Friday, December 23, 2011

sock my balls, mr. claus

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.)

i can’t wait for everyone to open their gifts! what sort of things are you crafting for xmas this year?


the Knottie Knitta said...

if i tell you, you won't be surprised when you get it! :)
pretty knitties, spoonay!

Bumble Lush Kitchen Garden said...

So you learned how to knit all these things in a year? You're magical! Glad you're posting again, seems like you have been busy. I hope you had a nice Christmas, and have a happy New Year!

Emily said...

spoony--yay surprise! hehe i can't wait.

bumble lush--once i learned how to knit socks i felt pretty accomplished...learning those new techniques made me feel like i could knit anything, and just thinking that way made me able to knit all sorts of stuff that seemed impossible before. but it's all pretty easy, not magical. happy new year to you too!

be said...

i am so so so impressed at all this sock knitting...i made a pair of fingerless mitts for my boy but i'm still scared of socks!