I did a lot of knitting for the holidays this year, and as usual, some got away without being photographed. Most of it was cast on (and even cast off) months ago, and I was mostly happy with the way things turned out. The best was a sweater for my little sister.
I started it as part of the SoVeryShannon sweater KAL. Or rather, I started it at Webs a while ago. I’d talked my sister into making herself a sweater, and we’d found a bulky-weight yarn and a pattern for it…and somehow I found myself holding the pattern book and the yarn and agreeing to knit a sweater. So I did. The pattern wasn’t a kind I’d made before – bottom-up raglan with the sleeves knit first – but it was fun. I added extra-long cuffs with thumbholes, since she was always the kid to rip holes in her sleeves, but other than that, it was the Packard sweater just as it was written. We had Christmas a little late (since my family has had a frightful December), but once the sweater was unwrapped and tried on, it didn’t come off. Hooray! I was so glad it fit, and so happy she liked it.
There were two shawls that got away without being properly photographed. One was an Afternoon Tea shawl for my aunt, in Quince & Co Finch, in a pretty robin’s egg blue colorway, which I finished at the last possible second. The yarn was lovely – tight and plied and sproingy and rather beautifully matte – but the pattern calls for MadTosh sock (395 yards), and I had to cut a few rows and skip right to the picot bind-off, ending up with only a few yards left out of my 442 yards. I would knit this again, but would hope not to run out of yarn again!
The other was one I finished many months ago and had waited to block. A second Nefertem shawl (since I had knit one for my mom last holiday season), this time for my mother-in-law, out of Three Irish Girls Bamboo Cotton fingering. It was a pretty, slippery yarn in blues and pinks and purples, and it has beautiful drape. It was apparently the season for half-circle shawls.
It was also the season for socks. I knit three pairs, one each for my FIL, my dad, and my mom. My father-in-law always seems to like getting socks (the blue and sand striped ones, my own design), and my mom seemed very pleased with her Jaywalkers (the second pair I knit this year, again out of Patons Kroy Socks). But my dad finally got over his reservations about how much time and effort it takes to knit a pair, and wore a pair I’d made him a couple years ago the very next day. It’s a good thing, too, since the annual socks aren’t going away anytime soon. He got a pair of Colonel Mustard socks, with 72 sts cast on to accommodate the fingering weight Knitpicks Stroll.
But 2014 was not a merry and bright sort of holiday season. I lost my grandmother this summer (it has been a year of loss and health scares for my family and I haven’t felt like myself in months). She had Alzheimer’s, and had for just a little less than a decade, and her health had taken a rather sharp downward turn since this time last year. So we knew that it would be her time soon, but even thinking that you’re prepared – I wasn’t. We weren’t. So this was the first year, the first holidays, without her, and it hurt. Since neither my mom nor my aunt nor my sister is as interested in fiber-related things as I am, a whole bunch of my grandmother’s things came to me. A doll blanket she’d crocheted for my aunt or my mother; her wedding dress (from when she was teensy-tiny and just nineteen); a quilt she’d made for me when I was a baby; and the purple Ishbel shawl I’d knit for her last Christmas. It hurt to see it, and so for the past few months, probably since July, it’s been sitting in a plastic bin that I haven’t opened again or moved. What does one do with a handmade gift like that when the recipient no longer exists? I hate to just leave it sitting, but I think I’d hate to give it away, and I know I’d hate to wear it. But I’ve never had a knitted gift come back like this, and I’m still struggling with the fact that it has.