Friday, December 11, 2009

Xmas knitting, planning and thinking

There has been much in the way of furious and not entirely satisfying knitting going on around here. With Xmas two weeks away (eek!) I haven't even cleared a space in the living room to put a tree up, and any baking that gets done will probably be ingested long before it's cooled and theoretically gifted. So the knitting is all the signs of Christmas being around the corner in my house.

Pattern:Embossed Leaves by Mona Schmidt (in Favorite Socks)
Yarn:Araucania Ranco Multy in the most fabulous
green/blue/brown colourway that I can'teven begin to capture here
(bottom 2 photos closest to real colour)
Gift for my eldest niece but one

Christmas is not my favorite of holidays. Nothing particularly against it, it's not like I have a long, painful history of bitter family Christmas's, like some, if not most, of my friends.

Christmas was always very nice for me as a child, if the rest of the year wasn't so much. My family were Irish Catholic immigrants, so Christmas for us was actually what it's supposed to be, visiting with family and the adopted extended family of other Irish immigrants, choir practice, church (lots of church, but there were plays and nativity scenes, and in general much less boring than the rest of the year), lots of food, British candy and goodies sent over from the relatives (I looked forward to my Terry's Chocolate Orange every year), packages of presents and new Christmas outfits. And since it was the birth of Jesus, time of Peace on Earth, Goodwill to All Men, kind of time, actually very peaceful and relaxing. I don't remember my mom going crazy over gifts, any bullshit competition with the neighbors, any crazed last minute mall runs (to give her props, my mom was probably done with the Xmas shopping and crafting by June, and had everything wrapped shortly after finishing the Halloween costumes.)

These days, my family is pretty spread out, I've lost touch with most of the other expat Irish families (many of the parent generation have moved back to Ireland, or out to that other Ireland, Coastal BC), I'm a church avoiding atheist and Christmas to most of the people in my life now is, and always has been, all about the mass consumption of gifts. So the meaning that Christmas used to have for me is gone, and all the season means for me now is that crazed consumption (ok, tried to bring the boy to one of our old churches for Xmas Eve Candlelight mass when he was 6 or so, soooo did not work out well. One of these days I'll recount the "Religion Burns" incident.)

One of the ways I try to make Xmas have some reasonable meaning to me is to focus on family and meaningful gifts, things that I think will make the recipient happy, and also have a happy and significant meaning for me. This year (well, last New Year's) I decided to hand make all my Xmas gifts this year. It was a bit of an over stretch for me, as I've been cutting gifts off the list in the last two weeks, but having decided to do this a year ago, and working slowly but constantly throughout the year, I have a bunch of hand knit items that I'm proud to be gifting, and a slightly refined plan of attack for next year. Like not knitting every single thing on the list, I can sew and bead too, and those are waaaay quicker, more bang for your buck kind of crafts. I can then make more stuff for the people lower down on my list (you know, best friends partner, coworkers new baby), without slighting the people I really want to make something special for.

And right now, as much as I'm looking forward to some non-deadline knitting (and I've been knitting on a deadline for about 10 months now, so I'm looking forward to that a LOT), I've already created the worksheet for next Xmas, and bought myself a copy of Knitted Lace of Estonia, to make some really, really special gifts for my favorite nieces. Wish me luck!