Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holiday Knitting

Clickety-Clack Ewe hesitates even to post this before Thanksgiving because the holiday retail frenzy for the season begins earlier every dang year,and there is no wish to convey that this is condoned in any way. Surely by the year 2020, if the merchants have anything to say about it, the "season" will begin by Epiphany (Jan 6)!

Clickety-Clack Ewe used to knit for the holidays, but not any more. The Christmas stockings are an exception, joyfully knit with each addition to the family.

Retailers begin their displays before Halloween, but I used to plan Christmas knitting in early the new year for a good head start. There would be an ambitious list of ambitious projects. The list grew each month, but items on the needles languished by Easter and were practically UFOs by the Fourth of July. Labor Day would jangle alarm bells, and the knitting would commence in frazzled earnest. Projects suffered as the Big Deadline loomed. Worry set in about having forgotten somebody, which turned to panic when the absent name turned up. (To be fair, the "forgotten somebody" was nearly always not forgotten at all, but somebody for whom I belatedly decided I should knit something.) I worried too, for instance, that my brother might be insulted if my sisters got cardigans and he wound up with only a scarf.

I'm a fairly speedy knitter, but I like going at my own natural pace. I do not like feeling as if my knitting were a race against the clock. I was doing less thinking of the recipient fondly during the process than these kinds of things:
  • Doing the mental math: how many seconds per stitch, how many stitches per row, how many rows, how many increases/decreases to factor in, how much time to seam and block to get the project done;
  • Planning meals with less prep work in order to knit more minutes, or ignoring housework;
  • How late to stay up through the wee hours and still get up to see DD off to school in the morning (and remember the event);
  • Thinking of Lucy and Ethyl in that famous speed-up scene at the conveyer belt at the candy factory....
Then - Light Finally Dawned on my Rocky Dome! I now knit for birthdays.
There are still deadlines, but they come at a more leisurely pace spaced throughout the year. It also feels more personal to me - and undoubtedly the recipient feels it, too. Furthermore, if I don't feel like knitting something for a birthday, nobody feels left out with a non-knitted present.

Yikes! Dear Big Sister's birthday is the day after Epiphany....


Opal said...

Excellent idea. Too bad I can never remember anyone's birthday. Including my own! *grin*

e's knitting and spinning blog said...

Such a good idea! It's much more personal!

Anonymous said...

LOL. The stockings are so nice! And yeah, birthdays are good.