And now for something completely different

Have I ever told you about the Bike Rally Blues? They’re just what it sounds like. After months of lead-up and all the work, and then a really intense week, you’re suddenly left with just your real life – and in a lot of cases, the mess it’s in after you dropped it to go ride your bike for a week. (I know a lot of Rally folks who’re weeping into an overly full inbox as I type this, and I might be one of them.) I’ve spent the days since I got home sleeping, working, working, working, working, and sailing with Joe – and any family we can get on the boat. (I’ve also eaten just about any food that gets in my way. I’ve been so hungry the cat would be in danger were I not a vegetarian.)

One thing I haven’t been doing a lot of is knitting. Some every day, for sure, but like last year, my hands were a little sore by the end of the ride, and so I’ve just been knitting enough to stay out of prison. Today though, today is the day that all that changes. My hands feel better, I’m itching for a knit-o-rama, and I have a plan. Today I’m going through the stash, taking a look at what I have, and then… wait for it, I’m going to consult THE CHRISTMAS SPREADSHEET.Β  I’m planning a month long investment in getting December under control. It’s a bold plan, and one I’ve been thinking about for a while. It’s probably going to result in a lot of socks, at least until I can get the spreadsheet to jibe with my Ravelry queue, and invite a few scarves into my heart.Β  I’m also going to go shopping this month for a few things – buy a few gifts, and see if I can lighten my December load, and spread the holiday budget around a bit. Every year I swear I’m going to act early to make the holidays more relaxed, and this year I’m going to make it happen.

It’s Christmas in August. Who’s with me?

190 thoughts on “And now for something completely different

  1. Excellent idea, Stephanie! I’m completely with you on this. Let’s start early so we can enjoy December!

  2. Yay for Christmas in August (actually your August is more what our Christmas is like here in Australia, sans the Cricket). I am right there with you, although inspired by the Christmas spreadsheet I’m working away on KNEE LENGTH black socks with white bands at the top ( just watch the All Blacks doing a haka on youtube some time for the full idea) by mid November. Fifteen rounds a day…. must be love πŸ™‚

    • I did a 6+ ft scarf for my very tall son as an off-to-college gift. 1×1 rib forever and ever. And fibonacci stripes, so I couldn’t even be totally mindless. I, too, had to commit to a certain number of rows each night, no matter how painful, to get it done. I feel your pain.

      And the middle daughter is off to college in 2 weeks, so maybe after she’s gone I can think about Christmas… But I think it’s a great idea. No scarves, though. I’m scarred.

      • Whoa that is love big time, I hope he appreciates you. I would never knit a scarf again. My mum knit a red gansey for my brother who is 6 ft 3 and he never wore it, not even once. I do though, Big Red has been worn at least once a week every winter since 1987 and I love him… Scarily the arms are the right length on me (I have to add 10 cm to each arm on every sweater I knit. Just a bit closer to our simian ancestors than most people).

  3. Started a sweater for a gift last month and I’m making good progress. I would be even more progress if I stopped making major mistakes! But I’m in!

  4. Have seriously trimmed my gift-giving list in the last couple years, relieves huge amounts of holiday stress. A minimalist Christmas is a relaxed (although slightly less fun) Christmas.

  5. Every year I vow to start shopping/knitting/sewing/etc. for Christmas so that my December isn’t totally insane. But now I realize that it’s just too friggin’ hot and I lack the fortitude to even think about it. BUT, since the Olympics are starting I know I’ll get some items knit in the next two weeks.

  6. That is an excellent idea! And as soon as I finish knitting June’s birthday present and August’s baby present I’ll get right on that. Which probably means that I’m right on track for (a) consulting last-minute gift ideas in extra-chunky yarn in early December; (b) panic.

  7. This sounds like a plan. . .but it’s already gone awry. You have a new son-in-law for whom to knit. (You also apparently have a new dog-in-law or granddog for whom to knit.)

    Also, the cat WAS glad you’re a vegetarian — until you doused her with ketchup. Guess who plans to REALLY interfere with your knitting??

  8. A glorious plan if I ever heard one! I was thinking of a similar plan…which has been interrupted slightly by the need for some preemie caps for a friend, but I have plans!

  9. December 15, 2014 blog post tells all about Stephanie’s wonderful Christmas spreadsheet of joy if you want to know what she puts in it. Added bonus: that’s the year Luis got his Advent calendar and she blogged every day of December including “what Luis hung today” and “gift suggestions for those who love a knitter”.

    Go wallow, I am.

  10. I am so totally there. I decided that this year, I am going to get enough Christmas presents done early, that I can actually knit something for myself in the fall. You know, without panicking. I made a list in January, but now I’m buckling down.

