Everyone seems to freak out about- oh, you do handcrafts? You're making stuff for everybody this year, right? Well, yes and no. No, I don't make everyone something I knit. I don't have enough hours in the day to even consider such a thing. But that doesn't mean I haven't done some. When I told my mom I started knitting again, she wanted to know for whom- as if I can't knit for ME. I mentioned making socks. She wanted to know if they'd be wool... and frankly most of the yarn out there is wool, especially sock yarn, but they treat it these days with a special washing so that it can go in the washer with the rest of one's clothes. A lot of the sock yarn can even go through the drier with no adverse effects, including most of my socks. But mom has always made a big deal about being bothered by wool and by acrylic, so she hasn't wanted me to knit her anything. I did it anyway.
(And yes, I'll wash it in shampoo in the sink and let it dry before I give it to her- I don't want to set the allergies off due to to pets). This is Debbie Bliss DK silk, in the Mead Scarf pattern. It's very lovely and just as blue up close, and will look smashing on my mom if she does decide to wear it. Because it's 100% silk, it can't be on her bad fiber list- but she can be temperamental. So can I- so I can be forgiving.
For Da, I made him a couple of cowls but I did go for evil acrylic- like socks I wanted washability. But I did leave the door open if he wants something else colorwise. I don't know how to convince him of what's available without dragging him through Knitpicks or Webs (which are overwhelming and full of bad choices) or an actual yarn store.
Almost everyone is getting T-shirts. I have an embroidery machine, and I'm not afraid to use it. It doesn't take me as long as knitting anything for them, although I've threatened to knit Fongs for my oldest niece and my sister. These are demi-socks that go under flip-flop straps that work to prevent chafing and odd sunburns. I can use odd bits of skeins I have left over from my own pairs. And they would be washable.
Next year, I think everyone is getting knit re-usable bags out of cotton. If I get a good pattern, I ought to be able to crank them out and Peaches and Cream comes by the pound. But by the time I had the idea for this, it was already late November and I am no superwoman making 15 bags in four weeks.
What I would love to do is take my sister-in-law to the local yarn shop - her local. According to Ravelry, there's about four of them, although the one in Frankfort seems to specialize in Patons, and that's not a sign of Good Stuff. I wish I could take her to Spin-A-Yarn where she could meet the nice things I'm used to having roll off my tongue now, Koigu, Bernat, Opal, Great Adirondack, Panda Silk, Cherry Tree Hill, and even Noro and Tofutsies. Feel the differences in yarns and see all the contents that are available now. I remember when I was young and going to Woolworths and being impressed with all the different types of Red Heart- but there's so much more than just Patons and Vanana White like you find in Michaels. Have I become a snob? Probably.
I'm spending more on Riley than I normally spend on any of the nephews and nieces- I'm buying him a Tsock 101 kit. I hope I get a few days to play with him and it to help him understand the techniques, and then I hope he gets the chance to use the tools in the manual again and again. Yes, it'll be wool blended with nylon. But it'll be machine washable, and it won't itch. And it won't be a bright screaming neon color or Girly either. So I hope he likes it.
It's tempting to get Aidan a spinning beginners kit... But not yet.