Nov 8, 2015

Holiday Knitting? Try a KISS Plan

Truth time: Every now and then I bite off more than I can chew. (Does that ever happen to you?)

I seem particularly inclined to do this in the months and weeks leading up to the holidays, but I've promised myself this year is going to be different. (I swear!)

Rather than turn the season into a frantic, stress-filled knitting marathon, I've made two crucial changes: I've started earlier. And I've developed my very own Holiday Knitting KISS Plan. (KISS stands for Keep It Simple & Straightforward. Ahem.)

Here's how it works:
  • List. Create a master list of  all planned hand knit gifts along with the recipient's name and a basic progress bar.
  • Swatch. The first step for each project is to make a small, gift-worthy swatch or simple ornament.
  • Prep. Because the swatches and ornaments will eventually be hung on the tree, they'll be carefully blocked and feature a hanging loop.
  • Tag. I'm creating two simple tags. The first says: Handcrafted with love just for you! The second says: Santa got delayed, but a handcrafted (scarf, shawl, afghan, whatever) is on its way!
  • Knit. Tackle each project in whatever sequence works.
  • Plan A. When the project is finished and ready to give, I'll wrap it, attach the "just for you" tag, put the gift under the tree, hang the swatch/ornament and I'm done.
  • Plan B. If the gift isn't quite ready, I'll use the "Santa got delayed" tag, wrap the swatch/ornament as a small gift or simply hang it on the tree.

My hand knit gift list isn't extensive, but I already feel more in control. This is undoubtedly delusional, but it's a good feeling nonetheless.

One way or another, everyone will have an actual or token gift in hand, so instead of mumbling apologies or appearing with the bleary eyes and caffeine jitters associated with desperate late-night gift knitting, I can relax and enjoy the occasion. (At least, that's the theory.)

If there were little ones in the picture, I'd make sure their presents were ready before tackling gifts for grownups. Luckily the kids in our extended family are in their teens or early twenties, so they'll be fine with this approach and happy to receive their gifts whenever they're finished. 

We'll see how well this plan works as holiday deadlines grow closer. Meanwhile I confess I'm looking forward to this bonus: The joy that comes from seeing the house and Christmas tree decorated with a fresh (albeit temporary) crop of hand knit ornaments.

What's your plan for keeping holiday knitting manageable? Feel free to share!

The Christmas Tree pattern has been released!
To buy it now, click here.
To read more about it, click here.


  1. Haha, I gave out several "IOUs" last Christmas, so I can relate. Thanks for sharing on the Knitting Love Link Party.

  2. Good luck. I am impressed that you have started already. I have so far written a list, lost it, written another and started knitting myself a cardigan. Hmmm maybe your IOU gift tag is a good idea. :-)

  3. Oh I think the knitted gift voucher idea is genius - what a perfect way to take the pressure off!

  4. I can't seem to produce knitted wonders with a deadline looming so I don't try. I like your plan.

  5. Good idea on your tags! I am pretty sure all of mine would have the second...I need to start knitting in January for Christmas :-)

  6. Your list makes sense! I am working on Christmas presents but my kids know I'm a beginner. They are patient. :-)

  7. What an excellent plan! I love the idea of having the knitted ornament as a standby gift. I'm sure my gift recipients would much rather receive an ornament and a promise rather than the usual half damp, poorly blocked over the car's heater on the way to deliver gifts gift they normally receive.


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