I don’t usually go in for extensive Christmas present buying (a combination of thinking it an exploitative commercial con and not having any money), but I do try and make something modest for my family and close friends each year. What my gran would call “a wee minding”. This year, knowing that I wasn’t going to be seeing any of them (and looking for an excuse to avoid tackling my current work in progress, which is anything but) I decided to make more of an effort.
I am very fortunate to have Jinty & Baa, a fabulous fabric and craft shop in the village, so I don’t need to venture far for supplies. Sewing, knitting and crafting generally have proved to be enormously popular since the first lockdown, so Deborah, who owns the shop, has been stocking a much wider range of fabrics of late – much to my delight.
I couldn’t resist the Scooby-Doo themed fabric, though when I bought it I had no idea what I was going to do with it, and was tempted to make a pair of pjs for myself. However, since masks seem destined to be with us for the foreseeable, and the ones I made previously have been very well-received, that’s what I made for most of my male relatives, with some Marvel Masters of the Universe fabric deployed for those too young to remember Scooby!
One of my sisters finally gave in to her daughters’ incessant lobbying, and got a kitten a few months ago. Simba has not only brought great joy into her household, but he has delighted all of us on the family WhatsApp. At least two of us are now teetering on the brink of going kitten hunting – I’m not one of them, but I have happily offered my services for cat-sitting. So in tribute to Simba the Lockdown Kitten, I had a bit of a cat theme going with some of my presents. A cat print pinny for Simba’s mum, and two different tote bags for Simba’s auntie and granny. I really love making the totes, they are great for mixing and matching fabrics, and there was even some cat fabric left over for masks too.
But there was a limit to how many masks I could make – or give. My oldest male friend and former dancing partner has been complaining about the cold when he works from home in his unheated office, so I knitted him a pair of fingerless gloves. I made personalised napkins and matching place mats for another brother and his family. And astonishingly, I even managed to uncover a couple of people I hadn’t made tea cosies for!
All of my presents, I’m delighted to say, were well received, and I wasn’t the only one going the home grown route this year. My incredibly talented brother-in-law made me a wall-mounted barometer and some personalised cheese boards. There were lots of lovely things to eat from others including my sister’s legendary Scottish tablet, plus home-made chutneys and jams. It’s another example of the unexpected side-benefits of lockdown that people have become more thoughtful about gifts and want to make them personal rather than an Amazon click purchase.
Unfortunately, now that all the present-sharing is over, I have no excuse to avoid writing. Though now I come to think of it, there’s a flurry of birthdays in January. And I’m sure Simba would appreciate my knitting him a new blankie.