Happy New Year!
I don't have many resolutions for 2016, but there is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately: I need to have a better handmade gift stash this year.
I like to make things, and I do make a lot of things throughout the year, but it doesn't take much to make you realize that you're woefully understocked when you have more gift events than you do time and you want to give a gift that's handmade and lovely. Like....say, when three women in your close friends and family decide to have babies in the same month. Or when your bank balance reveals that you won't be buying Starbucks gift cards for people at your kid's school and you'd best haul yourself to the yarn stash. Can I knit three cowls and four mittens in the span of a month? Why yes, it turns out I can! But should I?
Uh, the muscle at the top of my forearm is telling me I should not.
I know I'll get caught shorthanded at some point this year, but I'd like for it to happen less often. My goals for the 2016 Gift Stash include:
-some baby stuff. Any ol' baby stuff. It's all cute, it's all small, and as long as it's machine washable it's all going to be appreciated.
-some cowls. Cowls are great, and even noncrafters appreciate them. I'm working on buying my yarn in a few more neutral colors so I can have some handknits on hand that aren't....generic, but just more readily welcomed by a larger audience. I might love some handpainted variegated yarn, but not everyone will. And I want something that just about everyone will love. Just two cowls all knitted or crocheted up and rearing to go could shave actual metric tons of stress off of my life.
-a prayer shawl. I've never made one, and I hope I don't need to give one away. But I'd like have one ready so that I can quickly wrap it up and give it to someone rather than look for yarns and a pattern while feeling concerned about a grieving loved one.
-hats! You can make them big, small, slouchy, cabled, plain, tight, long, short--it doesn't matter. I feel like there's no wrong way to go with hats. I've been in an earflap mood, and I've discovered to my unending delight that people who wear hats to keep warm really don't seem to mind if their hats look goofy. You can't go wrong with hats! (Unless you give them to someone who's either unappreciative or just not a hat person. But that's a different set of problems entirely.)
So! Here's what I've got to get me started. This is a baby blanket that I finished earlier this week:
It's Square #49 from 99 Granny Squares to Crochet. I've made three blankets with this pattern and I don't know when I'll get tired of the way front post crochet stitches add some texture to these simple squares. I love this. I made thirty squares and stitched them together in five rows of six squares. I crocheted a couple of rows around the edge and now I have a pretty big baby blanket in my arsenal and I don't even know anyone who's pregnant!
I feel so good right now!
Next up is the Martha Cowl from Crochet Scarves and Cowls:
Forget what I said about more neutral colors. This is a pattern I've wanted to try for several months that looks really great with a mix of colors and I really liked this yarn. It's the Folklore colorway from Loops & Threads Impeccable Ombre, and it's really lovely in addition to being trusty ol' acrylic yarn that's ready for some hard living and careless washing habits.
The pattern is pretty easy to keep up with once you get the hang of it. It did take me a while to get the hang of it, though, which is fine. This looks like it was fine, right? It was fine!
Since I wasn't crocheting on a deadline, I wasn't too perturbed at having problems following a pattern while being interrupted every 15 seconds by my daughter asking questions or saying "Hey, look!" because 1) like I said, I was in no rush and 2) it is impossible to do much of anything when you're being interrupted every 15 seconds by someone saying "hey look!" and then you actually have to look and come up with fresh and inventive compliments for that someone's Lego-building skills. That's the biggest reason I want to be more intentional with the TV and crafting time I enjoy so much after my little girl goes to bed (although that sore forearm thing is a close second): I have Lego creations to compliment and games of Candy Land to lose. I've decided that 2016 is going to be the year I enjoy myself and I'm just not the kind of person who enjoys that rush of adrenaline you get from weaving in your ends ten minutes before you give your project to someone. What I do enjoy is going about my regular mom life while I think about my fabulous gift stash like I'm a dragon with a cave full of treasure.
I'd better get back to that cowl!