Saturday, December 24, 2005


Quite some time ago, I formed my own special theory about knitting in relation to gift-giving deadlines. It went something like this: I'm not going to do it anymore. I think I may have blown just about every knitted gift deadline I ever tried to impose on myself, with the exception of a few hats.

Oddly, I very often start knitted projects without any particular recipient in mind, and as I knit, I decide that it would be just perfect for so-and-so. And that actually works quite well - knit exactly what you want to knit, and if it happens to suit someone you love, then give it to them. So that was one of my first knitted gift theories, and it has proven fairly sound over time.

But back to this deadline thing. I think the first major project I decided to give as a gift was for my mom. I was working on a checkerboard pattern afghan, and because her college graduation was coming up, I decided it would be a great gift for that. And it was a great gift for that purpose -- it's just that it was also at least a month late. (She got back at me eventually for that one -- she decided it wasn't long enough and requested another row of blocks, which I added -- good thing it was checkerboard!) My parents have received the late anniversary gift of a hat for my dad and a scarf for my mom. I once gave my mom a hat and scarf set for her birthday with the scarf wrapped up still on the needles and finished who knows how much later. And probably the worst incidence of late gift knitting was the afghan that I made for my grandma for her 80th birthday. It wasn't a year late, was close.

That was when I made the big decision -- you can knit for other people, in fact, it's a great idea, but just don't tell them (or anyone else) you're knitting them something for their birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day/whatever. No, instead, work on that project at your very own pace, because you know sometimes life will intervene. You may have a gift giving occasion in mind for your gift, but if nobody but you knows anything about it, and you blow the deadline, well, and here's the brilliant part -- you can just give it to them for the next major gift-giving occasion that comes up! (A sub-set of this theory involves the intended-recipient switcheroo -- didn't finish that baby blanket reasonably on time? That's okay -- another baby will come along!)

So what's this, you ask?

Well. I'm breaking my rule. This is a not-yet finished Flower Basket Shawl, made from a very springy colourway of KPPPM -- I think of it as the Easter Basket Shawl. I started this sucker back in August, on one of those famous business trips (actually, it is a sort of an infamous business trip, what with that pub crawl in Atlanta...) A lot has happened since mid-August, most of which seems to have directly interfered with any knitting time. But I've snuck a little knitting in here and there, and at some point, I decided this shawl would make a great gift for my grandma for Christmas. It's been a rough fall for us -- Grandma was in the hospital in September, and then again in October, and spent all of November and into December in a nursing home. There were times in there when everyone was afraid she wasn't going to make it. But she hung in there, and is doing much better, and about a week ago, she and my grandpa moved into an assisted living home and are doing pretty well. Still, this is a special Christmas to me, and this IS my grandma's Christmas gift -- I even broke the rule of knitting silence and announced it as such to others. And, you can sort of see in the photo's not done. Panic regarding this fact struck me around last Monday.

And so, it is 6:50 AM on Saturday, December 24th. This shawl will be finished and washed and blocked and dry by tomorrow morning, at, say 10:00 AM at the latest. I'm not really sure how much I have left, as I am making the shawl bigger than the pattern, with three skeins of KPPPM, just adding pattern repeats until the yarn runs out. Less than one skein to go, though, I can say that with certainty. Take me to your Coffee...