  11. Sorry, if I can tell my mother every year, I’ll think about Christmas AFTER Thanksgiving, I can type that to you, too.

    But, please tell us, how is Erin doing? Please know we all send her our love and support.

  12. So with you here! Went to a craft show today, got three lovely pottery pieces, for three Christmas gifts. Boom. Now I can relax and knit on some Christmas socks.

  13. I am totally with you on this. I went to Scotland a few weeks ago and started my xmas list with tartan scarves from Scotland. So I have a head start on xmas knitting because if you are getting a Scotland scarf, then I don’t have to knit for you. Yay!

  14. I love the Christmas Spreadsheet time! I look forward to you doing this every year. If Christmas were tomorrow, I’d be ready. I’m getting Christmas cards together now. I refuse to overload from Halloween through The New Year. But that’s just me. Summertime and the living is easy.

  15. I usually try to start my Christmas shopping in January. I also try to get my Christmas shopping done by November 1 as I hate crowds!

  16. I finished my first Christmas present a few weeks ago and I do have a list. But sadly my list is things I’d like to make, and may or may not have people they’re appropriate to give to.

    Go Stephanie! Here’s to a smooth holiday season!

  17. Count me in! I like to start early in January, picking up things here and there, especially stocking stuffers. I started gift knitting in April. I like to relax, bake and enjoy December.

  18. Except for a sister KAL and my birthday cast-on, the month of August is all about WIP control–most of which are shawls and socks that shall become gifts. So, count me in on Team Giftmas-Sanity.

    Though, we did have a miracle birth in the family–my very first and likely my only second cousin–and though, baby and Mama live in SoCal, I had a knitterly spasm and am trying to get the blankie out the door first. And maybe booties and cap…okay, and I swear all my friends or having babies all at once. Thank goodness booties are fast and adorable!
    Babies need woolly love armor, yes? πŸ™‚

    Enjoy yourself Harlot and the very best to your sister!

  19. Not to gloat or anything, but this kind of thing makes me so glad that we don’t celebrate Christmas and I don’t have a family that requires Chanukkah gifts.
    (This year, the first night is Dec 25.)
    More power to all of you. May all your projects turn out well.
    Now, where’s that glass of wine…

    • Completely agree! I love to watch the Christmas insanity of my friends, light some candles, say some blessings, give a few small things to the children, and shake my head in confusion over the craziness that is the American Christmas.

  20. Christmas? Christmas? Who’s worrying about Christmas? Why the year is only just started. I’ve got months and months yet. I don’t have to worry about Christmas until at least July … oh, wait.

  21. It must be something in the air right now. I don’t do Christmas, but I have planned a few gifts for friends this fall and winter, and last week I said to myself, “August is Knitting For Friends month!” I organized patterns, made up kits with the yarn and needles, and today finished a scarf, cast on two hats and swatched for a third. I’m with ye, lassie!

    • I’ll open the wine so it can breathe. I’ll be near the chocolate shop tomorrow morning so I’ll get that too.

      I’m planning slippers for the family. I should probably cast on soon since the family keeps growing. I need more hands.

  22. Yes! I’m totally with you on this endeavor! I’ve got a chunky yarn simple waffle scarf on the needles right now because I always seem to pick the quick knits first. It must be the positive reinforcement.

  23. You strike terror in me with your Christmas Excell Spreadsheet. My tomatoes are just reddening. I need to make a pair of toe up socks for DH and maybe some fingerless gloves. Not sure if anyone else is getting something handmade. My sister and I are going on a knitting walking retreat for her birthday. Does that count? I just got the reservation in the High Sierras. Think hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail. We had a blast last year.

    • It’s going to be even better this year! Of course, we need to figure out which big knitting project we will start in the Sierras. I don’t know if I will do both 4 mile hikes on the PCT or finish the knitting project, but we will have a blast!

  24. [hand in air] I started my husband’s Christmas sock on Monday. It will be the only knitted gift I make, but it will probably take me from now until then to get it finished.

    Those blues…yesterday I finished a big writing project and have been mourning it all day today. Good thing I have another one with an even hotter deadline waiting in the wings!

  25. I’m with you – I usually start between June and August with the knitted gifts and the online shopping. This way, I can enjoy the Season and even the shopping, which is lovely when there’s no pressure to buy anything!!

  26. Funny – I just started the first of four Christmas stockings. The ones I was going to finish in 2008 for my brother’s family . . one per month = four by November, right??

