Thursday, December 3, 2009

On Not Planning Ahead

I've been knitting furiously in preparation for Christmas. How do I end up rushing every year? I knew last spring and summer that I'd need gifts for people by the end of December, but I never seem to get serious until football season begins, and I'm guaranteed four consecutive hours on the couch each week.

You can see how simple these mittens are. They're made from the same pattern, and the embellishments are basic. They're warm, they're cozy, they're cute, and I'm happy with them until I see something like this, and begin to feel inadequate. My mittens, with their accidental holes and lumps and ill-conceived colorwork, look so sloppy in comparison.

I would love to have the time, focus, and patience to make intricate Scandinavian mittens. It's a dream of mine, but it's not going to happen. Knitting gauge swatches, counting rows, and following patterns makes me cranky. I knit on autopilot, so my hands have something to do while I watch a movie. I enjoy the nearly instant gratification of knitting hats and mittens with thick yarn (the teal pair only took me three days), and lose interest in projects that drag on longer than a week.

This month at school, I'm reading folk tales to the kindergarten and first grade. The other day we read the story of the Three Little Pigs, which encourages us to plan ahead and work carefully, like the pig who builds his house with bricks. If you rush, like the pig who builds his house out of straw, your crummy house will blow over, and if you get eaten you probably deserve it for being such a slob.

But you know what? I understand where that first pig is coming from; he gets the job done and moves on. No boring measuring or reading blueprints at his house.

So you see why the cables in my purple mittens are off center. I counted wrong. No matter, they're still cute and still warm. And we don't have wolves in Maine, anyway.

Here is the beginning of my next pair of Christmas mittens. They'll be violet with some type white accent. What will the final design look like? Who knows, I'll decide as I go.

If you're looking for precision, ask another piglet.


  1. what! no i like your mittens so much more than the ones you linked to! they're more colorful, cuter, and just happier looking. they're amazing, i'd be honored if someone knit me something like that! character > precision.

  2. Those look great Mary! They're super cute. I wish I knew how to knit the "real" way. I cheat and use a knifty knitter.

  3. Lovely lovely looking mittens and what awesome gifts.

  4. I am SO impressed, how are you so talented!?!? These are really amazing, I wish I knew how to knit, these are adorable. I love the vibrant blue color and I bet it will look great with a nice white accent.

  5. Aww...I love your little mittens. It's the flaws (which are undetectable, by the way) that give them character! Your friends and family are lucky to have someone who makes homemade gifts!
    Eco Mama

  6. Your mittens are awesome! I would happily take them as a present.

  7. Beautiful, beautiful mittens! I used to start making my holiday gifts in June when I would knit them all, but it just became overwhelming. I wish I still had the time... You can just feel the love woven into hand-knit items.

  8. I agree. You're mittens are awesome.


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