Christmas Knitting: Mission Impossible

No doubt I’ve tricked you with the title of this post. Tell the truth: you are expecting a tale of monumental slaving away to try to finish a knitted gift in time for Christmas. This tale would end either in triumph or failure, but in either case would mean missed opportunities to spend time doing things other than knitting (yes, these do exist!) and sore shoulders, wrists, and eyes from pushing too much.

It’s not like I haven’t done just this before (many times). A case of triumph can be seen in 2016, in which I knitted cowls for Doug, Emma, and Leah for Christmas. (This was documented in the post called Cowl-a-bunga!, which has some of my favourite photos on this blog). Another race to the finish was last year, in which I was frantically knitting a sweater for Emma, while throwing in a hat at the same time, which while producing beautiful results, also led to me stressing out during a holiday and screwing up my shoulder. When you have a child whose birthday falls the week before Christmas, you can have the same result for a birthday gift, as with this sweater I knitted for Leah in December 2017. Clearly, this race to Christmas knitting has been part of my make-up for a long time; here I highlight a sweater I finished literally on Christmas Day, in 2006, which was not only pre-blog, but pre-Ravelry as well. Sometimes I plan well in advance which allows me to have fun with a Christmas gift, like when I knitted a hat with penguins (by which I mean that I knitted the hat while sitting with penguins, not that the hat was festooned with penguins). And sometimes, I am determined and steadfast about not knitting any Christmas gifts, only to change my mind at the very last minute: I knitted the West Wind mittens for Doug because we went for a walk and he had cold hands. This year was cold, too, and Doug stole my hat! So, did I decide at the very last minute to squirrel away behind a closed door, knitting like mad and being anti-social in the lead-up to Christmas?

No, I didn’t. Instead, I picked out a lovely hat and cowl pattern which I thought Doug would like:

© Maxim Cyr

I bought the yarn to make both hat and cowl:

And I wrapped up the yarn with a card that said this:

Volia! Christmas Knitting, Mission Impossible-style! (And no jumping out of airplanes required.)

The hat and cowl are designed by Maxim Cyr, who was one of the fellow knitters at the two retreats I attended this November and last. I really like his design style. These are the Opus Hat and Opus Cowl. The yarn is Walcot Opus, which I purchased as a kit from A Yarn Story in Bath. They have put together kits in at least 11 different colour combinations of Opus, which you can find here.

I frequently receive knitting-inspired gifts for Christmas. (Fancy that!) I had expressed an interest in Garthenor Preseli yarn and Doug bought me a lovely array of colours:

I also received a fantastic book from the girls, which is a collection of historical photos of people knitting.

We spent this Christmas in England, while the girls remained in Vancouver. We originally decided on this due to the very high cost of flights this year, combined with the fact that both girls were here for a long visit in September. In hindsight we made a good decision. The storm in North America knocked out the Vancouver airport and caused general chaos and misery across a wide stretch of Canada and the US, and here we are experiencing the winter of strikes: nurses, ambulance drivers, baggage handlers, customs agents, railroad workers, postmen, among others. It is a good time not to be attempting international air travel.

It is quiet now. Outside it is rainy and grey. Inside I have lots of yarn in pretty colours. Guess what I plan to do now? Best wishes, everyone, from my home to yours!

20 thoughts on “Christmas Knitting: Mission Impossible

  1. This is the first Christmas where one of my kids finally got the idea to buy me yarn they wanted something made with. So yesterday I cast-on a hat for my son with his Christmas yarn. (He still needs to learn about yarn quality but I digress). I don’t do gift knitting as I can’t stand to be on a timetable. They get the finished item when it’s done not by X date. Enjoy England.

  2. In retrospect, great decision not to travel for this Christmas. One of my sisters and her husband, having eventually managed flying back to Saskatchewan from a family visit in Ottawa, changed their plans to then drive to Kamloops, and have now decided their life will no longer include winter travel. Unpredictable weather appears to be what we can all predict from now on – most of us probably thought the climate change process would be much slower. So glad to hear you’ve recovered to the point where you have your knitting energies back. What a find by your daughters, the “People Knitting” book. Love the pattern, colours and note in your gift to Doug and will await his decision and your progress with interest. For me part of the general tidying in the next two weeks or so, before usual volunteer commitments reassert themselves, is to tackle and finish some long-postponed knitting chores: figure out and fix the mistake on a vest for my husband and finish the thing off, extend and “square off” the toes on his last pair of socks, start some sock darning, improve button placement on a beautiful cardigan I’m not wearing because it doesn’t hang just right.. To make up for all of this, have cast on for an easy cardigan to use up a bunch of long (22 yrs!)-stashed yarn. Taking this opportunity to thank you for your blog, especially those welcome “Wearable Wednesday” posts, which convinced me to avoid one tempting pattern. Wishing you and Doug continued recovery, and the best to both of you and your girls.

  3. Two and a half inches of rain in the past twelve hours – rain continuing for the next several days – why yes, plenty of knitting ahead here, too. Best wishes for the new year!

    • So much rain up and down the West Coast! I’m really pleased we didn’t try to travel this holiday. Although, really, will there ever be predictably reliable weather to plan our travels by again? (That sounds overly gloomy, I’m afraid.) I’m glad you have some knitting to distract you.

  4. Best Christmas wishes from my home here is the South of England. Love the cowl pattern – might put it on my own ‘to knit one day’ list ! You were right to tempt us readers with the spin on the blog post title. For me especially as over the break I’ve been poorly with a headcold and subsequently stayed home and watched an awful lot of tv – including one of the Mission Impossible movies. I am now expecting my breakfast to arrive on a tray tomorrow with a note and instructions that will disappear in 10 seconds! Enjoy your new colourful wool and all the best for 2023

  5. I love the Mission Impossible style note, that’s brilliant! What are you going to make with that beautiful Garthenor Preseli – the colours are really beautiful 🙂 All the best for 2023

  6. Ooh I may just copy your mission impossible style note for my husband one birthday or Christmas. The colours aren’t my cup of tea, but Polwarth is one of my favourite fibres, I would love to squish this yarn to feel how the Romney in the blend has affected the finished yarn. I don’t need any new yarn, I don’t, but I may just tiptoe over to their website to check their other colours.

  7. You got some lovely gifts, and what a cool way to gift a beautiful hat and cowl to Doug! And with a side of intrigue as well 🙂 Happy New Year, and hope 2023 is better to you than 2022 was!

  8. I was like you this year, deciding not to knit presents for others this year and then changing my mind at the last minute. Next time, I will borrow a variation of your mission impossible letter instead! Such an ingeniuous note! Perfect!
    Happy New Year!

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