The other present I actually completed and had under the tree was ponytail hats for the big girls. Last year I made one for the teenager next door and ever since I have been wanting to make one for every person I see wearing a ponytail. There was a bit of stress around these, mostly because of my inability to alter a knitting pattern. I'm a very literal knitter, I want a step by step pattern that holds my hand every minute and spells out exactly what it wants me to execute at all times. I am always in awe of someone who takes a pattern and modifies it to look completely different from the original and if you throw something at me that wants me to interpret a chart I will probably run away and hide under the bed with my wool stash. The only thing I ever change in a pattern is to almost always go up a needle size or two because I knit hideously tight. So, my issue was that the Hannah ponytail hat pattern is an adult size, and I wanted to make it for a ten and almost 8 year old. These children of mine do have above average sized heads, so at first I convinced myself that if I just used the recommended size yarn and much smaller needles then the hat would turn out perfect. Well, through some evil yarn black magic this not only resulted in a hat too big for a medium sized child, it was too big for me! Of course I told myself differently the whole time I knit it and waited until I had finished, cast off and plopped it on my head to admit that yes, it was huge. So, I turned to my stash of Cascade superwash and decided to try a much smaller weight of yarn along with the smaller needle size (notice that there is no mention of ever actually altering the number of stitches in the pattern, my brain touched on this idea for a moment then yelped and hid). This seemed to work great and when I finished I had two hats that I was quite sure would fit. I patted myself on the back and added buttons. I considered sneaking the hats onto their sleeping heads in the middle of the night to make sure, but my husband's look of disapproval made me realize my size obsession was getting a little out of control. I gave the hats a quick bath to relax the stitches, because blocking is magical, and then the panic set in. The Cascade superwash seemed to stretch quite a bit after being wet. I laid the hats out in their correct shape and put them in front of a space heater and waited for them to fluff up and be perfect. I called my mom and panicked. I poked at them probably every hour and was never totally convinced that the hats, which were previously deemed perfect, had not stretched beyond wear-ability. Eventually I let it go, as you have to do with all handmade gifts under the tree, and told myself if they didn't fit I would just try again after Christmas. I don't think I could have possibly been more excited on Christmas morning when the girls tore into the wrapping and immediately donned perfectly fitting ponytail hats. Craft stress turned into that glow that comes with a well executed and well received handmade gift (and several Christmas morning mimosas).
Maybe next year should be another item where size doesn't matter, and I probably should start working soon since there are now THREE little girls to knit for!