Ornament Memories, Gifts, and Sleeve Knitting

I am finding myself randomly humming Christmas songs as I walk about and get my chores done, the giving season has started for me.  Earlier this week, I pulled past purchases from the year out of my closet in my studio room to see who in my family is receiving what gift. Years ago I started to shop for the holidays all year round.  If I see something that I think someone will like, I buy it.  The problem is that sometimes I forget what I have (that comes with age I guess).

So I do inventory, I make piles on the carpeted floor and assess the gifts.  This year I also knit gifts throughout the year-that was a wise decision for me.  My shopping burden and knitting burden is light.  When we exchange with my side of the family, we have a money limit that makes the holiday affordable and fun.

My sister and I started a holiday tradition for our children years ago that the gift would be money (they love that!) and a Christmas ornament.  When they leave to start their own families, they will have an abundance of ornaments from this tradition.  Two years ago, my tree was brimming with homemade ornaments, so much so that I thinned out all the triples, quadruples, and made a bag for each of my children-again for their future trees.  My mother was a prolific ornament maker-I love decorating the tree and holding some of her creations and remembering her. I also have a few of my grandmother's creations.

I am nearly finished with one sleeve and soon the other sleeve will be on the needles.  Sleeves take forever mentally and I wonder why?  I did decide to knit them back and forth adding an extra stitch on each side for seaming.  I'll let you know what I think and how it goes.  Because I'm crazy, I volunteered to knit a test knit on ravelry for a friend.  She wrote up her first pattern and I saw it on my friend activity page and fell in love.  So that is the green creation above.

I have one tiny snag, I'm not sure I have enough yarn!!  So when it's late at night I knit this hat and wonder "is there enough yarn?"

That my friends is how I live on the wild side of life!

Psst---I'm having a giveaway that you can read all about over here. I will be announcing a winner on Monday :)


  1. Oh, yes, I live that same wild and crazy life!!!! (I spent the better part of last night trying to find some yarn in my leftovers for the socks for the 5 year old....and finally just wound a new skein of yarn. I couldn't take the drama of knitting two at a time...finding contrasting yarn for heels and toes if I ran out/thought I'd run out....I'm sure of all my friends, you understand this best! It was a nail biter of a night!)

  2. We started a gift limit with my family too. It's nice looking or making that one sweet thing for everyone. I love the ornament/cash idea. My girls have gotten an ornament each year in their stocking, so they can have an assortment when they leave, but K has asked to not put some of hers on the tree this year because of our mischief making new kitten.

    Glad I'm not the only one humming Christmas songs!

  3. I had to rip out my sleeve and start over, it was way too big [I picked up too many stitches.
    Now I have started over and am using size larger needles and I think it is matching the body gauge.
    I shop for Christmas throughout the year too, it just makes life so much calmer.
    Have a great weekend Karen. We are warming up and expecting rain, which we need.

  4. First off, I love your bag! It is large enough to contain two projects at once without cramping either. Love your organizational mind, friend! ;) I have some Christmas ornaments that my mother made and some that we worked on together also. They are precious to me because of the memories from the time we worked on them. Our nativity set is also something that she and I worked on together and holds many memories!

    I love the traditions you and your sister have started with your kids! My mom did the same for our kids and when they left home they were each given their ornaments.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Karen!

  5. I love your family tradition of making decorations for the children every year Karen. You are so organized. I wish I had done the same. Over the years I've bought one or two for Hannah, if I thought she would especially like them. And I still have ones that she made, including a paper angel for the top of the tree. It's looking a little the worse for wear these days.

    Christmas can never come too early for me either. Last night I asked Ahmad when is the earliest that we can get the tree. He loves it too, and said it's up to me. Then I remembered that this may be the last Christmas that we have in this house, and that we planted a Christmas tree in the garden that his mother bought us a few years ago. It's still blooming beautifully. Sadly his mother isn't. I thought it would be nice to dig it up, and pot-it for this years celebrations. Then we can take it with us to our new home, wherever that may be.

    I hope that you have enough yarn to complete the test project. I love the colour. Could you let me know what it is? I'd love to treat myself to some.

    Have a great weekend ( I nearly wrote Christmas then...a bit premature) hope you progress speedily with the sleeves.

