Holiday Knitting: Ready, Set, Go!

The Cough. Cubley kids, Christmas 1984

A note from Kathleen: Yes, it's that time—time to start your holiday knitting. And we're here to equip you with fabulous gift patterns that you need, in the new edition of Holiday Gifts! In her Letter from the Editor, Lisa Shroyer talks about favorite holiday memories, and I thought I'd share one of mine with you. The photo at left is lovingly called The Cough in our family, a.k.a "the year I ruined the Christmas photo." This was in 1984, before digital cameras, and my mom didn't realize my cough happened right as she took the photo. Oh, well. It's become a favorite, with other Christmas photos lost in albums or photo boxes.

Hidden Picture Cowl by Sara Spencer (look for the owls!)
Later Gator Hat by Ashley Rao
Dalahast Stocking by Amanda Scheuzger (right) and Snow Bird Stocking by Kristin Spurkland

Back to knitting, though. Lisa provides a good reminder in her editor's letter, below. Making knitted gifts should bring joy for both the knitter and the gift recipient; it's not a knitter's race to the finish line!

Here's Lisa to tell you more:

Make It Yourself

Can you name your favorite holiday memory?

Do you have a single specific moment or afternoon that you cherish? What are the elements of that memory? For me, my best memories center on making: in the kitchen with my mom and sister, alternating between prepping, cooking, and sitting down for a hand of cards. Making a fire, jumping up from my knitting every so often to adjust a log, or add one. Creating gift tags for presents.

Knitting gifts has always been part of my holiday making, but it hasn't always led to happy memories. More often than not, gift knitting was a blur of stressed-out speed stitching, pinned to a couch, which for all its proximity to a crackling fire and glinting tree, felt all the world like punishment to me.

How about you? As the year draws into its second half and even closer to its final quarter . . . do you hear the clock begin to tick faster? Do you scan your WIPs, strewn about your home or neatly bagged, as they may be? Do you think to yourself, "Okay, if I can finish that sweater this weekend, then I can finally start on my holiday knitting"? Do you write up a list of people, with things like "cabled hat" and "shawl" written next to the names? Do you sort your stash, piling skeins up according to project, to person?

Of course, we love to give. We love to knit precious things for those people we cherish. But as knitters, we tend to be overambitious, over-inspired even. It can be tough to find the right balance this time of year.

Personally, I stopped trying to make everyone a gift each year. I knit gifts very selectively now—so that I can actually finish them in time and so that the making of them flows into my joyful creative time, next to baking and wrapping and planning parties.

The truth is, this special holiday issue is not intended to serve as a "gift for everyone on your list" pattern collection. The designs in these pages are meant to serve as inspiration, to fit into your knitting and your holidays as bits of joy, comfort, and delight.

If you find the perfect gift for that special someone, wonderful. If you find something to make for yourself, either before the holidays pick up or after they slow down, wonderful. Or, if you just need a new project to work on during those fire-lit hours, alone or with loved ones, then hopefully you'll find something here. Make your holidays memorable, and let your knitting always bring you joy.

Download your copy of Holiday Gifts now, or pre-order the print magazine version—it'll be shipped to you on August 20, 2012.

P.S. What are your holiday knitting plans? Leave a comment below and let us know!


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