  27. I just finished knitting the presents for the two little people whose birthdays are in August. Christmas is not even on my horizon yet… but I do need to have some suitable anti-stress knitting on the needles while we’re moving house. Hmm….

  28. My new son-in-law was trying to brainstorm last month over how to knit my new single ounce of pure qiviut yarn bought at a farm we toured in his hometown to line a hat with so it would be warm enough for Alaska. If only… Christmas!… And yet–laceweight? I’m not seeing it. But for him, I definitely would.

    Knit like a bike rally! Go Stephanie go!

  29. Oh no no no no no! I’m going to the beach, canning tomatoes, watching my son’s baseball games, and eating every meal out on the porch. I may be sorry come the day after Thanksgiving, but I’m not giving up a minute, not a nanosecond, of summertime!

  30. I started the Christmas knitting in June, have a shawl and 2 hats finished and put in the bag. However, I have no plan from here and have returned to dallying with whatever pretty yarn falls out of the stash!
    Clearly, I need a list ! Or a plan! Better yet, both!

  31. I have always felt that’s the way to do Christmas. However, the past couple of years it’s been one family crisis after another and it hasn’t been happening πŸ™ But that doesn’t deter me from trying to get my sister onboard!

  32. Need I remind you Steph that you say the same thing every year. That this is the year you’ll be on top of things? And then every year you are in a tizzy by Christmas Eve? Hmmm…
    I’d like you to write it sign it and date it please.

    :grabs popcorn and pulls up a chair:

  33. I can’t even think of December until I get through all the August birthday presents. Mom and only niece (and it’s a big one for mom this year).

  34. Wow, look at you! Awesome. I just made my own long range planning box for the first time ever, and am about to complete a pair of socks to go in it. There must be something in the air!

  35. And now for a completely different thought…family vacation for Christmas ( or thereabouts).

    Last year at Thanksgiving, one of my Facebook friends posted a tropical beach vacation shot, which I shared with my family. This year, we are going to Costa Rica.

    But, otherwise, Christmas in summer is an excellent idea!

  36. I’ve got 2 Christmas gifts done and am currently trudging my way through some elbow-length opera gloves for my mother. I finished the first one fairly quickly, but I have completely lost motivation on the second one and it’s taking forever. There are so many other things I’d rather be knitting right now, but I don’t have time to start a new project until this is done. I’ll power through with the rest of you all!

  37. Count me in, too! Although I have severely cut down the number of people who receive hand knitted stuff over the years due to lack of any kind of thank you…..i slave over something for weeks and you can’t even acknowledge that it was ever even received????….SO, I have some ideas for charity knitting- easy simple hats and baby jackets, etc- and I am trying to up the number I will have done by December– so I’m with you in the spread sheet department!!

    • That is why some of our grandchildren get a ‘family gift’ instead of hand knit items or even individual gifts. If you can’t be bothered to at least know you received it…..

      • So it’s not just a few of my relatives. I’ve wondered for a long time why a lack of acknowledgement bothers me, & yet seems perfectly acceptable to others. No handknits for them, though.

        • Oh yeah. Totally with you. I have relatives who couldn’t even be bothered to text, “hey I got your box of stuff, thanks”after I made a handknit sweater and a handmade doll with handmade dollcothes and a fancy little zipper pocket to put her in. My solution was to just stop sending anything. No comment on that either. Well, ok. Saves me money and time. If it is the thought that counts, then I’m covered. I always think to myself, “I hope they’re having a lovely holiday.” Why invite a stress on yourself for people who won’t care or notice?

  38. Too late. I started putting gifts aside in July (thank you Festival of the Arts and People’s Choice). I’ll have a few pair of socks to get busy on and maybe a beaded ornament. It still gets hectic.

  39. I keep the master list in my wallet at all times, the list of gifts purchased or made for Christmas and birthdays. I bought four Christmas and three birthday gifts today! We shop all year round for our gifts, so I need to keep a list. But I do have little penguin to knit a hat and scarf in Pittsburgh colours, and a hat and gaiter for its young owner-to-be. I’m not sure about other Christmas knitting yet. Maybe some! πŸ™‚

  40. Brilliant. Glad you hands have not so sore. Reminds me to look in the bag where finished things go. And I have one of two scarves done – for sister’s Christmas. I knit q.u.i.t.e. slowly though and tink even slower. But, excellent idea to take a realistic look at the stash and patterns I love.

  41. Without knowing it…I’ve entered your Christmas Zone. Today I bought a book of patterns and some Four Seasons worsted weight cotton…4 balls each in a variety of colours…in order to make “Spa Sets” for Christmas gifts for four (4) important women in my family. Guess this means I’m IN, eh?

