I know many knitters punish themselves between October and December 24th to make Christmas gifts for the knit worthy (and not so knit worthy) friends and relatives. While I have many family members who would welcome a knit gift, I'm terrible at deadline knitting.
So instead of making all my knit gifts due at once, I've switched over to the Birthday Sock system, where those who have earned the right for knitted socks get a pair around their birthdays.
I started doing birthday socks for my mom in 2011. Not only were they the first pair of birthday socks, they were only the third pair of socks I had ever knit.They were not a success. I'm not sure if it was the yarn or the gauge or the knitting, but she always found the socks really bumpy on the soles of her feet.
The next year was more successful. This may have something to do with the fact that it was the 11th pair of socks I had knit in 2012. She quite likes this pair and I get some joy out of knowing that my mom has a pair of stripey hand knit socks in her drawer.
This year's pair was not what I had planned. I had planned on making her a pair of Jaywalker's in Felici Cochineal (a yarn she had spotted in my stash and called dibs on), however when it got to be Christmas and I hadn't even turned the first heel, I went to plan B and gave her one of my Felici Sport pairs. For those who didn't get to enjoy the wonder that was KnitPicks Felici Sport, this is a magic yarn. It self-stripes but is a heavier weight yarn which makes for warmer, socks (and if you knit it at fingering gauge makes socks that don't show any wear after dozens of machine washings and dryings).
I'm not as self sacrificing to use up on of my few remaining skeins of Felici Sport on my mother (who is a rock-star who I love greatly), but it also happened that I managed to make the feet a tad too long and they fit her perfectly.
Her other pair are still on the go. I'm currently working on reducing the gusset on the second sock, so I have just two feet and toes left to knit on that pair, so I'm thinking she might get them for Mother's Day and I will do another pair for her for her birthday in October.
Now, onto the reason I'm talking about this, my brother-in-law Jim's birthday is this Friday and I think he is only going to be getting one sock. I gave it a good go to have a pair done for him, but a few changes (including me designing my very first pair of socks for him using a new-to-me yarn) have held me up.
However, I still think the birthday socks idea has merit. I get to knit socks, something I love deeply, without causing my sock drawer to overflow and because my knit-worthy family members have the decency of spreading their birthdays around the year (January, May and October) I have a fighting chance of getting all the pairs made without making myself miserable.
I already have Carla's birthday pair all lined up. Also, because she likes an afterthought heel on her socks, I will have an excuse to try a very cool technique I haven't used before and know that they will fit the recipient reasonable well.
So what about you? Do you try to do the Christmas knitting thing or do you spread your gift knitting out over the year? Or are you one of those who is always knitting for Christmas so when it comes time to give gifts you just have to dive into your gift box and the knitting is all there waiting for you?