Ooh, this post has been a long time coming. I'm even embarrassed that it is so late in the evening that I write this. But, I'm happy to say that one more item will be under the Christmas tree tomorrow morning (bringing the grand total up to three). I'm pretty sure the receiver of this gift won't be poking his nose around here, so I feel safe to share.
A while back, Nicholas and I were flipping through Taproot - Issue 3 :: Retreat together and we stumbled across the pattern for some mittens. He mentioned that he liked them and would like to try making them sometime. So, seeing as I would likely be the one teaching him, and suspecting that other things will likely distract him from making them, I set out to make them for him.
Feeling a little cocky from my elevated knitting status (I think I promoted myself from beginner to novice a couple of months ago), I decided to make an attempt at using double pointed needles to knit in the round. The YouTube tutorial made it look easy enough, so I tried to dive right in. And I found a wonderful tutorial to help me with making the thumbhole.
Well, I now know that I am firmly entrenched in "novice" mode. As I was knitting the first mitten, I remember comparing the extra needles as mosquitoes buzzing around my hands as I tried to work. As I worked the thumb, those extra needles became gossipy women getting in the way of my work, as they clanged together and simply felt like a nuisance. I made mistakes that I haven't made since I knit Nicholas' baby boots ten years ago, and was authentically wondering how in the world those mistakes happened. But now the mittens are done and ready to be wrapped and placed lovingly under the tree.
The mitts are by no means perfect. In fact, it is quite easy to tell which mitten was knit first, as I was learning the ways of knitting in the round, and which came after I'd dealt with all the learning curve aches and pains. But I intend to keep them as they are for now. I would like Nicholas to see what can happen with practice - how one can learn and grow by leaps and bounds by being okay with mistakes, and practicing until it feels (almost) as natural as breathing. Having a real, tangible, touchable example of learning through practice is actually quite a significant gift in itself.