Monday, December 24, 2007

Day 24: Christmas Eve Musings

Can I insert a bit of an edit right off the bat???? Somehow, inadvertently I used a cache copy of the interview with the wonderful Carrie Barraco from Socks and the City---- for which I apologize. It’s been corrected on the post from that day but I’d like to give you the correct copy here----- I’m so sorry Carrie!!!!

(KC) Not only are you an early shopper but also a gift knitter! Wow! What are you gifting?

(CB) Every year I do something for everyone, but really only the closest family and friends get projects, and they are small. I suppose I would do a big project if someone really wanted it, but really the holiday knitting is for me more than it is for them, so, small projects that feel good to me fit the bill. I also try to make them useful and they are truly appreciated. Just last month, my Dad brought out his Fuzzy Feet from last year to show my grandmother. My brother wore a hole in his Fuzzy Feet by March, so he got a pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs for his birthday in April. This years projects vary a bit. DH is getting the Felted Clogs, my best friend a crocheted shawl from Teva Durham (totally insane project--and a challenge, but a relatively quick challenge--more a mental crunch than a time crunch. I've already given my daughter her chunky (Colinette Point Five) hat and mittens, and a toque to her boyfriend. My brother's girlfriend is getting a Caloriemetry, and the big obsession has been felted mittens. I used the Charitable Crafters pattern for chunky weight (it's written for lopi, but I used a bunch of different yarns), and my Mom is getting a pair with Disco fun fur cuff, my Dad a simple stripe (ran out of the original yarn), and my brother is getting a flip-top adaptation (also with supplementary stripes).


I have had a wonderful time bringing some notable knitters to the blog! I hope you’ll indulge me a bit as I wax on about many of the same things we’ve talked about during the 25 days of Knitting Contrisstmas.

One of the things I miss more than anything is Christmas with my Mom. She loved the holidays and I can see her little ceramic tree that always sat on the coffee table. It was one of those made in the 1960’s trees that lit up and played Silent Night. That girl could decorate I’m telling you, our house always did the straight up Christmas thing. From the time I was a very little girl to her last Christmas 7 years ago there was always a present (under the tree or in the box shipped to me) with an angel on it. It was the same angel actually; I always returned it to her. Little miss angel was sort of beat up looking towards the end, but that extended the magic. The angel was one of those with the body made of tissue paper honeycomb; you opened up the belly and used a clip to keep it open. 3 D, very fancy. Over the years, the little white clip was lost and I think the last 10 years or so it was replaced by a big old paper clip. The angel package always contained THE GIFT. Needless to say I opened it last. It was always something I wanted desperately, my Mom was the greatestwith those Mom Super Powers that knew just the perfect thing that would make a Christmas magical, and I miss her with all my soul. Like everyone in America who read “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom or who saw the movie I had to ask myself who in the world I’d want to spend one more day with, and what I’d do or say. Without question that person would be my Mom, there were so many things I’d like to take back, things I’d like to add, and things I know I could do so much better. But isn’t that how life goes? We don’t do all the things we should do when loved ones are alive---- and when they are gone and we can’t re-write history we wish we had done things differently. I would love to see the stats on how many people around the world would choose to spend another day with their mother, I bet that number is staggering.

I love the holidays although I have to say that now that the kids are all grown and on their own it has morphed a bit. I think it is more pure…. And that’s probably not the right word. Perhaps when you are a tad less busy with all of the inherent holiday details you can focus more on the spirit of the season. On people. On LOVE, because as I say all the time it is all about the love. I do miss the wild years………….. don’t get me wrong! Some of my very favorite Christmases past are those where I was so tired by the end of Christmas Day I could hardly swallow!

As all of my Blitters know, I am a holiday gift creator. This year my gifts are 100% hand knitted although in the past (and perhaps in the future) there might be a hand quilted gift, or something craftily created. For me, if I don’t have time to handcraft at least one gift the season is not complete. My first Christmas as a newlywed 35 years ago I made a counted cross stitch pillow for my Mom, it was 18 count Aida and a floral design of some sort. It was quite pretty and she kept it forever. I also made among those years a shawl for my (then) husband’s Mom---- it was made out of a length of a purchased knit and textured fabric and the edges were turned under twice and stitched by machine to secure them. It was, looking back, a pretty skanky gift. Made from the heart absolutely---- which is after all, the only thing that matters but perhaps, just perhaps it had something to do with why the marriage didn’t work? Nope, I don’t think so either!

This year was a hat-a-thon for sure and like most giftors, I can’t wait to hear how the giftees like them! Especially my son who is here after all and I will have the supreme pleasure of watching him open his hat (Swell from Knitty, the mirror image hat knit for my oldest grandson who is 10 this year). Daughter number one was gifted with a knitted ‘furry’ shrug, the ribbon cloche and vintage pin and scarf, all of the grandboys received a knitted hat, my youngest daughter and her boyfriend received hats as well. If you think for a moment that my daughter received the wee teenies from the handknit category, her choice this year was cash, cash, cash. Then there was the wonderful pillow with the re-purposed knitted envelope style flap for my birth mom. I think I got so much done by settling on small easily accomplished projects, starting at the end of October, and carrying my knitting with me everywhere---knitting in every available moment. (But of course I do that anyway!)

