adopted a diet with more animal products see an increase in these diseases. The remote communities supposedly served by HI have no way of dealing with the health consequences of joining the high-cholesterol world.
While it may seem humane and sustainable to provide just one or two dairy cows here or there, the long term consequences are an increased desire for animal products in local cultures leading to an increase in production. These communities may be able to absorb the additional water use of one or two cows, what happens when there are hundreds or thousands of dairy cows, each consuming 27 to 50 gallons of fresh water and producing tons of excrement? The heavy cost to animals, the environment and local economies is not figured into HI's business practices.
Steph, I don't know you personally and how much joy and satisfaction you might be getting out of all this Christmas knitting mayhem despite all the deadlines and stress (your sense of humour may in fact save you), but how about - dare I say it - Books - for Christmas? Then you can spread out your gift knitting during the year for birthdays and such. Everyone will still get a knitted Harlot gift. Just not all at once! (psst! shipping is free over $25 at a certain website.)
I was reading away, feeling all smug and stuff that I'm well underway and skimming comments and then OMG I forgot about my dad who I drew in the family gift exchange and I'm so in trouble...
Thanks for the heads up anyway.
I agree that this year is the no-gifts-knitted-in-December year. If time and finances are such that purchases won't work, well, write something for each (poem, ditty, pick a quote that reminds you of the person) and add a few cookies.
If you can't bear it, then the idea of gifting someone a socks-of-the-month for 2011 is a good one.
take care of yourself!
Four words: chunky yarn and hats. Four more words: Go easier on yourself. Multiplicity of words: Water-bottle/travel mug cozies and a card with a list of reasons you love them. Bottle cozy optional
I have found myself wondering lately: Have I told my mom and dad lately how thankful I am that my life was filled with books and dogs? sometimes, words are not weak; they're necessary.
Here is a typical thing - the gap between CAN and MUST. You knit all year, enjoying the sock of the month challenge, then come down with a shocking back problem and you don't lower your expectations of yourself? Nothing bad will happen if you let yourself off the hook a bit. If you wreck yourself now, how does that help anyone? Like so many others have said, take care of YOU. Love is unconditional, right?
HAHAHAHA!! (Pointing finger and laughing.) Yeah, I bet you still have wrapping and decorating and shopping and cooking and tidying still to... oh, crap. I gotta go.
Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. Thanks!
You can cross me off your Christmas list this year. Hope this helps. :-)
Print the pictures above, put it in a card and write on the back that 'this yarn is a Beautiful _______ (insert hat/ socks etc here) when I have the chance to sanely knit them for you, I love you too much to have me be an insane witch for the three weeks before Christmas, love you Steph!' problem solved, knit at leisure! Love Lisa (mad Aussie at sock summit for reference)
Hm... Perhaps your back injury is (in part) the universe trying to FORCE you to come up with a new way to think about Christmas... as in: you have to let go of all your expectations of what you are usually able to get done and instead really sit with the idea of what the holiday's all about APART from presents. Maybe? I don't know... I broke my arm in the fall a few years ago and had to rethink TOTALLY what I thought about productivity and my worth vis-a-vis my work life (arguably the most important component from which I draw my sense of self). It was enlightening. And hard!
You know, it's like your talking about me.
I'm considering taking potholders and hot gluing them together in the shape of a sweater.
(this seems very funny to me at the time of writing)
My husband asked me this evening as I am trying ( once again unsuccessfully to clear out my corner) just how many projects i actually have on the needles. i actually sat down and counted and OMG, i am in so much trouble. I have 11 on the needles, eight of which have to be done in those now 17 days. most of them gloves or hats and one hasn't even been started yet so actually 9. And i thought I would make it this year. will have to see how that works out. good luck to you to and don't forget to stretch out those arms and let the blood flow back into them on occasion.
Susan (at 7:30pm). I agree with you 100%. When they are gone, it's the time they didn't spend with us that we'll miss, rather than the knitwear.
As I do each year, I overestimate my time (especially so this year as this is my first Christmas season back to work full time since before my son was born nearly 4 years ago). I have had to prioritize gifts. Some are must-do's as they are for people that I cannot NOT give a gift to and the others....well. They are just little extras that I was planning on doing just as a nicety in the spirit of giving. I'm hoping I can still pull it all off (even though the list has grown recently because that is what I do).
I think Renee's idea was a great one....a ball of sock yarn and a note with the month you are going to knit it.
But I know you won't do it.
