Knitting Christmas presents is a BAD idea

This is my first Christmas where I have been at a skill level where knitted presents were an option and at first I was totally pumped to knit EVERYONE something fantastic. Yeah…. No dice. My problems were multi-leveled.

  1. The huge disconnect between what I enjoy knitting and what people would appreciate receiving. I start projects based on what I feel like knitting, what techniques it uses, and how fun I think it will be to knit. The utility or likelihood of that item being used once finished plays a very small part in my choice of project, and this problem is magnified when it comes to giving items away as gifts. I may want to knit a cabled shawl with a hood but that doesn’t mean there is anyone I know who would appreciate and use that item.
  2. Starting too late. Things often take me longer to knit than I expect, and it has nothing to do with the speed at which I knit. I’m actually a pretty fast knitter. No, the problem is that I get sick of projects and am constantly switching between different projects with different techniques and different levels of difficulty. I may only work a total of six hours on a pair of socks, but those six hours may be spread out over a month.
  3. Crippling insecurity over whether what I knit is even good enough to give to anyone. I know that I love my projects, but I also see all the errors and mistakes and shortcuts. I’m fine giving myself imperfect things, but it seems really rude and jerkish to give others items I know not to be perfect.


#3 is my biggest problem at the moment. Right now I am working on a pair of mittens for my eldest sister. (I’m using the free pattern “Norwegian Mittens for Mimi” by Anna Mazzarella.)

Norwegian style mitten

Behold the embodiment of my insecurity

My sister is allergic to wool so I am making them out of acrylic, and in an unexplained attack of arrogance I decided that I should make a stranded pair of Norwegian-type mittens. Have I made mittens like that before? No. But CLEARLY the best time to try a brand new style is for a gift you need to finish on a set deadline. Honestly, what the hell was I thinking…


What was i thinking!

So I started the first one and at first I was all “Hey! no problem!” but as I progressed through the mitten I became less and less happy with it. I finished it but it isn’t something I am proud of. I have some distortion due to some of my carries being too tight, and it just doesn’t look polished. Another problem is that I clearly (and very stupidly) made the cuff WAY too short, I think because I was impatient to start the stranded knitting. Yet ANOTHER problem is that I screwed up on the pattern on the inside of the mitten and it is all inconsistent and terrible looking. And I didn’t just screw up ONCE on the pattern, I screwed up TWICE! The bottom third is different than the middle third is different than the top third. Seriously. It looks awful.


So now I am stuck. Christmas is a week from today. I have enough time to do the other mitten (as long as I can eventually manage to make a left handed mitten) or I can bin these mittens altogether and just knit a basic (boring) pair of mittens for her OR I can just not give her a knitted item at all… I honestly don’t know what I am going to do, but time is running out. I’m also torn between trying to make the second mitten better, or making the second mitten with the same pattern screw ups so at least they match.