The packages have been opened, the ooohs! and aaahs! are over, and now I can talk about the projects I completed! I didn’t post ahead of time because my children, parents and other recipients check out my blog more frequently than I realized until this Thanksgiving! So rather than spoil their Christmas, I just kept quiet. But now I can show everyone what I did this fall!
I did lots of gloves this year. Gloves for my husband, sons, mother and mother-in-law and gloves for myself (see the October 25 posting). I used Knit Picks’ Andean Silk for my husband and my older son, who is currently living in the northeast (courtesy of the US government). I also used another Knit Picks yarn – their merino Sock Landscape in the Cape Cod colorway was the choice of my younger son. I used Debbie Bliss cashmerino for my mother and mother-in-law, and made them each a sinfully soft pair of DK-weight gloves.
Knitting gloves for a person gives ample time for reflection and prayer. I thought about my DH’s large, seemingly clumsy hands that have always been gentle, whether changing a diaper on a small child or helping up a stumbling spouse. My husband is a quiet man who is the center of our family – we all revolve around his laughter and kindness.
My mother’s hands are beginning to show the signs of the arthritis that has become the bane of her seventh decade. RA is a great deal more than a television commercial if you’re living with it every day. Yet she continues to spend her time doing for other people, either family members or members of her church family. Her hands are competent, sturdy and graceful despite the swollen joints.
My mother-in-law has very small hands that belie the strength within her small frame. She taught special education for decades, and is now spending her time serving her family and church family. She only grudgingly gives in to the restraints her body is beginning to impose.
My older son has flown the nest. The Navy suits him; he’s happy and busy and learning new things every day. His hands have toughened since June; the palms are broader, the fingers stronger and new callouses have formed. My best Christmas gift was to have him home this year. It was a bittersweet time, since I realized just how little he still needs us. But he has the maturity, sweetness and grace to pretend otherwise, and I’m so proud of him.
My younger son is straining toward the door. He’s a senior in high school, anxious to go on to his next challenge. His hands are a combination of his father’s and my own – a broad palm with long, tapered fingers that always move gracefully. He’s a graceful young man, with a bit of salt mixed in with his sweetness. He’s both the athlete and the musician of the family, and I can’t wait to see where his talents and drive take him.
I also did purses – one for a young friend, one for my older son’s fiancé, and one for my younger son to give. Those are fun, since fulling the finished knitting hides any ‘mistakes’ and intensifies the colors and textures. They’re a fast knit compared to something more detailed, and fitting is quite flexible. Purple is ‘in’ right now for young ladies, and since I also love purple, these small bags were simply a pleasure to make.
My daughter has definitely flown the nest. She married this year, and her Christmas was given early so that she could spend the day with her new husband. I did a hat, scarf and purse for her from some thick and thin wool novelty yarn. Hopefully it will keep her warm and remind her that we all love her while she’s creating a new family life. I miss the younger and teen-age years, and wish her all the best in her new adult life.
Then there were the sweaters, made for the grandchildren. A tradition seems to be in the making. This year's offerings: A fun alpaca boucle´ with pewter buttons in the shape of a turtle dressed my granddaughter in high style.
My grandson got a more traditional look. I’ve loved Elizabeth Zimmerman’s commonsense approach to knitting for a long time, and decided to make her Tomten Jacket for my toddler boy this year. His young complexion looks best in neutrals and bright colors, so I used Knit Picks’ natural Wool of the Andes, trimmed in handspun brown Shetland wool dyed with cherry kool-aid. The toughest thing was putting in the zipper – machine-sewing zippers doesn’t bother me at all, but hand-sewing in knitted fabric took all my courage! I followed EZ's toddler-size pattern, and can only assume that Elizabeth’s children were larger than my own! However, he’ll grow into it in no time at all.
As for my own gloves – I spent a great deal of their knitting time praying for patience and healing. It’s been a difficult year from several standpoints. My husband still continues to look for work, my daughter has presented us with her own set of challenges, and my son’s departure for the service was difficult emotionally, even though it was a good decision for him. But I look forward to 2006 with hope for a wonderful year.
I wish you all a happy 2006, filled with love and joy and peace and fiber!