25 November 2007

Handmade gift pledge

This year, I'm determined to not buy anything for anyone this holiday season. I'm going to try to make everything. I'm sick of spending huge amounts of money on my family, for impersonal gifts they may not really even want or need. I'm giving them basic things that they are more than likely to need/wear. I hope they understand the time and effort involved (I've read horror stories), and how much more personal it is for me to do for each of them. I'm sort of at a loss for what to give some of them, but I guess I'll figure it out as I go along. Luckily, my siblings and I decided not to exchange gifts. There are 5 of us, plus 3 brothers-in-law. We usually do a secret santa type of gift exchange, but one less gift to worry about is alright by me.

I'm finally started on the Clapotis! I am using an inexpensive no-name brand yarn I found on ebay; it's an alpaca and merino blend. It's fairly soft and seems like it'll be nice & warm this winter, but light enough to wear as a wrap in the spring. It's a very pretty color (though I personally do not like blue so much) that I hope my mom will like. I have no idea what her favorite color is. I'm a horrible daughter.

I've been knitting the Clap for long stretches of time over this Thanksgiving weekend, (since my plans were ruined, I've been knitting whilst watching marathon reruns of America's Next Top Model--the shame--and feeling sorry for myself), and I find that it's fairly easy, and pretty quick too. I've just gotten to the second repeat in the straight section, where the drops start, in about 2 days (I'm not the fastest knitter--I've only been knitting for about a year). I thought those drops were going to be much scarier than they are, but it's really not bad at all.

Depending on how quickly the Clapotis knits up, I may even make one for one of my nieces, though I'd really like to give everyone something different, specifically made for them. I've got three of nieces, ranging in age from 18 to 13. I have no idea what I'm going to do. Handmade socks or maybe mittens in hand-painted sock yarn (I can finally try out koolaid dyeing)? Some sort of silver jewelery using all that damned art clay that I've had for MONTHS and still have not used? Or I can sew some sort of shirt with funky fabrics. Or I can sew tote bags out of hand-screenprinted fabric, with cute designs that all of them would possibly maybe like.

Teenage girls are weird. I should know--I used to be one a very long time ago. :P

On top of that, I owe one of them an extra present: I have a bunch of glitter vinyl to sew into a bag/purse of some sort, which I was supposed to do for her birthday (*cough*inAugust*cough*). I'm scared to cut it. And sew it. I got a special teflon foot for my sewing machine, but it's just so intimidating.

As for the nephews, one is 21. I have no idea what to do for him. Maybe handwarmers or a hat with skulls on it? The other two boys are 5 and 7. They are both tiny, at any rate, so anything I make for them will (gods willing) be relatively fast & easy. One of them allegedly likes hats. That is a good start. I've been looking at all the childrens' patterns on ravelry.com, and I have a few ideas (sweaters, toys, hats, mittens, etc), but I have no idea how long any of that will take to knit. The only frame of reference I had is the BSJ that I knit this fall, but I mostly did it over 2 weeks while riding the subway to & from work.

Oh yeah, here is a picture of the finished BSJ! I was pretty happy with the way it turned out, and I think the recipient (well, the mom) was pretty impressed that it was handmade especially for their new baby, and seemed to genuinely like it. I think she also appreciated that it wasn't boring baby blue or washed out yellow. I told her that I'd do one later for Max with skulls on it, and she seemed super excited about that. There's a cool pirate-y pull-over in an issue of knit.1 from February that would be perfect.

I suppose that Alexander McQueen sweater I wanted to make myself this winter will be on hold for a bit longer. I guess I have time between Christmas & New Years... Fingers crossed that I can finish it before it gets too warm to wear alpaca.

By the way, am I the only one who gets totally grossed out when people refer to yarn as "yummy?" Seriously, all I can think about is when I get cat hair stuck in my mouth or throat, and it just makes me want to gag and choke and puke, and how yarn fiber in the mouth is no picnic either. Yummy? No! Vomit-inducing! Do not eat! JUST SAY PRETTY. Geez.