A Radical Approach to Holiday Knitting

By Kay Gardiner
October 10, 2016

“Before I got my MDK mug, my beard was wispy.”

Actual quote from Kurt Cruse



We happen to know where one could procure some Rifton.



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  • I am thinking mittens this year, mainly because my hands are starting to get cold. Mittens are fast and easy, and you can usually find someone to fit a pair.

  • That’s how I do it. This year it’s shawlettes. I start in August. Not everyone gets one. Others get wine. I try to rotate.

    Sweaters are not Christmas knitting for me. They are necessity knitting for the kids and gee-I-love-you-here’s-a-hug knitting the rest of the time for the rest of the people. I give those away as the mood strikes me year ’round.

  • Usually I knit socks for all, but that requires planning and foresight. It’s been a stressful summer, so this year it is going to be hats, in agreed upon colors and patterns.

  • I do this every year, all year long I knit accessories that are new or different, maybe teaching a new skill or trying out a new yarn. At the end of the year I decide which piece best matches someone’s personality. Everyone is happy.

    • My exact same approach that works beautifully and produces nonpressure!

  • right now the knitting is on hold, and crocheting is the word of the day. as in a queen sized, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle afghan. It’s so boring, it even makes the presidential debates look good.

  • I will take this approach too. I already feel less pressured.

  • Back in August, I decided that this Christmas, I was going to knit what I wanted , put it all in a basket, and let my knit worthy people choose. So far, I’ve made a hat, ear warmer/headband, fingerless mitts (that I’m contemplating keeping for myself). I’ve also added a pair of housesocks and mittens that I made for myself that turned out too big. I keep feeling like I’m behind so it may have to wait until next year.

  • I’m in! I hate the deadlines but have many knit-worthy friends. Accessories for them, sweaters for me. I need to add a few more men’s things to my cache of gifts. I knit more hats and cowls than mitts (second-mitt-syndrome!) and hate socks so no one gets them. Great plan!

  • Ungifts are are a great idea. I don’t even wait for a seasonal occasion. I just give them as I make them. Acts of random knitwear giving are the best. Or if you give me even the slightest compliment about what I have on the needles, it’s yours.

    You’re in Nashville ’cause I’m in NYC…sigh.

  • Love the mitts and love *your* dealine!

  • I think your mitt pattern will be my gift of choice this year. I hope the postman brings the pattern soon.

  • I’ve been doing it that way for the past few years, and it works really well for me…never need another reason to knit any item that strikes my fancy, even if it’s a garment or color I won’t wear myself. “The gift drawer” is where I tuck away all the washed, blocked, gift socks and hats and such.
    And sometimes I have the opportunity to invite a non-sock-knitting guest to choose their own pair of socks from the assortment in “the drawer”…bonus happiness all around!

    • Oh my gosh! How do I get on your guest list?!

    • Wow! That’s awesome!

  • Speaking of sweaters, Rhinebeck is coming up…;-)! (P.S.: Olive likes sweaters. Hint, hint.)

  • I’ve been knitting socks for everyone for Christmas this year, starting early. So not my normal of knitting what I want and then deciding who gets it. Last week I couldn’t take it anymore and wound up some of the Clara Parkes Shetland yarn for an oversized Hansel I’ve been dying to cast on. I’ve been in heaven ever since. Someone will get it as a gift eventually, but its so much nicer to knit what you want and worry about who gets it later. Someone eventually says “Oh I love that…will you make me one?” and I just hand it to them with a “Wear it in good health”. Less pressure and it all works out in the end. Happy knitting this Autumn.

  • Brilliant!

    (Umm, one of you guys is my Secret Santa, right?)

  • This year, I started making my pile in January. I made a lot of different things and plan, very soon, to put name to garment for giving. This year also, I started to crochet and thought I could use up my lovely stash by crocheting thick lovely blankets. I have 2 done and one on the hook. I think of these as family gifts. Most of my gifts have to be shipped to the Eastern US and Canada so getting them done is a priority.
    Hopefully, I’ll find that I have enough completed so I can start the knitting for the locals. These are gifts that can still be given “on the needles” and finished nearer to New Year! We’ll see how this works this year. Best of luck to everyone.

  • My Thoughts exactly! I can no longer knit for hrs at a time and do what I can. I like the idea of putting everything in a basket and letting the family pick what they want.. hummm…do we need rules?

  • I have made gifts for my mom’s family for the past few years. I pick a pattern and make between 6 and 10 iterations of it for the girls, and I pick another and make 2 or 3 for the guys (depends on who’s going to be at my aunt and uncle’s for Christmas. Show up? Get present). The first year it was cowls, the second it was fingerless gloves, and last year it was hats. I made all of the hats from two skeins of Miss Babs Yowza, all in purple, because they all, guys and girls, are Ravens fans and will wear purple. The fingerless gloves were in a few different colors (all in the Spud and Chloe Campfire Mitts pattern for the girls–it’s a great one and uses about 100 yards of fingering weight). I chose the color for each recipient but told them to feel free to trade with one another if they wanted. The cowls were all in the same yarn, because I hit a going out of business sale on a whole bag of Malabrigo worsted.

    They all seem to appreciate the handknits, which is awesome. I’m kind of out of ideas for this year, though. Maybe fingerless gloves again, but in a different yarn and pattern. I have two crocheted afghans (one for Dad, one for Mom) to finish first, so there might be a time crunch.

  • This year I instagramed all of my projects (28 from my stash, part of my 2016 resolution. The family members that would receive and use hand knits are noteworthy of an age of specific wants and needs. I told each of them to check out my instagram and tell me what they like and it would be theirs. This made me happy and cleared out my stash, and really, how many shawls, socks and hats do I need?