Sometime around the beginning of September of last year I started to get emails about holiday knitting. I remember laughing and thinking, "It's only September!" Like most Americans, my Christmas shopping doesn't usually start until the end of November; Black Friday to be more specific. I'm not one of those last minute shoppers, but starting in September just seemed so absurd to me. I didn't give it another thought for almost a month.
For the past two years, most of my Christmas gifts have actually been souvenirs that I picked up while studying abroad and put away for when I'd finally be home around the holidays. This year I didn't go anywhere. Suddenly I was going to have to top novelty gifts from foreign countries While in the past two years I could have simply picked up a plain shot glass that was suddenly exotic and wonderful because of its foreignness and a simple shot glass just wasn't going to cut it this year.
I hadn't quite reached panic levels yet, telling myself it was only October, and for the few people I would actually buy gifts for I'd be responsible and wait for Black Friday, when I could afford to buy that DVD set for my brother, or those cookbooks for friends.
My mother was another story. She'd been hinting all year that I 'could just knit something' for her. After some time and deliberation I decided on the Cabled Button Wrap by Erika Flory. A nice simple wrap; mostly stockinette, with some cables. It was simple enough to carry around since I couldn't work on it in the house while she was there, but just complex enough to be interesting.
I ordered the yarn around the second week of October, leaving me about two and a half months for knitting, and I thought I was golden. Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran, a gorgeous yarn in her favorite color, she was going to love it. And it got lost in the mail and I contacted the company to have it resent. Then Super Storm Sandy hit Jersey and our world was one big kerfuffle.
We spent ten days without power or heat, our only news sources were the paper or people calling to tell us what they'd heard, the post system was a nightmare, and we were sick to death of soup. I was so busy with the clean up and trying to get things done while it was still light out then by the time I could have knit, it was too dark to see and I was too exhausted to even think about it.
Eventually the pieces of our world fell mostly back into place, and I remembered I had ordered the yarn. By the time the yarn showed up it was November and we had just gotten power back. I could breathe a sigh of relief, both for power and heat, and for the yarn and start secretly knitting so Mom wouldn't see it. It took just short of a month, but I finished, and I had almost three weeks until Christmas. All that was left was to weave in the ends and then wash and block it and it could be packed away to be wrapped when Mom wasn't around.
The perfect day practically fell into my lap. She was going to be out late one day, giving me almost seven hours to let it dry without worrying. The wrap was washed and draped over towels in the living room being pinned when my mother called. She wasn't going to be out late, now she was going to be home early. In about two and a half hours instead of seven. Oh, and if I was thinking about knitting her a Christmas gift, she'd like a red hat please. I don't think I've ever blocked any thing that fast in my life. It was stretched and pinned in half an hour. That's saying something since it was longer then the table I was using and took a bit of creativity. Also, that's when I learned we don't have a hair dryer or a fan that would work to speed up drying. One frantic phone call to my gran and I was armed with her ancient hairdryer. I swear it was probably older than me. I stood over the table with the hairdryer for almost two hours going slowly over the wrap; over and over and over until it was dry enough to put away.
She got home just in time to see me doing the same for Da's Christmas gift of several new hats. Christmas morning came and she loved the wrap. This year I'm going to start planning my Christmas knitting in August and I promise never to laugh at those who start ridiculously early again. Maybe I'll buy a hair dryer of my own though...you know, just in case....
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