  42. As much as I adore the blog and all of the Harlot’s books, I also tune in for the pithy wit of Presbyteria and Co. Good times ahead, lol! πŸ˜‰ I’d also like to put in a request for a “Yarn Harlot’s Guide To Christmas”. Wouldn’t that be an awesome book?

  43. Ha, I just emailed my sisters to say I thought I could get a little Christmas knitting done and to ask what stitch patterns/colors they might prefer (we had just been on vacation and interest in socks and french press slippers was expressed)

  44. Also, can anyone recommend a quick, easy ornament? I will need to make about a dozen and would rather not wait till late november to start as always seems to happen

  45. NOT a spreadsheet kind of knitter. But I salute you.

    I suspect the blues happen also when people finish doing a show together, etc. – anything where there is intense teamwork & camaraderie.

  46. With you all the way! I’m “lucky” I guess as my deadline is 24th September and our valley Show. That way I can make the show benches sing with colour while I look around at mainly Herdwick sheep. (They originated here) As it’s also Beatrix Potters anniversary we’re theming quite a lot this year. Beatrix Potter bought several Lakeland farms here in England and gave them to the National Trust with the proviso that the tenants keep a flock of Herdies on the land. We have three of her farms in Eskdale. Also, any Christmas recipients live a few hundred miles away, so I can get away with the proverbial cake-and-eat scenario! (And maybe win a few quid to buy more yarn….)
    Merry August, all!

    • Bless Beatrix! She is something of a role model for me – she got her own life in spite of her parents and did wonderful things with it. I don’t write children’s books and can’t draw, but I hope to achieve my own wonderful things. Highly recommend Margaret Lane’s biography if anyone wants to learn more about Bea.

  47. I’m with you. I’ve managed to get Christmas started in August twice in the past. I’m totally game to do it again. I have a head start due to my hat knitting obsession a couple of months ago, but I’m not done by a long shot.

    Time to start the spreadsheet.

  48. I always try to get the shopping done by 30th of November. December you should only go to town to drink Gluehwein.
    However unlike you I am not giving any knit gifts, so do not have to plan quite as far ahead.

  49. I’m in! I hate the stress at Christmas time. I finished a sweater for my 8 yr old grandson. That leaves me 2 more small sweaters, 5 pairs of felted mittens and a twin sized quilt. It is good to start early! Good luck Stephanie.

  50. IΒ΄m with you on that. Have already knitted socks for my children for christmas. I need to be a little early with them, because my sons feet are HUGE (at least I think so, when IΒ΄m knitting socks)( a size 45 in european sizes) and that need a lot of knitting from my part!

  51. Sounds like a plan. I was looking at a catalog this week and told my mother I had picked out my Christmas … self patterning sock yarn! She said Yes :).

    I also found a nice pastry tool for her that she likes. She’s in her 80’s and still bakes ! So, we are working on our little list too.
    M in NC

  52. I have trouble with too many WIP and since we are going on a family driving vacation to your lovely country, I expect to finish 2 projects and maybe start something new. I admire your Christmas list for family and friends, somehow you always pull it together. Thanks for your wonderful blog.

  53. I’ve given up knitting stuff for Christmas as I’m making stuff for their birthdays. About 25 pairs of socks, that is. The only problem I have is that I have 15 birthdays in the months of May and June, so I have to have a stash of handknit socks ready before that happens. I usually start knitting a stash in september πŸ™‚

  54. Whoa. Are we tuned into the same telepathic channel or something? I almost never shop ahead, and yet I spotted a perfect gift for someone last weekend and started my shopping on the spot!

  55. Its Mittens and Glittens this year for me.
    1 pair done, another on the needles. A wee stop at the LYS distracted me,. but I think I may be back on track. We shall see.

  56. I’ve already got two finished items in the inventory and have all the yarn ready, except maybe yarn for a mermaid Afghan for a special young lady. I’m in!

  57. What a wonderful reminder to get cracking or clicking!! Yes, YES! I will begin the process as well!

    BTW, great going with the ride! You are incredibly inspiring and insightful, and I appreciate all that you do . . . .

  58. I’m with you! Since I just finished my husband’s birthday socks (his birthday was in April), I really need to jump on this bandwagon.

  59. I hear you…I’m with you! So far, I have finished 3 presents & working on 2 more. 2 grandboys have asked for specific on the list of to-dos. Summer knitting is hard to keep up with πŸ™‚

  60. If you shop local producers and vendors, you spread holiday joy in your community. Farmers markets, fairs, and quirky local shops are the best places to find treasures!

