26 December 2009
… be safe, be happy, thoughtful, sad, contemplative, quiet, noisy, grumpy, chatty, laugh, cry, run madly downhill, watch the sunset, listen to the rain.
26 December 2009
Isn’t the idea of a handmade christmas charming? All those pretty matching decorations, a cornucopia of baked goodies, delightful gifts lovingly crafted just for you?
Isn’t the reality of a handmade christmas fraught? When you never even think about decorations till the 23rd, when it’s too hot to put the oven on, when you want to get people something they’d like and what they’d really like is a DVD boxed set?
It has to be about best endeavours, I think. And you can always buy yourself something lovely and handmade.
I also managed some gingerbread men for my team at work.
Observe the handiwork of the icing – almost as bad as my handwriting.
And I finally got around to making reusable gift bags to replace wrapping paper. I first thought of this idea about 10 years ago. Really.
And I even made the gift tags this year too.
I reckon I deserve a nice handmade little something or two. Hello Etsy!
17 December 2009
…er, not enough to cable all over, actually.
This is my xmas present to my father. It’s in the post to him now, and if I see it again, it’ll be too soon.
When I visited my parents in July, my father mentioned that his beanie was getting a bit thin and I offered to make a new one. (His beanie, by the way, was knitted by my grandmother in 1967, and he’d been wearing it ever since. He’d also been too polite to mention to her at any time in the subsequent 42 years, that it was a bit tight and the turn-up a bit short, leaving the tips of his ears cold).
I began knitting the new beanie with some New Lanark natural black yarn. I would like to say nice things about New Lanark, because I think what they’ve done and what they stand for is terrific. But that yarn was awful, it chafed the skin off my finger and hurt my hands and knotted and just wouldn’t behave. I persisted with it until I realised I’d twisted the cast on (for the uninitiated, a twisted cast on means that you are knitting a Moebius strip, which is an interesting exercise but not very useful as a beanie).
I started over, this time in Pear Tree 8-ply. I thought I’d jazz it up by doing cables all over (as you can see on the turn-up in the picture above). I quickly discovered that, though I love my father more than anyone else, I do not love him enough to do a million cables.
So I switched to plain rib and got bored. Really bored.Clean-the-bathroom-and-re-organise-the-linen-cupboard bored.
The deadline to post xmas gifts drew closer. I tided the laundry and weeded the driveway and pruned the roses.
‘Still on the beanie, huh?’
Two days before the mailing deadline, I took it to stitch-n-bitch. And ran out of yarn. But by this time, the end was so close that I dashed home and fetched another skein and scurried back, and a-l-m-o-s-t finished it.
One day before the mailing deadline I took a long lunch and a-l-m-o-s-t, a-l-m-o-s-t finished it.
That night I did three rows, wove in the ends, took one crappy photo and bundled it into the box at 11pm.
If it doesn’t fit, that’s too bad – if he’s put up with an ill-fitting beanie for 42 years, another 20 won’t hurt.
[26 December: EDITED TO ADD: Spoke to my father yesterday – it fits perfectly and he loves it. He’s especially keen on the colour because he thinks he’ll be able to stop my mother from washing it too often]