last year i read a blog post by someone who was knitting socks for her family and friends for xmas. i thought she was magic and/or crazy, making all those socks. at the time i’d never knit a sock before. later i learned how, and i still thought she was magicrazy.
now i have patterns memorized and enough practice under my belt that i can knock out a sock easily. i like the irony of giving handmade socks for christmas. socks are the cliché crappy christmas gift--pretty much a middle finger from santa. but who wouldn’t enjoy getting a pair that was hand-knit just for them?
so far for xmas i’ve knit five and a half pairs of socks, two pairs of “russian boot” style slippers, a pair of mittens, a pair of fingerless gloves and half of a striped fishnet market bag. i have one and a half pairs of socks, half a bag and a pair of slippers left to go.
knitting is way more time-consuming than sewing, so whipping anything up on the machine is like instant gratification. the only things i’ve sewn are about a dozen gift bags and one reversible market bag. i have yet to make a couple sock monkeys, a lunch bag, another market bag or two, some fleece dog sweaters, a toy box, some coffee cozies and more gift bags.
i planned pretty well as far as which gifts i waited to make and which ones i finished early. all the stuff i have left won’t be needed until christmas day or a week or two after.
these fingerless gloves are for my cousin. i love the pattern--this is the fourth style of thumb gusset i’ve tried and it’s my new standard. it’s worked as part of the body in the round using right- and left-leaning increases.
i also learned a really fabulous new cast-on method for 1x1 rib: italian tubular cast-on. it’s fast, super stretchy, comfy and nice-looking, and i’m probably using it on all my socks and gloves from now on.
these are special mittens that come with a long backstory. decades ago my parents and their friends were friends with an amazing woman named gunhild johnson. she immigrated from sweden with her husband and lived in a house he built for her, with a sunny kitchen where she sat and did all of her knitting.
gunhild moved back to sweden just before i was born and died a year later. the day after my parents heard she passed away they got a package from her in the mail. it was a baby sweater she knit for me, probably the last thing she ever made.
gunhild gifted my mom and her friend suzanne each a pair of nice woolen mittens. thirty-ish years later my mom still wears hers all the time in the winter, but unfortunately suzanne lost one of her mittens on a ski trip in vermont years and years ago, and it broke her heart.
i studied my mom’s mittens and worked out a pattern then knit up an approximation. they’re not the exact same, and they weren’t made by a cool swedish lady, but they’re very similar to the old mittens and i think suzanne’s going to freak out. (suze is basically my aunt, by the way, she’s not like some random person my parents used to be friends with.)