I’ve asked everyone else how they celebrate the holidays so it’s only fair to comment about mine. Really, the celebration has already been taking place! I firmly believe that to fully enjoy this season of love we have to be the love and spread the love. It is a celebration every time I go out, even something as daily as the grocery store. When we smile, and chat and generally be a good egg, we spread the holiday spirit and joy. Heck, in those terms we can celebrate 7/24/365. More close range, my partner’s Mom will arrive early on this afternoon of Christmas Eve and we’ll all gather with my Son and have a few delightful holiday cocktails and a baked brie and crackers while we putter in the kitchen a little. We’ll pop a turkey in the oven and when it comes out around 6 ish we might eat it……. Or we might save it for Christmas Day. Decidedly laid back, sort of a change up from the days of standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding! I decided to cook early because my son is heading back to La Guardia at 5 on the 25th so I didn’t want to waste my time with him being in the kitchen. We’ll take the turkey out of the oven and pick at it, or not---- and get dressed for church services. Arriving home late on Christmas Eve will put us all in the mood for eggnog and being together as a family before we head off to bed. Christmas Day will have us up drinking coffee, having juice and Christmas Eve Casserole and Orange Biscuits after we open gifts. The gift opening is pretty low key---- definitely not like it was when there are smaller children in the house. But the stockings will be hung and full and lots and lots of fun. Then about 1:00 my partner’s niece and her boyfriend, and one of the nephews will come by and we’ll have turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and dumplings. The dumplings are from the Mom in the house, created in her family tradition and delicious. She makes the ‘slimy’ kind not the fluffy kind and they are just wonderful. And the rest of the day we will play games, laugh and just love to be together. I am fully expecting and anticipating a wee nap when I get home from the airport tomorrow afternoon as well!

I have asked all of the great knitters featured during Knitting Contrisstmas what they do that is special, just for themselves during this busy time of the year. Almost everyone does a little something to keep up their energy and spirits and I’m no exception. As a Reiki Master, I try to give sessions because they are relaxing and restorative to me as well. I’m also a big fan of the mani-pedi, somehow when you get into the thick of the season it is so appreciated! Really, I think just sitting down to knit is about the best thing I (and probably all of us) can do for myself. It’s always good!

As far as anything special on my needles that is just for me------ I just finished that gorgeous Byzanz scarf, and the yummy Malabrigo hat that I’m sure we’ll fight over here at Casa KC. I am fighting with myself over what I want to cast on to do my jammie knitting starting the evening of the 25th. I’ve yet to decide completely although I do have the yarn ready to go and it is down being between 3 patterns, all sweaters. Two a little more complex and the third a lovely stretch of simplicity.

My favorite question asked of those interviewed this month was what would be gifted with an open budget and if there was a more cost conscious gift to be given. And it is a hard question to answer because there are so many fabulous knitting related items out there! More than likely I’d give an Amy Butler bag filled with a sweaters’ worth of cashmere yarn. A few Lantern Moon needles, and some great accessories I made myself like the tape measure, etc. On a budget this year I gave knitty friends wreaths, and tucked in a pattern or a fun pair of needles or knitcessory and they were very well received. You know, the truth is that any gift assembled with thought and care is a winner!

When the holidays are over, for me ‘over’ is a relative term, what will I be doing? Easy. Leopard. Pajamas. I will cast on for whatever I have decided I will be knitting during the next week where I will laze about like a professional sloth doing whatever in the world I want to do and nothing I don’t. Under my lovely Christmas tree are knitting magazines I have not touched yet (even to crack the covers), two Nigella Lawson books and the new bio of Sandra Lee. I will read, I will nap, I will knit, I will relax. Doesn’t it sound lovely? And of course there is always some online shopping if I just can't quite venture out---- can you say The Loopy Ewe?????

I do not have a really favorite designer, I appreciate them all. However I do favor Norah Gaughan and her innovative and fresh designs and Norah herself will wrap up Knitting Contrisstmas with a huge bang tomorrow the 25th. I love Cat Bordhi’s socks for their wildly creative approach--- not to mention the fact that she is such a great teacher. And to all of the designers out on Ravelry???? You guys rock, every one of you!

I’m a woman who loves to knit----- who has known for quite a long time that the act and art of knitting is that which serves to calm, inspire, energize, transport and serve. This art is one that we share with others--- isn’t that what it is all about? My son told me that he was amazed to see so many women knitting on the subway going into Manhattan every morning! He was shocked that not only were there a lot of knitters but that they were such young women. I of course tried not to read in (you know Mom, old like you!!!) and smile and say---- oh yes sir! We knitters are legion and we are everywhere!

Isn’t it great?

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, enjoy a wonderful Christmas Eve doing whatever it is that your family does to enjoy the season. Don’t miss Norah Gaughan tomorrow!


Mad about Craft said...

I am sorry you haven't got your Mum to celebrate with you this Christmas.
As I celebrate with my Mum & Dad tomorrow I will remember your thoughts.
Have a Happy Christmas & a Peaceful New Year.

Virtuous said...

Your Knitting Contrisstmas was great! I got to learn a lot!

And your meezo & I share the same background :o) But I like your doll's outfit better.

Always hold your memories close to you with joy. That is what I have to do when thinking of my mother who is no longer with me too.

Have a blessed Christmas!!