You are as tenacious and...may I say it?... pigheaded a woman as I have ever seen. (And coming from a former Marine, that's saying something). Happy maniac knitting, Stephanie, and very glad you are feeling better!
OK, if you cannot churn out the stuff you need for Christmas, I am hopelessly lost and will have to move to plan B.
Maybe I can hang on to the 'Hats for everyone' idea for next year and start in January (cough cough, like that's going to happen).
Remember my holiday mantra: no one knows what you planned that fell through but you. just go on and don't apologize.
Hi, totally off topic - I was supposed to be paying bills on line, when I decided to google the name of a particular knitter from a Dickens novel. On the 1st page of the search return I found a funny blog entry from 2006. Have you ever read it - purse lip square jaw - there was an entertaining entry about knitting_and_public_politics. Interesting!
If it makes you feel any better, my family is doing Christmas on Sunday... 3 days from now.
I'm starting to think it's punishment for spending Christmas with my in-laws in Alberta. :P
Susan at 7:58: The best gifts I've ever received from my daughter were notes telling me she loved me and how what I do affects her. I have probably forgotten most of the gifts I've received in my life - but not those. And I still have them all!
Have you ever thought of an antique sock knitting machine for when you have to churn out socks? There is still enough hand manipulation to count as hand knit. Check on youtube for socks being knit. The Le Gare is the Cadillac of sock machines and is from Canada.
I can completely identify with your daunting pile of projects. I have a pair of mittens, a hat, two pairs of socks and a sweater to finish this month. But you know, it's partly my fault for deciding to knit a sweater a month this year. I really don't have to do that and similarly, you don't have to complete the self-imposed sock of the month commitment (unless of course those socks are a gift). As for the rest of it...I would only say that most non-knitters aren't all that impressed with knitting anyway. So you might be able to replace a few of those items with gift cards or "store bought" goodies. Your family and friends love you, not your knitting! Feel better.
This is one of the few times when having a majority of family members to whom handknit means "homemade--ewww" actually works for me. I'm finished my sil's cabled beret, and just turned the heel on the second sock of my mom's pair knit in
her alma mater's colors. Those will be done by the weekend and then all I have left to knit is a Burberry style cowl in an alpaca blend to go with my sil's beret. I may just actually get this stuff done and NOT be knitting in the back of the church during Midnight Mass...for a change...
RE: your back, I'm in the same boat. (Three cheers for a nursing profession!) I've found a great back wrap belt at the drug store. It looks like the one manual labors sometimes wear. Inside there's a pocket home to a removable gel pack that can be heated or frozen. When I'm at that I-sneeze-and-my-whole-pelvis-shudders stage, I corset up and alternate heat and cold and life is much better.
Hope you're feeling better!
Why can't we just have a calm, quiet Christmas. For me this would be some charitable knitting, 1 tree, writing 10 cards, giving my sons and parents simple gifts that show that I have paid attention to their needs and wants, Christmas Eve church, simple dinner on Christmas day with immediate family and some time to knit and visit with loved ones in the warmth of my little home. (No excessive cleaning, baking or decorating.) Come to think of it, I may just start this right now.
All I can say is that if I had to knit 3 and 1/2 pair of socks and a hat between now and the 25th in the morning, along with the concerts etc. that are going on(and let's not forget the opera on Saturday-41/2 hours), I might as well sell my bed because it wouldn't be being used. Actually, the whole thing is impossible. Change over to fingerless mittens. They knit up faster than socks, faster than a house on fire and they are very trendy. I just finished a lovely angora/nylon/wool pair for my granddaughter.
This post made me laugh out loud as it is true, true, true. Somehow we get to a week or two before gifts are needed and still say to ourselves we have time to knit/crochet hats, scarves, socks, mittens, etc. Even though there is stuff already made throughout the year--it is never enough (and we keep getting distracted by new and interesting projects or special occasions that pop up and require prezzies). Curse or blessing? We never change, though.
I just finished the Risers Cowl pattern in Misty Alpaca found at Ravelry. It's by Mary Lou Egan who works at The Yarnery in St. Paul, MN. It's not quite as long as Stephanie's but it's lovely and cozy. So if you can't wait, try this one. It works up in no time!
If you can't wait for Stephanie's pattern, I just finished making 2 of the Risers Cowl in Misty Alpaca on Ravelry. It's designed by Mary Lou Egan who works at The Yarnery in St. Paul, MN. It's 48" long and maybe not quite as long as Stephanie's, but it's lovely, warm and cozy. May even try to make another before the holidays.