Sunday, December 2, 2007

Still alive!

"IT" has hit the early stages for me. Since I'm a new knitter, the small number of projects that I've worked on have been, well, learning experiences. And unfortunately, they all definitely LOOK like they were learning experiences.

It is December 2nd. This means that I have about 22 days to finish my holiday knitting. Now, what's not fair about my situation is that I became a knitting addict a fairly short time ago. Therefore, I: knit slowly, am limited to knitting "easy level" projects, have to frog almost as much as I knit, and hope to the heavens that my family will politely overlook the lumpy, uneven messes they will be receiving this year. What's more, I don't have time to practice new techniques or solve the mystery of knitting in the round. I can't sit on a rocking chair, chuckling at myself as I frog my first attempt at cables. So, everyone in my family will be receiving something that is in the shape of a square or a rectangle. Most likely, their gifts will also be one solid color. Garter stitch, anyone? I'm tempted, but the shear boredom I'd experience would prevent me from finishing anything!

Why I'm in the early stages of "IT," you ask? Well, I read the "IT" chapter in Yarn Harlot and had to give Stephanie a nod (followed by a much deserved golf clap) when I could relate to her ever-so-perfect description. It began when I created a mightily ambitious list of Christmas projects and gave myself only two months to complete them. Mind you, I made this list after having knitted only about, hmm, two or three days. The list goes as follows:

1. Scarf for DM
2. Scarf for SIL #1
3. Scarf for SIL #2
4. Scarf for DSis
5. Scarf for DBro
6. Scarf for BIL
7. Set of 4 placemats for DM
8. Tiny baby blanket for nephew
9. Potholders for roommate

These were the only people in my family that would appreciate and/or use my gifts. My dad, three other brothers, and uncle wouldn't wear scarves or find use for placemats or potholders. In fact, knowing my uncle's I'm-sarcastic-but-I-really-mean-what-I-say personality, I could be scarred for life if I witnessed his reaction to any gift I knitted for him. I'm shuddering at the thought.

Why not dishcloths, you ask? I've always had a problem with knitted dishcloths, even before I fully understood the world of knitting. Knitted dishcloths take time to make, and I couldn't imagine getting them wet, or even worse, scrubbing dirty dishes with them! I have a similar problem with socks (I swear it's not because I'm too scared to try to make them!).

So, what have I finished since I made this list? My first scarf (mentioned in an earlier post) was an absolute disaster. I immediately cast on a second and third scarf, both of which are still OTN. I can't help it -- garter kills sanity. And because of that, I started other projects (the mini bag and knitting needle carrying case). Side note: the carrying case came to a screeching halt after I found out that stockinette has a tendency to curl (it wasn't poor knitting as I'd originally thought).

I know this post is long, but bear with me; I haven't posted in days and have much catching up to do.

Then came the dreaded showstopper. A coworker of mine decided that we should do Secret Santa this year at our holiday party in less than two weeks. I thought it was a great idea at the time. But then I picked a name out of the hat she excitedly passed around. I blindly chose Katie, one of my closest friends both inside and out of the work place. She was one of the first people who I ran to when I picked up my knitting hobby. And, as a dear and genuine friend, she expressed much interest and to this day asks me how my knitting is going. Well, you know what that means. EMERGENCY project (not just added to the list but placed at the top due to the huge time crunch)! Just a week or so before the Secret Santa idea, Katie had her purse stolen from her at the gym. The poor girl has no bad karma whatsoever! She's further in the "positive" than any other person I know. Why this happened to her? I do not know.

I researched and researched "easy" purse patterns. I consulted my beloved mentor, I pondered several color choices and combinations that would match her hippie, bohemian style and personality. Then I found the Talisman purse (free Berroco pattern). I immediately bought 4 skeins of yarn: one navy, one deep red, one hunter green, and one caramel. I was going to make her this little striped purse if it killed me. I would work my hands to the bone, even if that meant that this would be the last piece I'd ever knit.

In the midst of this project, I realized one thing ... I have no drive to knit unless I'm absolutely sure that my recipient will love it. I also don't find joy in knitting for myself; knitting for others is so much more rewarding for me. So, you've got it, folks. Here's my revised holiday list:

1. Talisman bag for Katie
2. Scarf for DM
3. Scarf for DSis

My rationale? Almost everyone on my list lives in Pennsylvania, and I live in Florida. Because of this, I do not get to see what my family members choose to wear, or even how they decorate, over the winter. What if I were to knit my SIL a hot pink scarf, and it turns out that she detests all colors except black and gray? What if DM decided to nix her decades-long love for a rustic, country decor after her love-at-first-sight encounter with a pink flamingo lawn ornament (and adjacent knomes)? I simply could not risk making her a set of placemats that would only end up collecting dust.

I feel pretty good about this decision. But for now, I must get back to the Talisman WIP that, unless I'm going crazy, has been inching itself closer to me for the past hour. Creepy.

I PROMISE pictures are coming; I finally got more batteries for my digi cam! :)

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