  61. Hey Steph, I can really recommend starting early for Christmas. I started way back in February as I have just got back into knitting. I have loads done and it feels great. The only thing I have found though, is instead of the list getting shorter mine seems to be getting longer. I don’t have WIP’s ( works in progress) as I only have one project on at a time, I have WIP’s ( works in planning). As we have moved through the year I have been buying little gifts as I have seen them that would suit certain people on the way. Just bought a fabulous tea box with compartments for 12 types of tea. It came with the teas and couldn’t believe it was reduced to half price what a bargain. Do you know Steph it feels wonderful but can’t remember all that I have bought so far. Guess there has to be a downfall somewhere.

    • The downfall is that by December you may not remember the things that you bought, and in a flurry of anxiety, rush out and buy what you think you might be missing. Then in January, you find the gift stash. So put them all in one place, and perhaps wrap and label them as you go.

      • I have totally done that. Put the xmas gifts away in a ‘safe’ place. Clearly too safe as I didn’t find the stuff ’til March. UGH!!!

    • I’ve had trouble before with forgetting what I’ve already purchased. What I generally do now is keep all the things in one box in one closet – but at the bottom of my November calendar page, I make notes on everything I’ve purchased with names attached. If there are bigger items, I stash them where I can, but still write them down on the calendar. Not perfect – but it has saved some January headaches.
      Chris S in Canada

  62. You are my Christmas hero! I’m inspired to do a little planning myself… on another note, will there be an Olympic challenge in your knitting rotation?

  63. I’d knit some things that were “selfish” knitting, but I’ve decided they’re not quite right for me so they’ll go in the giftables box. I’d like to make some mittens and matching hats. Then there’s the “commissioned ” project I’ve put off all summer, two more selfish knits in progress, and a stealth project that must be knit under the eyes of the recipient without her knowing it’s for her… So, I’m sorta in?

  64. I salute your early start on the Christmas spreadsheet, but I wonder if you will use this as an excuse to pack in even more activities during the holiday season. πŸ™‚ I also hope that any mall shopping excursions are blessedly free of mannequin assaults!

    So have you ever considered assigning sweepers for your holiday knitting race? Just a thought…

  65. If only. All three of my kids have summer birthdays. Along with my sister and nephew. For me summer is the other Christmas. I’ll think about the real one in October.

  66. “Knitting enough to stay out of prison”. Now that makes me laugh. If I didn’t knit furiously to relieve stress,life would not be so good around here.

  67. Excellent plan! I mentioned to my sister last night as I drove her to airport, that my plan for this weekend (after a week away, followed by sis visit) is to come up with a Christmas plan. Because if any of it involves knitting, I’ve got to get a move on. The email, laundry, and overdue errands can all wait another day or twp, although hubby and cat need some attention.

  68. I’m feeling the turn. I’ve been knitting all summer, but the fall issues coming out and imagining cozy fall and winter knitting is invigorating. The Yarn Harlot Christmas book idea is genius!

  69. I also started early this year on making my gifts I do counted cross-stitch ornaments for the little kids–13 this year–on perforated paper. The ornaments where started 1st of April (still working on them). The adults are going to be given woven dish towels, which I need to start very soon. A few knitted slippers are going to be going for up-coming birthday gifts.

  70. Good thing you have the Olympics to knit by. Maybe cross off certain lines based off of events? Me, August is “finishing month” nothing gets cast on until all of the projects that need “just x done” and then it will be finished get finished.

  71. I shop year round, a habit I picked up when I worked at the mall, but I always start my Xmas crafting by June 25th. Then I alternate Xmas projects and regular projects for the rest of the year. My system hasn’t let me down yet.

  72. I always start Christmas in August … when you knit or quilt nearly all your gifts for a rather long list of lucky people, there’s no waiting until the last minute. However, if I’m really good (seldom), I actually make several gifts starting very early in the year, and then just set them aside until closer to the date. Then I’m totally surprised at some of the gifts that are already in place. The other thing I do which works even better, is that I took a lot of the gorgeous Christmas fabrics and sewed up quick bags, just a rectangle of various sizes with a hemmed top and drop the gift inside it (sometimes wrapped in tissue), tie a ribbon around the opening, and put on a tag. Gift wrapping was always my personal bug-a-boo, so this worked great last year, and some of the bags even were returned to me afterwards. I’ll make a stack more of them this year to keep it easy & stress-free.

  73. Yes! Christmas in July, August, September…until it’s done. I’ve got two hats and two pairs of socks done and a list of everything else. Not going so far as a spreadsheet though.

  74. Totally with you on the early Christmas thing. I try every year and manage a few items. There is a jacket coming shortly for the kiddo…she found a great bargain on the internet, forwarded it to me and I took the hint!

