I've noticed that in December knit and crochet types divide
naturally into two camps:
- Those who have finished their gift-making.
- Those who have not.
If you're in Camp One, congratulations. You might want to keep
If you're in Camp Two, what are you doing reading this? Have you
looked at the calendar?
The calendar is looking at me, because I'm in Camp Two. I am
always in Camp Two. I have standing reservation for a Lakeside
Cabin with En Suite Bath in Camp Two.
It's my own fault. Each year, in early summer, I lay out a plan.
I decide who is going to get knitted gifts, and what they're going
to get. My plan looks something like this:
Notice that this is a short list of small
projects. I do not propose to knit lace shawls for the mail
carrier, the mechanic, and all the bartenders who have flirted
with me during the previous fiscal year. Two hats and a scarf, to
be completed by Thanksgiving. A novice could pull that off and
still have time for matching mittens.
Matching mittens. Matching mittens would be cute, wouldn't they?
Aha! You see? That's what happens.
In management parlance, it's called "scope creep"–the
nature of projects to grow in scale and complexity over time. I
come down with a bad case of it every June the way some folks get
allergies. I start with scarf, hat, hat. Then I decide on scarf,
hat, hat, mittens, mittens, mittens. Then I decide to design them
all myself. Then I decide to do them all in stranded colorwork.
Then I decide to do them all in skinny yarns.
Then it's December, and I'm only half finished with the second
hat, and I snarl like a mad dog at anybody who comes near to the
corner where I've holed up with all that pretty, skinny yarn. For
a long time I thought maybe this was a guy thing–my competitive XY
chromosomes pushing me to show off instead of just getting the job
done. Surely, I thought, if I were a woman I would be more
sensible. Then I became friends with a woman–a crocheter–whose
holiday scope creep ought to be in a medical museum, behind glass.
"I decided to make a hat for my son's math tutor," she said. "It
quick, and I liked the pattern, so I used the leftover yarn to
make a hat for his piano teacher. The piano teacher got her hat at
Thanksgiving and mentioned it to his soccer coach, who comes to
her book group. So I made a quick scarf for the soccer coach."
"I see where this is going," I said.
"No, you don't," she said. "I made the scarf for the soccer
coach in team colors and he wore it to a scrimmage. One of the
other mothers pointed out a boy on the team whose family isn't
doing so well–both parents just lost their jobs–so I felt like
maybe he could use a scarf. But you can't just do a scarf for one
kid, so I decided to do them for the team. Plus the assistant
"Wow is right. One of the assistant soccer coaches is married to
the head coach of my daughter's field hockey team."
"Did you get everything finished?"
"I did. I lost the feeling in my left hand on Christmas Eve, but
I finished. The final count was forty-seven."
"I hope everybody was grateful."
"They were. I got a lovely cards from both teams, and my kids
think I'm a rock star."
"A happy ending," I said.
"Sort of," she said. "You know what my kids say goes great with
scarves? Matching hats."