Thursday, December 17, 2009

18 Christmas's

My tree at home is filled with handmade ornaments.

This one holds particular meaning for me this year.  

It was given to me in 1991, the year Kendall was born, and is one of the first ones to go up on the tree every year.  See that sweet little face? (I know, it's hard to see...I am working on my photography skills, lol, so bear with me)  That's the face I still see in my mind every Christmas when we are putting up the decorations.  It doesn't seem that long ago that she was a little one sitting on my lap, and yet 18 times now we have shared the fun, the magic, and yes a "few" stressful moments here and there with her.  Those moments are a part of who she is now.  She's grown up and as I'm sure you've figured out by now, I'm feeling quite nostalgic and sentimental this year.  
Kendall has asked me for probably the last five Christmas's to change the decorations, update, go for a new look.  And for the last five years I have seriously considered doing just that.  But when we brought out all of the boxes from the basement this year I can't tell you how glad I am that I didn't! 

Those ornaments represent her entire childhood.  And while I am getting used to the idea of my child becoming an adult, these are the things that I am not ready to give up, and probably never will!  Kendall will be 40 yrs. old coming home at Christmas for a visit and still see the little treasures hanging on my tree!  It's just the way it is.  
Here are a few others, all made by Phil's grandma.  Each one unique and each one tells a story.  

When I knit a gift for someone, it's much more to me than just knitting.  
(Like these fingerless mitts for my neice, Bodee) 


I hold that person in my mind as I create each stitch and let my thoughts fill with my love for that person.   

My hope is that I knit those feelings right into the hat or sweater that I am making for them.  Each time they wear it, they will feel warm and comforted knowing that someone took the time to create something just for them...yeah, it's personal for me.  

Creative endeavors can fill you on many levels.  Just the idea that I can take what is essentially nothing more than sticks and string (sometimes very expensive sticks and string, lol:, but nonetheless...;) and make something useful or beautiful is so satisfying to me.  And when it is a gift, well, that's taking it to another level completely.  I have to really want that person to have what I am going to make.  You can trust in the fact that I have given it a lot of thought and chosen something that I think would be "just right" for that person...down to the size, color, style, etc...  I envision them wearing what I have made.  Not very many things come close to the feeling I get when the someone actually uses what I created.   
My knitting time is precious to me.  And so are the people I knit for.

The ornaments hold the same meaning.  

I try very hard this time of year to not get caught up in the "have to" mentality that seems to tug at all of us so strongly.  Truth be told, that is my goal every year.  If I can stay in the moment and appreciate a few simple pleasures of the season, then I am more calm, centered, and grateful for all that I do have in my life.

My knitting allows me not only the chance to express my feelings for the people in my life, but it is the best way I know to get in the moment and stay there.  The instant mood change that comes over me when I pick up my needles allows me to slow down, process my emotions, and just BE.  I don't know what the next 18 Christmas's will bring, but I know I will have my knitting and those I knit for...and the handmade ornaments will still be on my tree.   

I wish you all peace this holiday season, and always.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

...but my tree is up and I am making headway on the Christmas Knit List...oh yeah, and the fire is so delightful. ;) (I settle in by the fire as much as I can since this cold front has come in!)

Quick knit Project #2 is complete and turned out cute!  The pattern is from Knitting Pure and Simple and it is called Bulky Shrug, #286.

Total knit time:  12 hrs, which makes this a weekend project.  It is knit in one piece, and that means no finishing, except to sew on a button.  In this case I used a handmade shawl pin.

I also completed an ornament for next week's Knit Night.

A Mini Sweater Ornament by Emily Lewis
I love anything in miniature, and this one caught my eye!  There is a plain sweater, a fair isle, and a cabled version.  I wanted to do something really special for the recipient of this ornament and decided to tackle the cabled version.  Ironically, it took me longer to make this little mini raglan sleeved cutie than it did to make the Bulky Shrug!  Now that struck me as funny.  The pattern and the size 2 needles are not for the faint of heart, but it was so much fun to see the sweater taking shape.
And so, two quick knit projects (and one ornament exchange gift) down, one to go.

#3 will be finished soon ( I just need to felt it).

In the meantime, stay bundled up everyone!  It really is cold out there.  May your knitting keep you warm and comforted!  I would love to hear what you are working on right now during this very busy time of year!  How do you manage to fit in knitting time, or do you?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Odds and Ends

Well, I am almost finished with Project #2 in the beautiful handpainted Burly Spun.  Here's a little preview...

It's coming along nicely and really shows off the gorgeous colors of the yarn.  More on that in the next day or two, as I only have the sleeves left and should finish it up tonight at Knit Night!  I will have to block it more than likely, but I'm close.

And remember the fall tote I was working on...going through "my process"...well I finished it up last week, just before Thanksgiving.

The felted leaves were a fun addition to the bag, as well as the needle felted branches.  

I also needle felted an acorn to go with the leaves, but then that little voice inside my head said "too much!", so I quit while I was ahead.  I was rather proud of that little acorn though.  It was my first needle felted-from scratch idea and a bit trickier than I thought it would be.

Bad picture, sorry, but you get the idea.  ;)

And now I'm working on this:

Any guesses?  No, it's not socks.  Try again.  Ok, I'll give you a two weeks at our Charity Knit Night we are exchanging hand made ornaments and this is the beginning of mine.  Details to come!  In the meantime, wishing you a good evening and a great week!