  75. My mouth was agape when I read this post. I would really like to be done by December 1st (and I don’t even knit any gifts!) but I don’t know that I’ll be that organized. Birthday parties, back to school prep, and the baby that’s due in October have many, many to do lists swirling in my head. Best of luck, Stephanie!

  76. Loved the line ‘knitting enough to keep out of prison’! When I had people to do Christmas for I started in June or July (I had people on my list that liked seagulls, fishing, and lighthouses. It is easier in my corner of the world to find those things in June, July and August. It did make December less awful. Hope it helps you!

  77. Just remember when you’re planning those “lots of socks” that they need to be of a size to fit someone on your gift list, and not sized for you πŸ˜‰

  78. I agree – you can never start too early. I start thinking about the next Christmas right after Christmas is over. It’s a great time of year to get some good sales, and I think of gift ideas for the next year. I do have a gift spreadsheet, and it has kept me organized since since 1996. Pretty invaluable resource, and it has expanded to keeping track of Christmas gifts given and received, and birthday gifts. But I might be a little more compulsive about it that some people. πŸ™‚

  79. Having just lost a job I have had for 17 years, I know the blues.
    And today after reading your blog, I saw a couple of lights go on.
    One is my job search..Freat excuse for a spreadsheet. And doing Christmas from my stash will make Christmas easier, just in case.
    Thank you !

  80. More power to you Stephanie. I have a small pile of Christmas presents in the corner of my room. I am going to start my hand-made cards next week, so I don’t know at this point if knitting is in the cards. (/argh – I didn’t recognize the pun until just now). I would so like to make something for my granddaughter, but at 16 mos. she already wears a size 2+ and so far I can’t keep up with her growth. She grows fast, I knit slowly. Maybe a couple pairs of tiny socks will be the best I can do. Don’t let the nay-sayers get you down. You can do this!

  81. I started pairing yarns, patterns and people a couple of weeks ago and here’s the twist this year instead of just saying or thinking I’ll make X with Y for Z I actually wrote the recipient’s (or potential recipient’s) name and the yarn on the pattern and put both yarns and patterns in a big basket right where I can see it. Meaning that even though it was so hot I couldn’t imagine touching wool I already had a non wool project ready to go.

  82. Sounds to me like a diversion from a Knitting Olympics event you have “failed” to plan for. Christmas maybe in 2 weeks.

  83. I’ve started knitting my Christmas socks for my son. He usually gets 4 pair of size 18 socks. I need to determine what else I’m making, but some of it may involve sewing pjs for my mom.

    I’m with you. Let the gift making begin!

  84. I’m with you! Then again my list is vastly smaller than yours (really just shopping for 5 kids and 1 nana) but a couple of those will be handmade and we’ll be out of town for Christmas this year, so let the great pre-planned Christmas begin! I believe in you!

  85. I am with you, in fact I am one of those who is almost done…I have 1 pair of socks left, a pair of colourwork mittens and a cowl left to do. I don’t think that I have anything left to buy except some gift cards for my grandsons. They love to be able to pay for their own doughnuts at Tim Hortons, they are 7 and 3.

  86. When we can manage it, DH and I like to go to Las Vegas for Christmas. You wouldn’t know it’s a holiday. The neon never changes, there are no tinny carols or ugly decorations. Good deals on everything and excellent sales on Dec 26.

  87. I decided to attempt this because of you this year. So far I have 1 hat finished for Xmas. Not quite what I had hoped for but I just finished 2 ponchos and a baby sweater for birthday presents. Now back to Christmas…

  88. I am with you! This is the year that I get things under control well in advance of crazy December. Half of it done would make my life easier. Good Luck we can do it.

  89. No thinking of Christmas right now…but just completing old assignments and works in progress. Finishing the upgrade to my floor loom (from 4 to 8 shafts), getting ready for a Monster of a spinning event called Spinzilla! Trying to at least get to the neck line of my Saori CustomFit cardigan, and getting two pairs of socks promised to family members and one pair of myself finished. Christmas is nowhere to be found right now


  90. I’m in. Just started one of my sister’s gifts today. I will not be blocking gifts at 2 a.m. on Christmas Day. I will not. Absolutely positevely not.

  91. I’m totally with you!! In fact this year for our annual knitting trip (my sister, daughter and I rent a cabin for a week every summer and spend the week knitting, spinning and drinking wine…which sometimes leads to unknitting!!) and this year our theme is “Christmas in August” in which we will exchange small “Christmas” gifts, watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music and make plans for “Christmas in December” such as knitted gifts. We are also planning to make something with homespun yarn….since I have just learned and my homespun is from a drop spindle my “something” will be small but I guarantee it will be something to be proud of!! So onward August… and Christmas….we’ve got this!!!

