Friday, December 9, 2011

The Christmasmaker

Yesterday I drove up to Perth on a button quest. The quest ended in failure, but I had a nice visit with Janie H. and Heather, her able assistant. While sipping some truly excellent Earl Grey tea (Fairmont's own brand, purchased at the Fairmont Montebello I was told), Janie casually asked if I was "ready for Christmas". I suddenly realized that I wasn't and, furthermore, apart from decorating the window boxes and planters with greens, I've done nothing. That's right, NOTHING.
The Globe and Mail has an article today headed, "Got a Christmas present? Thank a woman."  I've always resented the fact that in our household I am the Christmasmaker. I know that if I do nothing between now and Christmas, there will almost no gifts under the tree (and for that matter, probably no tree) and no Christmas dinner with the much anticipated mince pie.I know I should get over it and just get on with making it all happen, but damn it all, I'm tired of it.
To make matters worse, this year I'm knitting and writing up a pattern to a deadline. When I made the submission to the publication in question, the anticipated deadline was in November, but since then it's been pushed back until early January and, because the yarn for the project only arrived the day before yesterday, there's nothing I could have done to get ahead. I'm really looking forward to the publication of this design, and the yarn I'm privileged to work with is beyond gorgeous, but the fact is that I'm going to be working hard on the entire endeavour between now and New Year's and that means (a) no time to knit those special last minute gift projects, and (b) not enough time to devote to other holiday preparations. I'm a little stressed.
My solution is a plan. Here it is:
Dec. 9-11: Knit the yoke to the underarms (the cardigan is top-down). During these 3 days, walk over to A-1 to buy a pair of slippers for James. I know he wants a new pair.
Dec. 12-15: Knit the body. On one of these days, make a trip to our local mall, the place I almost never go, to pick up something for Isabel from H&M.
Dec. 16: Wet block the body to check the sizing. While it is drying, work on formatting the write-up of the pattern, which thankfully is already written, and spend part of the day walking through our local shops putting together "stocking stuffers". (Note to self--visit Cooke's for special teas and other treats).
Dec. 17-20: Knit the sleeves. On the 17th, James and Isabel can put up the tree while we play a recording of the Messiah--the one from Washington National Cathedral, where James was a chorister for several years. It's a family tradition.On the afternoon of the 20th, bake some gingerbread as a hostess gift for neighbours who have invited us to a party that evening.
Dec 21-22: Knit the borders and collar; sew on the buttons. Stroll over to our local Indigo bookstore and find something for Bill.
Dec. 23: Wet block the project. Done. Yay!
Dec. 24: Make the (vegetarian) mince pie, (I use an oil pastry recipe from one of the Moosewood cookbooks with the filling from an ancient copy of "Laurel's Kitchen"). We'll go to the 11:00 p.m. choral eucharist at St. George's Cathedral (established 1792), just a couple of blocks from home.
Between Xmas and New Years's Day, which inconveniently happens to be James' birthday, I'll have time to knit something special for him while completing the formatting of the pattern.
There, not so bad after all. I feel much better.


  1. The 'to be dones' stress me too. But once I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I breathe easier.

  2. I'm going to get this book out of the library. It looks great.

  3. I'm glad you've got some lovely yarn to work with on the sweater! Even though the pressure's on, it's at least nice. Can't wait to see the result.

    I can relate to being the Christmas maker. I'm counting on Canada Post to deliver the last of the presents I've ordered this week & I don't have to worry about the feast as we'll be touring the province.