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summertime, and the knitting is bulky

Fresh strawberries in the Farmer’s Market can mean only one thing – we are indeed in full summer mode (even here in the overcast Pacific NW). Are you taking advantage of the longer, warmer evenings outside and knitting al fresco?IMG_0831

This week, I get extra points for matching my knitting to my produce! Amélie is a delightful shot of ripe red on the greys I love so much. And are those some super-deep greens in there as well? I’m enchanted.

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But wait – what’s that yarn? No summer laceweights over here; I’ve gone bulky. Targhee Bulky, to be precise. It might seem a strange choice for the warmer season, but bear with me. There’s a logic here.

You see, last year (as indeed, many years before), I got slammed by November and December. Like so many of you generous creative souls, I get sucked into the romantic and extravagant notion of handmade holiday gifts… completely forgetting how busy that season is to begin with, and that I only have two hands. *And* that my brother’s birthday falls inconveniently within the one-month window before Christmas, so there are those socks to finish…

It never fails. Seems like every year I get sucked into the vortex of make-make-MAKE!!, which would be lovely if it weren’t condensed into too-few weeks at the end of the calendar.

Of course, wiser souls than I have devised a solution: “Christmas in July” should save us from this trauma, if we would only be wise enough to actually start.

So here I am, knitting with bulky yarn at the peak of the year. Which is quite fun, really, when you think about it – no-one in my family needs a bulky-weight sweater, since we live up and down the West Coast. So this single skein of Targhee Bulky, with its 462 yards, is enough to make a whole raft of accessories. Thanks to Joji Locatelli’s timely Instagram post, I’ve whipped up a Man Hat for my stepdaughter when she walks the dogs this winter. (That’s the top of it, below – tidy, isn’t it?) I’ll have enough left to make a Boyfriend Watch Cap for my sister-in-law, and if I play my cards right and can get gauge, a pair of Ferryboat Mitts to go with! (And if the Targhee Bulky is a bit too thick to get gauge for the Mitts, I can always get a skein of Targhee Worsted to match!)

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I love hats and fingerless mitts as presents … they’re tasty little nuggets of knitting that you can take with you to the park or the beach, and just before you have time to get bored and reach for your fat summer novel instead, BOOM! – they’re done. Wrap them up and pop a gift card on ’em and you’ll even spare yourself that step come December!

Take a page out of my mom’s book and label one cupboard ‘The Gift Shoppe’ – pop all your pre-wrapped gifts in there and put a padlock on it if you’ve got wee ones in the house (or those who are easily tempted to peek). It’s such a nice feeling that you’re on your way to the holidays already.

It also means that we’re not putting the squeeze on Tina and her team, asking them to dye faster come October and November. My failure to plan shouldn’t mean more pressure for them, after all.… Let’s give everyone a breather and start planning that generous knitting today, shall we?

Do you have favorite, go-to patterns for gift knitting? If so, please mention them in the comments – I’m always looking for new, fun things to knit. Maybe we can collect a big list of our favorites and I can post the whole she-bang come July!

If you get your gift ideas all set and order your yarns now, Tina and the Barn Gals can have your yarn to you in a few short weeks and you’ll be whipping up presents in July faster than you can whip cream to go on those berries.

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