Christmas Knitting

by longtallyarn

When I think about Christmas knitting I remember with a smile one of my favorite projects from the past….

My sis started knitting a few years after I did and she didn’t take right off with it, although she makes a respectable stitch now. For what seems like months or maybe more than a year there was a pair of unfinished mittens, her teacher’s idea of a beginner’s project, on a shelf in my mom’s basement. Sometimes I would enjoy reminding her that the mittens needed her, but eventually the pattern was lost and so was her interest in finishing them.

When I was thinking about what to giver her for Christmas, the most clever idea occurred to me: I would pilfer the one lonely partial mitten and the yarn meant to become the other one and I would finish them for her and wrap it up for December 25. So the next time I visited my parents I snagged it all.

I had to change needle sizes to match that tight gauge used in the beginning. Once that was sorted out I quickly tapered the fingers and finished the first mitten. Then I saw the next problem. One finished thumb and no pattern. While the rest of the mitten could be duplicated by a relative beginner like myself–a certain length of ribbing for the cuff, stockinette for a certain number of rows, then make a thumb, I didn’t know how the thumb had been made.

Now I know that it was a gusset type thumb and I know how to make one, but I would still have to work out its positioning by trial and error. I broke out Knitter’s Almanac, my only knitting reference book way back then, and followed Elizebeth Zimmerman’s directions for the Thumb-Trick (Knitter’s Almanac, 145)–the easiest thumb I can imagine for a mitten.

So the thumbs were somewhat different. In the same spirit I slightly mismatched the placement of the contrast stripe across the fingers, tapered the second mitten, and bound off. Done.

Feeling smug I wrapped the gift and sat back to await December 25. I had made something I was sure someone wanted–as she had picked the colors herself and actually begun the project. An added bonus to the recipient and the giver was that neither of us had to face the tedium of knitting the second mitten.

The dawning recognition on her face was glorious. I think she was totally surprised. “Is that….??? Did you finish my mittens??… Yes you did.” Laughter all around.

Better to give than to receive, maybe, but I wish everyone on my list had unfinished knitting laying around 🙂