Page Turners

Knitting is like reading a story sometimes…you never know where it's going to end up.

This knit started out as a gift for a Secret Santa gifting I was participating in at my school. The Secret Santa Exchange was a week long event. We all filled out questionnaires about things like which candy we liked, what we liked to drink, favorite scents, favorite colors, etc. The first few days, we would keep the gift to under $2 (this is pretty difficult to do, usually, when you see today's prices on various goods…nevertheless). Then, the last day, the “BIG” gift would be $25.

I got a lady that I work with now that I actually used to attend high school with years ago. I was SO tempted to buy her a Boyz II Men CD, lol. Nice lady.

Now, truth be told, I lost her questionnaire ages ago. But, I could remember she liked a lot of the same things that I did. For instance, we shared a lot of the same favorite colors (orange, blue, bright pink, etc.), we both like ginger ale, we both like Twix candy bars and chocolate, and once upon a time, I liked to read too…(ahem, moving on), etc., etc.-you get the picture. I noticed all her favorite colors were part of a yarn I had spun a while back which I had intended for mittens for Girl Child but had since changed my mind. So, I kept that in the back of my mind to think about mitts for her. I wanted to do some creative things with the gifts, so…here went nothing.

Day One: I made her a mug cozy for a mug I found at the dollar store that had the word “cocoa” written all over it in different fonts. Since we have a Keurig in the faculty lounge, I put a cocoa K-cup in the mug along with a small package of the red Lindt chocolate truffles and a red origami heart. Nice intro.

Day Two: I gave her a tiny orange-colored, furoshiki-wrapped origami box with some egg nog candies and tiny bottles of nail polish in the colors she liked. I put a green-apple candy cane in the handle and clipped a little hair bow to it (she's into her natural hair styles). It had a tiny origami heart inserted into it as well.

It was around this time that she caught me spinning on bus duty.

Now, I had NEVER seen her while on duty before and this was the first day I was spinning on a bus duty. There are very few students coming down my hall at that time and it keeps me awake. So, she comes up to me and asks me do I knit. Cover blown to smithereens. I told her yes, all the while just thinking that I am the worst Secret Santa person ever! Lol! She told me she had been wanting to knit for awhile herself and just continued to make small talk while I silently wished the floor would open up and swallow me whole. I knew most of my gifts had some kind of fiber/knitting related item in it, so I just had to suck it up. The week was full of holiday activities and there really was no time to rethink the ones I already had set aside for this.

Day Three: Because she likes to read, I gave her a copy of The Very Stuff by Stephen Beal. It's a book of poetry about color, fiber and women. I knit a bookmark to go with it and stuck it in the book. Then, I bandana wrapped it and left a bottle of ginger ale with it in her mailbox.

Around Day Three I had finally found some patterns I liked. I settled on Cozy Morning Mitts by Nerdy Gerdy that I purchased on ravelry.

It's a fair isle pattern and I had almost no time to really swatch it multiple times. And I wanted to use my own yarns…add to that that I couldn't ask her to let me measure her hands (um…awkward). This was already enough to make me think twice had I been using normal brain power.

But it had to be these mitts! I liked the details on it. There is a heart on the thumb and a snowflake on the back of the hand.

Cute! But, I could tell her hands were slightly larger than mine. This is the part where I think my lack of sleep was killing my logic. Getting up at 4:30 am, going to work and staying up past 2 am in the morning to knit, just doesn't mix. I don't recommend it. After knitting a couple inches, I could see (if anyone with over thirty-years old eyes can truly see under those conditions) it was going to be too big on the needles it called for-basically sizes 1 and 3. I think…the circumference looked like it might be 8″-8.5″. For some reason, that seemed too big. I wanted more like a 7.5ish. So, I started knitting them on size 0's and 1's! But, then, it seemed it would be too small (like 6.5″-7″). I tend to knit loose, generally. But, fair isle patterns can make you feel like you are the tightest knitter on the planet!

And these are my handspun yarns which both have a different quirk of their own (didn't spin them with any goal in mind except to see them finished, as per usual) and they have VERY different diameters. Why didn't somebody slap me?! I'm sure if I had told you guys sooner you would've slapped me, right?

