Thoughts on knitting and gift-giving

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I think we’re due for a miscellaneous update tonight!

Let’s see, what’s been happening. Well, I ripped out the red and pink yoga sock-in-progress last week because I didn’t like the puckering that was happening with the checkered pattern. Yesterday I started again and I’ve nearly finished one yoga sock. It’s red with pink stripes on the first section, then after the gap for the heel I’ve made a rather cute stranded pattern which I wish I had thought of at the beginning! I don’t know whether to make the second sock the same, or go for something different just to be contrary. I’ll wait to photograph it when it’s done, so I don’t jinx it and then have to rip it out.

The Denise needles are very comfortable on the hands compared to the aluminum needles – maybe that’s why the vest is not progressing very fast. I seem to be deliberately distracting myself from it. Still, there’s no deadline, so it doesn’t matter.

Did you know the Winter Knitty is out? I haven’t had a proper look at it yet but I always love something in it (and the patterns are FREE). I think this has to be the wonderfullest (!) photo in the world…

it’s a Tushy Cushy – yes a cushion in the shape of a derriere. But it’s the baby that makes this photo so darned appealing.

To change the subject yet again, I made a rough meal plan for December. I generally have a plan for all the dinners for the week, then make my shopping list from a master list of all the foods I usually buy. For December, Lego Nut decided he was going to make the meal plan for Yule week (from the 18th on). He went through a vegan cookbook from the library and wrote out his plan. It’s way more detailed than my plan for the rest of the month, but we’re going to be having extra desserts and mince pies and our Solstice dinner that week, so it’s worth thinking ahead.

At the weekend, I did my weekly shop, but I doubled or tripled the non-perishables in the hope that they’ll last until the end of the month. I don’t want to be fighting the crowds as it gets closer to Christmas (and listening to all those tacky Christmas songs) so if I can stock up on everything except the produce then that works for me!

When I look in my kitchen pantry, my refrigerator and even my cold storeroom in the basement (which is holding the overflow) I feel so blessed that we can afford this abundance. I thanked Tai Chi Man for earning the money that allows us to buy all this wonderful food. We’re not extravagant …. we don’t entertain at this time of year or go out to parties …. we don’t buy alcohol …. we go out to eat once a month at most …. our Yule meal will just be something simple for the five of us …. and our gifts to each other will be inexpensive …. but we buy and eat good quality food and consider ourselves fortunate to be able to support our health in this way.

And finally:
I made a gift for a friend today and it made me think about sharing my philosophy of gift-giving. In a free magazine that I brought home from the health food store this week, I found a recipe for spiced roasted almonds. I made a double batch, knowing that I would want to eat some myself! I filled a jar with some of the almonds and put a cloth square over the top of it to pretty it up a bit. I made a pomander out of an orange, sticking cloves into it, making a hanger out of some i-cord (from my knitting mill), and tying some cinnamon sticks and a pine sprig on top. I wrote out a coupon offering my friend a free computer-help session (she usually insists on paying me for my time, so that coupon is worth about $20 to her). This bundle of gifts from me to her took a little of my time and very little money, but I know she will appreciate it.

I want to encourage more people to think simple for their gift-giving each Christmas. Why get stressed and in debt every December when you could step back from the pressure and think of things that people will like that might only cost you some time – like hand-made coupons for things you can do for them in the coming year?

Having those almonds already made today had a side benefit. A neighbour called at the door to say Happy Christmas and have a chat and he offered us some of his apples from this year’s harvest. When I went around to his house to collect them, I took a jar of almonds as a Thank You – great timing, eh!

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