  92. Thanks to you, I made my very first Christmas Spreadsheet last year. It was a giant success in lowering my holiday anxiety. I have already updated it for this year and knocked a few items off the to-do list. You’re brilliant!

  93. Me, I think! There isn’t much money (or yarn) to go around this year for Christmas, so there is a need to be extremely cautious with Christmas – and some birthdays! A Christmas spreadsheet huh? I may give this a try.

  94. I’m TOTALLY in. I have three hats already done (back in April thank-you-very-much!). I need to finish a ‘me’ project and then can start on husband’s sweater. In between canning, sewing, moving mother-in-law into the house next door, a MKAL, and Spinzilla. (We WILL get first this year…)

    I love having all of Christmas done by Thanksgiving. Then all I need to do are cards, and buy things for myself that are on sale. πŸ™‚

  95. That is so funny. I had that thought flash across my mind today at a red light: time to think about Christmas, and spread things out. I already have been knitting for a Christmas craft sale, and today I thought about starting to pick up Christmas gifts, and organize Halloween costumes this last bit of August, to spread things out a bit and be organized for the rest of the year. Have I been reading this blog too long?

    Also, forget the naysayers, Stephanie. I think that I have noticed a great reduction in projects started and abandoned and also a decrease in holiday crazy knitting over the years. I’m pretty sure about this, although it is only an impression… or is it perhaps a delusion that I could start moving in that direction myself?

  96. Post big event blues, better than big slumping depression after big event – know of a lady who this happened to following her daughter’s ‘perfect wedding’, she couldn’t face work for two months. It was awful for her.
    As usual the Christmas spreadsheet sounds wonderful, but here in NZ it is hot in summer and not a knitting sort of time. However … I have put my yarn aficionanda sister-in-law’s very special yarn aside: mmmmm yak fibre plus, so very special.

  97. I’m with you! My thoughts run “in” socks too. But is it possible for me to learn to knit socks and then do 30 pairs before Christmas packages need to be in the mail? Is anyone hearing “magical thinking” here?

  98. YES! I can’t knit much this year (I injured my wrist on Dec 3 last year and it’s still not healed yet (mutters all sorts of bad words), and I just bought gifts for two people this week. Granted, one I’m seeing next month and then won’t see again until after Christmas, but STILL. I feel so accomplished (hushes the universe)

  99. Great plan! It’s the decision overload that burns us out holiday season. If you have a mental picture of what’s ahead, you’re mostly there-all that’s left is the doing. And the doing is the easiest (albeit daunting in a time crunch)…. And the mall now is not the huge vacuum it is during the holidays.
    Pffft. You just.biked all over-the mall is nothing!

  100. You’ve inspired me! I’m sitting here reading your old blog entries from 2004 and knitting on my first Christmas present. Thanks for the idea!

  101. Stephanie, I know just how you feel. You have the bike rally, I have the church festival. I’m exhausted when it’s over. The house has to be pulled back together. Work came over a week after the last day.

  102. A group of us have been doing at knitting KAL at our LYS since the end of June. We twice a month and it ends in September. It has been alot of fun.

  103. there must be something in the wool this year, I have already purchased the grandchildren’s gifts (they all get a version of Lego, so that was easy) and started on knits for the grown ups…I’m thinking I might just make it, December may be quite calm!

  104. I’m vaguely with you, in that I’ve started the pattern selection phase of the big holiday knit. There’s a toddler sweater, and man sized socks (for three)….

    But I’m only 6″ into my entry into the local show : scarf, max 9″ wide, any length.

    It is also destined for the christmas pile afterwards though, so maybe it can count?

  105. Why did you make it official? I’ve been worrying about Christmas for months, because there is so much knitting due BEFORE Christmas. There might not be any Christmas kniting (gasp!)

  106. What an excellent idea!!! I am kicking around what to knit next and this might be the best plan. Socks for everyone! The only snag will occur in three weeks when I start grad school. For the first time in 24 years, I will be a student again. I fear knitting will be a very low priority after that.