At any rate, I was racing against the clock just to see if these would work out at all. By the time I had hit the bed I had only half the first mitt done.

Day Four: The next day, I wrapped up a bar of Twix with another bandana and I used some bead bracelets I had found in the dollar store in her favorite colors to tie it up. Another origami heart.

Not bad for a week of small gifts.

But by then, the entire time, I was stressing over the “BIG” gift. Would they get done in time? Would they fit?

In the end, I decided I couldn't give these to her because by the end of Day Four, I had finished the first one and was working on the second and they were fitting my hand-which meant they wouldn't fit hers comfortably at all. I was also running out of yarn fast. I was on the edge of my seat just trying to see if they would last! I figured maybe the 8″ circumference probably would've been best if I had more yarn to work with…maybe. The fair isle would’ve probably knocked it down to where I needed it to be. In hindsight, the little swatching I did was using only one yarn-and it was the finer one at that-to test the gauge in stockinette. Again, sleep would’ve been helpful here. I probably would have run out of yarn before I was finished if I had stuck to that first gauge though. But, then, since I decided not to give these to her after all, there was no pressure anymore to have them done by Friday morning. So, I decided, if they worked out, maybe I'd give them to my SIL for Christmas. More on that later…

Instead, I bought her Stitch n Bitch by Debbie Stoller, some plushy yarns in her favorite colors, some size 15 needles, and a bucket bag from Barnes & Nobles. I tied the handles together with a scarf, put an origami heart in it and took it to her.

I told her that I had already blown my cover, but I had hoped she liked everything. She said she hadn't even made the connection until WAYYY later! Ah well. She loved everything. Makes me feel all warm and gooey inside. :)

Back to the mitts…

So, I finished these by Friday night with plenty of time to get out to the stores by 7:30 to get tree decorations (another story).

Funny thing was, I was so happy with them, I decided to take them out with me for the ride (no blocking or anything yet). I wore them with my green Never Not Knitting Cowl and went to get some stuffs for the tree. And who do you think I should see in the check-out line? Why, my SIL. Of course! Busted.

Oh, just forget it! They're mine.

Merry Christmas to me! :)

 

Comments

  1. I love your yarn, the colours are so beautiful.

  2. those gloves are gorgeous!

  3. Love the way you told that story! I feel your angst, but I’m not going to lie … I was laughing out loud. Which one of us hasn’t had that kind of experience for some person we’re trying to gift? :D

    Love the mitts. Glad you found a deserving person to give them to ;).

    P.S. Can I be your secret santa person next year? Just sayin’ You had me at Boyz II Men cd. LOLOL!

    • Rofl!! I couldn’t believe that both times I got busted! It just wasn’t meant to be, lol. Of course, I can always use more mitts and these are extremely warm, so…not a bad consolation prize at all. ;)

      Lol! It’s a date!

      >

  4. Those mitts look so delicate and gorgeous!!! Drool…..

  5. This was such a fabulous story! Where I work now, we don’t do Secret Santas, but I have had a few good ones in the past. I can tell by your story that you were an amazing SS. Love your Christmas gift to self. Enjoy and here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas. :-)

  6. haha great story. love that after all that saga the mitts became yours :)

  7. Sometimes, things are just meant to be for you. Beautiful mitts. Enjoy them.

    • Thank you! I have been! I hope they enjoy me too though. Using them at the gas stations might not be their idea of fun. Again, I initially made these for someone else. I’m still working on my girl factor, lol!

  8. Susan Long says:

    They are so beautiful! Very inspiring! What a great use for a little skein of handspun!

  9. Clearly they were meant to be yours! They’re gorgeous; I’d have wanted to keep them anyway in your shoes!

  10. What wonderful gifts you gave. The mitts are beautiful. I know you will enjoy using them after all that hard work.

  11. Next year, I want you to be MY Secret Santa! I hope the gifts you received were as thoughtful as the ones you gave!

    • Ha ha! I wish I could be everyone’s secret santa-which means I probably have some huge personal issues, lol! But, yes, I got some great surprises too. Candy and handmade Christmas ornaments are always welcome gifts in my book.

  12. Really lovely mittens- I was going to buy some but you gave inspired me to knit my own xxxx

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