  6. Smart decision to buy things throughout the year! Makes the holiday time a lot less frenzied and gives you more time to enjoy it. I make an Advent calender for our girls every year with 24 little goodies in it. It can be anything from a pack of gum, to a pair of socks, some lotion... I buy those throughout the year when I find something that I know the girls would like. I also include an ornament every year so they will have a nice collection by the time they are ready to decorate their own tree. I do the same for my godchild and her brother every year, trying to find something that reflects them or their interests at the time.

  7. Anke I'm similar to you. I have a cupboard where I store little things I've bought or made throughout the year and often buy the odd Christmas thing in January. With four little ones there really is no other way of making sure that their little advents are stocked, but I have to admit - I love the sense of having a secret tucked away!

  8. Awesome! I am starting to buy throughout the year now too--it makes things so much easier! Knitting throughout the year is such a good idea too! Happy happy giving season to you! Love the ornament tradition:)

  9. I hear that if you knit faster, you won't out of yarn. So far, it's worked for me. ;-)

  10. I started listening to Christmas music November 1st. : ) We have an ornament tradition with our kids, too! Each year everyone picks a new ornament, which I label and date. The kids love seeing the ornaments they chose when they were little. When they move out and have their own tree, they will leave with a boxful of ornaments and Christmas memories. ♥

    I think we have the same kitchen cabinets!

  11. The Christmas music is on here :) I love your ornament tradition, great idea. You sound a lot like my mother who shops all year round for Christmas too! I tend to make all year round :) Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. "Sleeves take forever mentally and I wonder why?" I completely echo these sentiments. This was another lovely post. I like pairing the money with ornaments, I really believe when we make the holidays simple we get more out of it. This post makes me want to embrace the holidays in a pleasant non chaotic way. Some Christmas or classical music and either stew or a baking project ...

  13. It is getting to be the season, isn't it? We do ornaments for our kids for the same reason...those who are on their own love that they have ornamental memories to hang on their trees. :) Year round shopping always sounds like a good plan, but I just never manage to do it. Today I'm off on a shopping trip with my AnnaLynn who has birthday money to spend. She wants a new pair of boots, so I'm hoping we can find a pair she likes!

  14. so many things I could comment on here.
    but the only thing I am drawn to say is how envious I am of your tidy living room.

  15. I love the ornament idea! I think I may have to borrow that idea from you :o)
    I have to agree with you on the sleeve thing! I swear they take longer than the main body bits! Perhaps it is because we think that they will knit up in a jiff by comparison - and they don't really ;o)

  16. Every year Ree's god-mother gives her an ornament for Christmas. I'm going to mention the idea to this new baby's god-mother too. I love the tradition! My mom also makes ornaments every year that she puts on the cookie trays she gives out. I love that too! Most of our ornaments on the tree are handmade, either from my grandmother, my mom, or my husband. I have plans for Ree & I to sit and make a few ornaments this year too. It makes the tree a history & so full of memories. I love it!!

  17. My little guy has been singing "We wish you a Merry Christmas" ever since he saw a Christmas tree on a magazine cover in the bookshop a few weeks ago!
    And, like you, I have been buying throughout the year, and then forgot about some of them. I guess they'll still be good Christmas 2014 :)

  18. I love that idea about the ornaments. I find myself thinking the same way for my daughter as she becomes and adult. I know the day will come sooner rather than later now when she will have her own tree. I have the same exact knitting bag and as much as I love it, I'm disappointed that the "leather" on the handles has separated and looks so worn. Time to get a new one!

  19. Seems as though everyone is in the Christmas spirit earlier this year. For us, I think it's because it's been extra chilly. I love the ornament idea. When I moved out of my parents house I ended up 'stealing' a lot of theirs!

  20. I love receiving ornaments. When my husband and I started dating one of his aunts starting given me glass puff ornaments each year for christmas. I have quite a large collection and she enjoys finding new ones each year.

  21. Keeping my fingers crossed that you have enough yarn for the last stitch. Fun post!

  22. That is a beautiful tradition. I often give a gift of beautiful ornaments for a wedding present, it sounds strange but after years and years the couple can say they got the ornaments on their wedding day. I think you are suffering from second sleeve syndrome, which is directly related to second sock syndrome.


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