  107. I’m busy working through all of my baby blanket yarn. Since July 1 I’ve crocheted 8 baby blankets. I’ve got one that needs all of it’s squares sewn together right now. I crochet faster than I knit so that’s why I’m crocheting. I just got sick of stumbling over that big container of baby yarn so it’s time. I then went and bought more baby yarn. LOL But it was on SALE! πŸ˜‰ I teach a Preschool/Kindergarten Sunday school class, this year I have 13 kids enrolled, many more that show up every now and then. Usually I make hats, but I’m thinking this year I might just take a break and stick with story books and ornaments. Besides, I only saw 1 kiddo wear the hat I made them last year. The rest? Who knows. The kids are absolutely knit-worthy but the parents? I’m beginning to wonder. πŸ™ So I think I will keep my Christmas knitting simple and as bare bones as possible this year. Probably just socks for my hubby and hats for my boys. They are Knit-worthy!

  108. Christmas in August is perfect. I’m due with a baby in November. My plan is to buy all the presents now and every one is getting the same thing. I’m going to wrap them all up and put them in a bag. Then when it’s Christmas time, all I have to do is pull it out. Also, Birth Announcement = Christmas card. Maybe I’ll write out the envelopes now?

  109. Uh-oh. Last Christmas I made hat and scarf sets. I was very impressed with myself–only one hat given still on the needles. So this year I’ll make…hats and scarves?

  110. Absolutely. No reason that Christmas shouldn’t start early! That spirit should reside in our hearts everyday. Who’s with us?

  111. Me! I’m cooking a baby I expect to appear about a month before Christmas, have two small children, and a husband who thinks Father Christmas organises December. Any chance you want to have a go at my Christmas spreadsheet? πŸ˜‰

    • if it’s any help, i give my husband a list of jobs and specific due dates, and now we share the work…
      I find he works better with a list and a deadline..

  112. I am thinking about Christmas early this year, but not in yarn ways just yet, still having a selfish turn on that lol. We went and picked 30# of peaches and nectarines to turn into homemade, luscious, stoned fruit brandy that will be ready to rack in time for the holidays. I am going to work on that being enough. Spreadsheet… well it couldn’t hurt to try. Have been thinking about it ever since you talked about yours, however many years ago that was now. Suppose that idea needed longer to ferment for me. Thanks! Shall see how it goes.

  113. I’ve been done my Christmas knitting since July and done my Christmas shopping since August 4th. πŸ˜€
    Ever since I first heard about the spreadsheet on this blog, I’ve devised my own. I have a different worksheet for each category (i.e. kintting, budget, purchased presents, food to cook etc…)
    I start Christmas in late January and am usually done no later than August. πŸ™‚
    I even make the cookie dough and portion and freeze it in August so I have about 10 dozen cookie flavours in case of emergency…

  114. This year I’m going to be the MASTER of the holidays! Starting…NOW!! I ran the Christmas Fair at my girls’ school for years (some years “just” the crafts table), but no more! This year, the weeks and months leading up to Christmas are mine to make all those gifts I’ve wanted to knit for people. Sign me up for Christmas in August. Bwahahahaha!!!

    Now if only I could master the “independently wealthy” thing so I had more time…

  115. I’m with you! Every Christmas I go to a friends party called “Favorite Things.” The hostess gets a committed number of people who say they are coming, and then everyone gets something that is a favorite thing of theirs to give everyone else. Under $10.00. Every year I struggle with it. One year I gruelingly spent 48 hours making 15 pillowcases out of Christmas-themed flannel. Not this year! Last week I cooked and canned up 22 tiny jars of special Christmas jam. Done!

  116. I always start my christmas knitting in August, Steph. Usually it works, but last year it wasn’t enough time. I just gave my granddaughter her last year’s christmas sweater… its 90 degrees and incredibly muggy and everyone is hot and sweaty and my 7 year old granddaughter hugged me and put on and wore a heavy wool-acrylic sweater for an entire birthday party. And told everyone that she **LOVED** it, especially the snowflakes on it, and can’t wait for it to snow so she can wear it skiing.
    2 more to finish. (and this year everyone is getting mittens. I can finish mittens in a week. Sometimes I can finish 5 mittens in a week. No more sweaters until I’m done with the WIPS).

  117. I had always said that I would do that and then drop the ball and have to run around like a crazy person the last could of weeks before Christmas. Then life changed because I sell health insurance in the States, and the vast bulk of my work takes place between November 1 and the end of the year, especially right before Christmas. No commentary on our system, but it makes my life really tough around the holidays. So a couple of years ago I started to buy any of the stocking stuffer type gifts (the things that you just need to see to think of the person, rather than the things people might ask for that I can order online) right after Christmas and have that part done by November 1. It worked and this year I have a whole box ready. None of that is to say that things aren’t crazy right before Christmas, like when I have forgotten someone on the list, or when the house needs crazy cleaning before our Christmas Eve open house, but it certainly has helped. I have faith in you and your intentions! Good luck with it.

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