Jessie: In NH, where Christmas is sure to be white.
‘Tis the season of gift knitting in my world. Which is to say, nothing is going the way I had planned.I have projects on the needles and others stretched out on racks still damp and drying into shape. I have balls of wool and alpaca and silk rolling round the floor near all my favorite knitting spots as I consider how best to use them.
But mostly I have re-starts and surprises. I love to gift knit for people who value such offerings and I set out to create such tokens every season. One of my sons loves to open such packages. One of my sisters does too. A few friends and even friends of friends are on the list. So each fall I sit down with the best of intentions.
I search for just the right pattern, pick out the ideal yarn and reach for what I hope will be the correctly sized needles. Then I cast on and begin to play with the project by swatching. For those non-knitting readers, swatching is simply knitting a small piece of fabric to check that the needle is the correct size and that the knitter likes the fabric produced. More often than not the needles are too big or too small and the fabric is not at all what I had imagined. So, I start again with different needles. After a few tries it often occurs to me that the pattern is not correct for the yarn or the yarn is not right for the pattern and I go back to the drawing board.
Eventually, if I am paying attention to how the yarn behaves once unwound from the ball and formed into stitches, I manage to match a pattern and yarn in a way that pleases me. I knit along happily, usually at a good clip, and before long I have a completed project in my hands. Which often leads to another problem. I am forever knitting things for the wrong person.
This year I thought a neckerchief of handspun, hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester wool was for my son’s friend. But the color is more green than turquoise with a defiant tendency towards yellow undertones. I despaired of it until I realised I had been making it for another son’s girlfriend all along instead. It looks perfect for her. I have a sumptious alpaca cowl I thought was for one someone when really it is for another person on my list. I thought a third person was going to receive a hat. They ended up with a scarf instead.
Some of me is aggravated and befuddled by my inability to make plans that don’t go awry. The rest of me is pleased to see how it all works out in the end. It is a lot like writing a mystery. You try out some characters, some scenes and some motives. You end up with plot twists you didn’t see coming and a satisfying ending!
Readers, do you have projects that seem to have minds of their own? Do your gifting plans always go the way you imagine that they will?