The weather is briskening and colors are turning and it's time to pick up the needles again.
Every year I mean to start gift knitting in August, but it's just too hot to hold wool in one's lap. And the humidity makes the yarn drag on my fingers. Blame global warming for my progressively later start every year.
Among this years' backlog, I have a birthday gift to finish for Saturday (status: on schedule, provided I spend most of Saturday knitting. If I'm ambitious, I might be able to finish that other thing I wanted to knit for her). I promised to make Naomi some leg warmers out of this soft teal alpaca that I got cheap on clearance last year (does anyone have any pattern suggestions for kid sized leg warmers?) I also have to make her another red fingerless glove to match the one that got lost last spring. There is the gift for the as-yet-unknown pollyanna person (assuming I'm going to find out Saturday, please let it be a woman, they are so much more interesting to knit for). And of course there is the knitting for E I do every year, which I haven't given one iota of thought to yet, except to write this sentence.
Knitting gifts is something I love to do because I can't help but think of the person I'm knitting for. I think of them from a practical standpoint ("will this fit their hand? will the color be something they like? will they care about that reversed stich I didn't notice until I was too many rows past it to consider ripping it out?") and I think of them, personally (remember the time when we taped ourselves making a radio show, and paged though a Teen magazine for ideas for commercials? remember when everything we owned had to be pink and black?)
The downside is that I have all these ideas of things to try for myself (a shrug! arm warmers! a shawl! a little bag!) but by the time January comes I'm sick of knitting. I start a few projects and never finish, so I have a drawer full of halfway completed things for myself. The girls often fall into this category as well, though Naomi is good about making sure I finish whatever I've started for her. I have a soaker for Miriam that's many sizes too small and not worth finishing (maybe I could turn it into a hat?). I have a blue hat from two years ago that should take an hour to complete except there are so many more interesting things to be knitting. Last year I didn manage to eek out a pair of striped fingerless gloves for myself (aka the handsweaters, pictured here at octoberfest, a day of silliness and revelry and dancing. And that lady there is my friend Garland's (ex?) girlfriend, and it looks like she's feeling me up but she totally wasn't), and I wear them to death even though they are not my best work (the thumbholes are loose. the top edge rolls too much, I should have bound off in purls instead of knits. the finishing is sloppy).
If I do manage to finish all my gift knitting without burning out, I want to try something more ambitious, like a poncho, or a sweater. You can't take those kinds of risks with knitting for others.