The Eye of the Beholder

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts is just full of knitting patterns, but it also offers tidbits of holiday goodness for us, the knitters of the gifts.

One of my favorites is on the last page; it's a trio of stories from Interweave staffers that all tell the same tale: Not every knitted holiday gift works out exactly as planned. Here's one of those little stories:


"The year I started knitting lace, I decided to knit shawls for three of the women in my life.

The three shawls were very different, chosen specifically to fit the personalities of their intended recipients: My grandmother's was a mellow green with a finely etched, intricate pattern of feathers; my mother's was a bright, vibrant pink in a bold allover pattern; my aunt's had frills and ruffles all over in a deep jewel tone.

On Christmas morning, they all opened their identical soft packages. Every lady looked disappointed.

They immediately started admiring the shawl another woman had-and then started bargaining and haggling and trading with each other. My grandmother's gentle, old-fashioned lace went to my girlish, frill-loving aunt. My brassy mom wanted my aunt's ultra-feminine ruffles and frills.

And my quiet grandmother claimed the hot pink shawl as her own, adding a box of (also regifted) handmade candy to sweeten the deal for my mother. People know what they want; who am I to tell them otherwise?"

—Eunny Jang, Editor

I love this memory of Eunny's, and it reminds me of a Christmas a few years ago when I knit both my mom and my sister-in-law a scarf. They were totally different; one was a feather-and-fan design knit in a cream, cashmere-merino and the other was a fun mix of a novelty yarn held with a red cashmere. They opened the packages at the same time, looked at each other, exchanged scarves, and then looked at me like, "Sorry, but…"

Fleur-de-Lis Pincushion by Tammy Eigeman Thompson

I just laughed and gave them my blessing. My ultimate goal was for them to be happy with their gifts and to wear them, so I was happy, too.

This year I'm thinking of something totally different for my knitted gifts. I'll knit several small gifts, such as a hat, a pair of footies, a cowl, the Fleur-de-Lis Pincushion from 2010 Gifts, and some fingerless mitts. I'll wrap them all and put them into two boxes, one for men and one for women.

On Christmas Eve, when my family opens just a few, choice gifts, I'll pull out the box and let people choose a package. If they'd rather have something someone else chose, they can beg, barter, and steal. I think my family will enjoy it, and I love starting new traditions.

Want to start the tradition with me? Get your copy of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts and start knitting those little presents!



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