The earliest that I've had people purchasing yarn for Christmas projects was last year, on December 5th, 2015, for gifts that will be given next weekend - 12 1/2 months later. All year long, customers are planning their Christmas knitting: socks, mittens, a family set of sweaters, and so on - with dedication and love for all recipients.
But around this time of year, about a week to 10 days before the Holidays, we start to see the sweetest, most mild mannered customers arrive with a driven purpose in their eyes - they are coming to shop for their post-Holiday ME projects. It's the time of the year when they don't have to rush to a deadline and/or postpone the projects that they've perhaps cherished all year in the secret cubby of their creative mind; they've found a project that they want to make for its own sake and for their own pleasure. It's delightful to see how much these projects, and the time that people allow themselves for the shopping, mean to the purchasers.
This year, shopping for the ME Festival began in earnest this past week. Some of our glorious skeins of local, hand-dyed baby alpaca from Silver Cloud Alpacas found homes among these shoppers. Also a few of our Colour Your Own Infinity Scarf kits as well as the Felted Mitten kits jumped into shopping baskets. Baby Bamboo by Sirdar in a vibrant blue was purchased for a knitted chemise, but the next day the customer returned to the store to get more as the yarn told her it actually wanted to be a crocheted bolero jacket. What's that you say? Your yarn has never spoken to you to tell you what it prefers to become? All I can say is that someday it will and believe me, you'd better heed the call - beautiful fibre does not like to ignored nor contradicted.
Some folks want knitting that will absorb their concentration and refresh their brain over the Holiday Week. Others (most?) would prefer a mindless treat, something that simply occupies their hands while (binge?) watching TV. I've had lots of requests lately for "Bun Hats". Pictured here, they are simply a toque with an opening to allow a ponytail or "bun" to protrude. This one is called the Holey Hat and it's a free Ravelry download from Slip Stitch Designs.
Tawashi knots to share with everyone I knew (including a full set of 7 for myself). They are delightfully addictive to make, and those who have seen mine will recognize the added value of the 4 rows of Scrubby yarn, as it gently but firmly removes the bits from most non stick surfaces.
This year, I was taken by our newest product from local indie dyer, H'ewe Phoria. At right I've begun a Feather and Fan scarf using Quint Essentials - 5 x 25g skeins of wool (and in this case, sparkling Stellina) fingering weight yarn, hand-dyed in 5 different values of the same colour. I'm beginning with the darkest and plan on working my way through these amazing tones to the lightest to create a sample scarf for the store. I love working the Feather and Fan pattern. I consider it to be one of the easiest lace patterns available: 3 nice boring rows and 1 row when you have to pay attention. Those are ratios that I can get along with.
Azel Pullover has generated, this is another perfectly mindless knit that looks fabulous not despite its simplicity, but because of it.
The pattern ranges from size 2 to XL ladies. It can be made in any of the super bulky yarns that we carry, and each colour and texture of these yarns gives the garment its own flavour. This poncho/sweater continues to be one of the most frequently bought for patterns among our customers, and several have come in already to pick up the yarn to prepare for their down/ME-time over the Holidays.
No matter what your plans, whether you're traveling , hosting, or stay-cationing over the next few weeks, be sure to take time for yourself and enjoy whatever you are doing, honouring the gift of time that we are given during this season.
All the best. See you in 2017.