Saturday, September 29, 2007

And with the Fall comes…


Yes, children, it is once again time for that peculiar holiday strain of Knitting Fever to strike otherwise (at least mostly) rational knitters, and convince them that they can, in spite of jobs, children, housework and other pesky little day-to-day irritations, complete sixteen pairs of socks, five scarves, ten hats, twenty iPod holders AND five complicated Fair Isle sweaters between now and the ho-ho-holidays.

Knitting fever takes different forms at different times of the year. There is the sudden “need” for lighter yarns in Spring. There is the enthusiastic joining of complicated lace-knitting teams in summer, “when I’ll just have ever-so-much more time, being as the kids are out of school and all!”

I’ll give all you parents out there a moment to stop laughing.

OK, that’s enough.


You can stop laughing now.

Normal knitting fever is bad enough. Normal knitting fever causes things like…excessive stash accrual, or taking on projects we really know aren’t good for us but we just can’t help ourselves, because the pictures the Yarn Harlot posted were just ever-so-gorgeous and after all, how hard can a lace-weight shawl in five parts be? (Really, really, really hard.) (Do check out That Laurie’s guest-host series going on right now, though – the woman has mad skills.)

But I do believe that the Christmas strain of knitting fever stands out from the rest with its curious combination of joy, love, optimism, insanity and number-of-Valium-pills-needed-for-recovery. It’s OK to give that stinky coworker a stinky Jack In The Box giftcard – but for people we care about? Please. We want to give them a pair of socks that set us back $25 for the yarn and twenty hours worth of time! BECAUSE WE CARE, DAMMIT!

As the Fall Equinox came and went, my thoughts turned to the coming holidays and the list began to be made. To my credit, I actually do have a few things already knit and set aside – but to my embarrassment, the projects for the vast majority of my list are still ‘some assembly required’ (and in one notable case of refusal to be sensible about things, ‘some yarn purchasing required’).

Since we are allegedly painting in the bedroom next weekend (oh Lord, I can’t wait to tell y’all what we’re up to in here, but I will wait because right now I am on ‘knitting madness’, and I’m practicing my New Year’s Resolution to stay more focused), I’ve begun removing my stash from the open wire shelves (soon to be replaced with built-in cabinets, yay) and bagging it up for a few weeks storage. As I go, I’ve been making two basic piles: Yarn I’m going to need for Christmas gifts, and yarn I don’t need for Christmas gifts.

This afternoon I added another project to my Christmas knitting list; I added it with great enthusiasm, and rushed to picked out one of the more beautiful (which should be pronounced, ‘complicated’) patterns and went stash-cruising for the yarn and added it to the pile of things I’m setting aside specially for the Christmas knitting.

Perhaps it is because I have not had any booze today (booze helps with my suspension of disbelief), but as I added 2,200 yards of 2-ply yarn to that particular stack I was struck by the sheer size of it and, for a brief moment, I had Clarity.

There is no way this is all getting knit up. Unless I give up everything else through the holidays (don’t tempt me), there is just no way. It takes me twenty hours of knitting time (approximately) to make a pair of socks from start to finish, including time taken to sip coffee, go to the bathroom, make more coffee, you know – the essentials. I get an average of two hours a day of knitting time, sometimes more and sometimes less. This means that I have enough time for four pairs of socks, period.

Not four pairs of socks, two shawls, two sweaters (one teen-sized, one XXL mens) (!!), one scarf and one hat/scarf/gloves set! Not to mention that the Denizens, in spite of having declared their sweaters ‘too itchy’ last year, are asking me with alarming regularity about what I’m making them this year.

But rather than handle this like a sane person and say, “OK, so! I’ll be giving Person X a nice gift card, and Person B a book”, I’m making deals with the devil. BECAUSE I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS!!!

Now, if I stay up until 10:30 every night and bump the alarm back just a measly half hour to 4:00, and if I were to hire a maid service, and stock up the freezer with Kids Cuisine…

This is knitting-speak for AAAAAACHOOOOOOO!


I’ve got Knitting Fever, Christmas Edition.

What’s really hysterical about this is, my current project two three projects are not Christmas knitting. No! They are personal-private knitting! The Yawn-Worthy Raglan? Mine. The current Socks in Progress? Mine. And the hat I’ve been dithering with while reading blogs? Likewise mine – which is particularly hysterical because I do not like to wear hats. I just feel that I need one, because I know that they create a lot of warmth and I will want warmth the next time I go camping, which will not be soon or possibly before February, BUT IN FEBRUARY I WILL NEED A HAT.

That I have actually almost lost the tips of my ears in snowy climates rather than a wear a hat is lost on me right now. I HAVE THE NORO, AND I AM MAKING THE HAT - FOR ME. TO WEAR. IN FEBRUARY, WHEN NEXT I GO CAMPING.

You just can't argue with that great a lack of self-awareness, people. Believe me, I've tried. I know that I will knit this hat, and put it into my camping stuff, and when I get to the campsite in February I will take it out and look at it and say to myself, "That's a good warm hat in a glorious colorway - I should wear that!" and then I will stuff it under the seat of the car and pretend I lost it because I don't like to wear hats.

Undaunted, I say to myself that given my tendency to finish a sock a week just while waiting for children at assorted events, I will be fine on the socks. And all I need to do is add an extra hour (or twelve) to my daily knitting routine and I will certainly be able to finish all that other knitting (including not one but two fairly large and complicated shawls) by Christmas.


I am completely mental. But at least I can honestly say: It’s a sickness, and I cannot be personally held responsible for it.


Rabbitch said...

Well, after you find out that Noro makes the itchiest barbed-wire on earth, cunningly disguised as yarn, you can always give the hat away. See? There's one Christmas gift done already! (Um, I have issues with Noro. Can you tell? Not that I'm bitter or anything about all of the Noro I bought and then subsequently gave away ...)

Anna said...

I understand the phenomenon of the fever. Last year I made a cool blanket for my mom for Christmas (I try to make one blanket as a gift a year). It went so well, I was convinced that I could do one about every six weeks and make about 5 of them this year. No problem. Easy. .......Ask me how many I've actually done.

0.9. That's right I haven't even completed the only one I've started. And it's not really a Christmas gift. My husband asked to make him a big blanket.


Next year! Next year will be different. Yeah, sure.

Amy Lane said...

And you know who spreads this disease? Other knitters! "Oh yeah, I'm gonna do this, and this, and this too...what are you knitting for Christmas?"

I don't want to talk about it. My Christmas plans are so ludicrous, the knitting Goddess actually set my cat on my glorious Kaffe Fassett sock yarn to smack me back down to sanity, and it didn't work because I'm already making plans to go buy more.