Everyone’s on mine this year.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not mad at anyone. I’m just eschewing that three-month-long amalgamation of stress and expectation and inevitable disappointment known as Christmas Knitting.

Part of it’s because I’ve just become the embodiment of the selfish knitter: I make what I want, why I want, for whom I want, and honestly, none of that involves wanting to stress myself out over it. And part of it’s just that, as I do incrementally more so each year, I’m just way the hell over Christmas in general.

Interestingly enough, this is the first year I actually feel like Christmasifying my house. I want the candles in the windows and snow on the ground and stockings being hung by the chimney with care. I want a tree, with lights and ornaments (well, those I have: I’ve been receiving them as gifts for several years now, so I’ve built up a bit of a collection). It might have something to do with the fact that this year, for the first time in our five-year relationship, my husband and I have a fireplace in our home. (Okay, technically, there was a fireplace in the first place we lived, but that wasn’t really our home. We each rented a room from the guy who owned the house we lived in. He had a fireplace, and used it, but we didn’t really have a Fellowship Around the Hearth kind of relationship with him.) This year, we moved into a home where we actually want to have people over, and we want it to look nice when they arrive.

It’s weird how it worked out. It’s not that we’ve lived in such awful places, they were just, well, inadequate somehow. (Or not ours.) We went from boarding (for all intents and purposes), to a tiny student apartment, to a small house, to a slightly larger but much nicer house. The larger house works out much better for having guests, for cooking meals – what with the intact countertops and appliances from this century – and even for things like commuting and running errands. (I learned this firsthand when our car was out of commission for two weeks and I had to make a Target run.) And we wouldn’t even be in it if someone in our old neighborhood hadn’t kicked down our neighbor’s door and stolen his gun. (And yes, the quality of the neighborhood was one other reason we didn’t like having guests.)

Anyway, we have a proper home now, and I want to make it shiny. So I’m actually in the mood for knitting Christmas stockings, and baking cookies, and stringing garland. I just don’t want to make any frigging hats or scarves for people who are mailing-distance away.

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In other news, I’ve done something I never really thought I would: I joined a KAL (two, actually).

As far as knitalongs go, it’s of the loosest and most informal variety: I actually finally decided to do a Sockdown, even though I’ve been a member of Sock Knitters Anonymous for awhile now. Even though I don’t like deadline knitting, it’s a very loose set of restrictions: you have two months to make a pair of socks, and the pattern you use has to fit into a certain set of parameters, which themselves are rather wide. For example, the November challenge is either cables or over-appreciated patterns (those with over 1000 projects), or a pattern by one of the two featured designers. At least a quarter of the sock patterns in my queue would qualify.

I have been on a bit of a pattern-buying binge lately, and I realized that the number of patterns I’ve bought has far outpaced the number of paid patterns I’ve knit. I’ve been wanting to knit Cookie A’s Symmetrical Cables ever since I bought Sock Knitting Master Class¹ on a whim, and the November KAL was just the push I needed. Besides, I like encouragement, I like having people look at my projects, and I like prizes (or even the possibility of them). And I really like ticking items off my burgeoning queue².

Anyway, it’s actually pretty interesting seeing the progress others are making, and the patterns they’re choosing, so I went ahead and planned out socks I’ll do for the rest of the Sockdown challenges this year. I still am not sure I’ll ever want to do a MKAL, though, at least not where socks are concerned. I have this need to tweak patterns before I make them, usually to flip them around from cuff-down to toe-up, although sometimes I’m also trying to mod for fit. A 60-stitch sock, in fingering weight, on this foot? Not gonna happen. (Sometimes I see 56. Who are these tiny people? How do they stand upright?)

¹ If you do buy a Kindle version of a knitting pattern book, I highly recommend you get the Kindle app for your tablet or computer if you don’t have a Kindle Fire. I have a 3G Touch, which I love, but the screen is black and white, and doesn’t really do it any justice.

² 1821 items as of tonight. It is a lot, but I’m not a total queue-slut. If I queue a pattern, it means “I like this and would make it.” Often, I go ahead and download the pattern file, both so it’s immediately available to me when I want it, and in case the designer decides to make it a paid pattern. When I buy a new yarn, or am wanting to start a new project (I don’t always go in order of my queue), I look in my queue before I go searching through the pattern database. Also, 234 of those are Wish List patterns. I wish the Wish List feature were independent of the queue, and could include non-Ravelry-downloadable patterns (such as those available only in print), although I suppose I could do that with my Favorites if I were so inclined.

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