After Christmas, when I was a child everyone wanted to know what gifts I received, and I could barely contain myself to tell everyone because I was so excited. (At least sometimes this is how it happened.) Unless, my family had financial trouble that year and then the "fun" gift telling session became awekward and uncomfortable as I waited for my moment of shame (socks and underwear anyone?) Why is it we remind eachother to focus on the true meaning of Christmas before it happens, but frequently focus on only the gifts after Christmas. If we want to remember the true meaning of Christmas all year perhaps we should tone down the part that distracts us from it.
The Christmas gift-giving is, after all, symbalic of God's gift of his Only Begotten Son to the world. This is the one Great Gift we are trying to remember all year long and I want to make sure the temperary things I recieve or give at Christmas don't distract me from it. For this reason, not to mention the mounds of money spent on an extravagant Christmas, I'm trying to simplify my Christmases without giving up the magic of the season.
My brother's family gives only one gift to one another which is frequently homemade for Christmas. I think this is a fabulous idea. Not only does it teach their children to be creative, to learn how to do new things, and be resourceful, it also teaches them to invest time, thought, and care in their relationships with eachother, strengthening their bonds as a family. When you make a gift for someone; you give yourself, when you receive a homemade gift from someone, you receive that person into your life. Maybe that is why an ill-received homemade gift feels so hurtful. But, it shouldn't keep us from putting ourselves out there to love and be loved.
Two of my cousins had baby boys at the end of 2012 so I decided to knit them some booties, one had twins that's why there are three pair. My mother gave me the pattern for these "Stay on Booties" and I have been making them ever since I learned how to knit. I've made them for my neices and nephews, for friends' babies and now for my cousins' babies. It is always great to have a good gift on hand that most likely won't be duplicated (and that is hard to come by.)
Another gift I am accustomed to giving is knitted dishcloths for weddings or just because, and whenever! These are great dishcloths, I found the pattern I learned to knit on in a blog I follow! I've always kept it pretty basic so I've decided I'm going to take my knitting to new levels this year.
My dear mother sent me a package with all of this for Christmas:
Isn't it delightful! Many of you may be wondering what it is..
When I was growing up my mother had several practical hobbies she taught to me, but she took up this hobby when I was a kid and it was neat to learn about it along with her. Spinning is a dying art my mother always wanted to learn, so my father ordered a spinning wheel and a few books for my mother so she could learn how and do it herself.
Spinning and knitting became a part of my happiness growing up, there is something about making your own yarn from things that are produced naturally by the earth and then making that yarn into clothing that keeps you warm that is so... fulfilling. I feel so independent making my own yarn to make my own clothing, and other neccesary items. It just feels right. Spinning Wheels however; are very expensive tools, more expensive than I can afford right now and so I turned to a spinning tool that is inexpensive, but I have found to be just as efficient.
This is a Hip Spindle or Navajo Spindle and it was invented by Native Americans to spin fiber into yarn to then weave blankets (most commonly known today) and clothing. There are many tools people around the world developed for the purpose of spinning yarn so they could make clothing etc. I have tried several types myself, but not only was this the most efficient for me, besides a spinning wheel, it was born in America just like me and it is a part of American Heritage. I am not a "Native American" in the sense of the people who lived here before Europeans transpanted here, but America is my native land and I embrace all of it's history and heritage without division. I believe we are all the children of this great country united under it's history. Everyone may not share this view; I have been called an idealist from time to time, but I still see nothing wrong with a constructive perspective and hope for the future.
Moving on from the Soap Box, I am so excited to have spinning in my life again, and I look forward to coloring/dying my yarn as well. (Any color I want!)
You will notice a large bag of white wool in this picture. It is a whole pound! I will be able to knit several items from this bag, and I will be sharing it with you from time to time! I will eventually move on to other fibers to spin such as cotton, and angora rabbit or goat hair, and maybe some silk! I will be titling these posts A Fiber Fancy so they will be easily searchable. The first project I am knitting from homespun wool is not a yarn that I spun or dyed myself, it is the kit in the photo. This yarn is called Blueberry Mix by Cascade Jewel Hand Dyed Yarn and it came with a pattern for knitted Cornucopia Wristers. I have wanted to knit myself some fingerless gloves for a long time and my mother will be making a pair too since she bought the same kit for herself! I am so excited to share the experience with her and to be sharing my progress with you! Happy New Year Everyone!