Monday, September 10, 2012

Christmas Crafting: Choosing the Focus of your Labor Wisely

With Christmas just under four months away, it's time to really get into gear with any holiday giftable crafting you intend to do.

As always, my list stretches a mile long, ranging from things people have asked me for to really fun things I desperately want to make for my little nieces and nephews, not to mention my own little Lulu. I don't have to tell any fellow crafters about the conundrum of people asking for things when you already have a full queue of projects lined up. So what to do? This year I'm focusing on the kiddos first and foremost.

I found the cutest mittens I have ever seen on Ravelry, inspired by Yo Gabba Gabba. We are quickly becoming fans of that show in this house. We're not much for tv for babies, but occasionally when we're having a really fussy late night or a really early morning following a late night, it's a lifesaver. So I'd love to make Lulu and her cousins some of these. My nieces, my sister, and my little cousins have all been requesting amigurumi for a while now, so that is something I'd like to knock out this year. Elizabeth Doherty's little pig is a particular favorite. But Lulu also needs a new winter hat and scarf.

So the question becomes, what will my speed and availability allow me to make off this list, and how do I prioritize? I would love to think that after 10 years of crocheting, I'm fast enough to finish it all, but experience tells me that isn't true. Projects drag on for one reason or another (usually finishing), and I find that speed crocheting, like speed reading, removes some of the joy from the process and makes me feel like an assembly-line worker. Nobody wants their joyful hobby to turn into factory work, amirite? And besides, a good portion of the projects are knitted, and after almost 5 years, speed knitting is still not my forte.

So what's left? I think to prioritize the projects and just get through what I can by Christmas. If nobody knows what you're planning to give them, you can always buy them a gift in the event that you're unable to finish on time. Then if you do finish the piece, you can always save it for the next gift-giving opportunity arises. I am not the best at finishing intended holiday projects from the previous year because staring at that list is just so fatiguing after months of working down it, and new patterns are always cropping up that I want to try, but this year is going to be different, dammit! (If it's not, forget I ever wrote this)

I think top priority has to be Lulu's and my winter wear, followed by the nieces' and nephews' mittens, because those are not only fun but also functional. The amigurumi will take last place on the list. This could backfire, because even if I find myself with ample time to finish them (unlikely), they are the most tedious projects to finish and that could really trip me up close to the finish line. As a matter of fact, there is a one-legged deer staring at me from my bedroom dresser as I write that has been there for about a month now. Ugh. It's eyes are so cold and haunting as they wordlessly implore me not to leave another Frankenstein creation only partially finished.

How do you handle holiday crafting? Is it a constant tug of war between your heart's true crafting desire and your list of knitting and crocheting obligations, or do you just say, "Eff it," and do what you want?