Saturday, November 3, 2012

Giftmas Knitting Part I: Planning

Good gravy, I've been off the ball, haven't I? NaNoWriMo (or really, to be honest, the NaNo forums) kind of ate my soul this week. It's a problem, since most the time I can set aside to write happens to be time that is normally taken up with knitting. It's leaving me in a quandary, since I have at least two projects that need to be done by the end of November, and I can't work on them if I'm writing. The only solution, obviously, to st get an extra set of arms, like this:
One set could be writing, another cleaning, then one for my Christmas knitting and another to work on my next pattern, which I thought for sure would be done by now. I did not count on ripping it back every time I sit down to work on it.

In the mean time, however, I'll just have to come up with another solution. And for this, that means lists and a whole lot of prioritizing and planing

Last year in my family, we started doing this differently. Instead of everyone buying gifts for everyone, we drew names out of a hat and we each buy for that person. We did this because we're all pretty broke, for various reasons.

The good thing about this is that you're never left wondering,"What did I get for so-and-so? We did remember to get them something, right?" It makes it a lot easier to get a specific wishlist from that person.

In my case, I get to exchange gifts with my aunt. I love this, because she's one of my favorite people, and one of the few in the family that is knitworthy--who actually appreciates handmade gifts and treats them accordingly. Other family members that I have knit or crocheted for one might use or wear the items once out of obligation, then donate or put the item in a yard sale.

My aunt is super easy to shop for anyway, and there usually isn't much variation in her Christmas list. One item that always pops up is a specific style of sock that is difficult to find the rest of year, but pretty common around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Last year I got the idea of knitting socks for her. While that ended badly, I am trying again this year and the results seem to be a lot better so far.

Last year, my yarn didn't even get ordered until Dec. 6th. This year, it arrived in October--giving me plenty of time to get them done. At least, until Nano started. I work on these socks a little every day, mostly when I'm waiting in the car for someone, or on my breaks at work. I'm knitting them two at a time and 15 minutes is enough time for me to get a round and a half on each sock, or one round if it's a cable row.

Another strategy I've been using is the Year Round Christmas bin, where I make small items like washcloths and tuck them away for gifts--housewarming, birthdays, etc. I always have a few things on hand if a gift is needed.

Lastly, I advocate not trying to knit for everyone. Pick no more than three people, and don't pick large, involved  projects. No sweaters, complicated lace, or afghans. Stick with simple, portable, easily accomplished goals like hats, scarves, socks, fingerless gloves, and useful household items. 

So those are my tips for holiday knitting. What are yours?

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