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:
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!