December 16, 2012

Secret Santa

I have the coolest knitting group.  Not only do they keep me sane through the stressors of pharmacy school and life in general, but we do all sorts of fun things together.  I've already shared with you our Knit in Public Day and our yearly knitting retreat, but now I'm going to tell you why our group rules:  Secret Santa Swap.

The whole process starts early in spring on our Ravelry board.  Everyone fills out the posted questionnaire, detailing out their likes, dislikes, sizes, and favorite yarns, knitted items and colors.  All that stuff you would want to know about someone you are making a secret gift for.  Then someone finds a friend to secretly assign everyone a partner to make a Christmas care package for.  

Each care package must consist of:
  • 1 knitted gift
  • 1 skein of yarn
  • 1-2 non-knitted miscellaneous things 
  • 1 Christmas ornament (or just another miscellaneous gift if your giftee doesn't celebrate Christmas)
Then sometime in December we have a nice dinner where we swap gifts and "ooooh" and "awwww" over everybody's pretties and squishies.

This year may have been my trickiest yet because my Secret Santa giftee does not like hats.  CRAZY, RIGHT?!  I mean, all I knit is hats!  I am known as the Mad Hatter in the group.  How could I be assigned the one knitter in our group who doesn't like hats.  But it's okay.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

I scanned my partner's questionnaire again and noticed that she mentioned knitted headbands twice.  A headband is practically a hat.  Plus, knitted headbands are in this year.  Or at least that's what my fashionable sister tells me.  Okay, so maybe it wasn't that tricky, but look how cool this headband is:

I just love those flecks of blue and pink.  Madelinetosh, you are my one true love!  (Sorry, Jonathan...)

I think it's pretty darn cute!  The pattern is the Parisian Twist Headband by Elisa McLaughlin.  I used a scrap ball of Madelinetosh tosh merino in Steam Age.  AND IT KNIT UP SO FAST.  Definitely a bonus!  I think I'll make myself another one after the holidays.

One of the many great things about my Secret Santa giftee is that she loves all the colors and all yarn weights.  I was pretty much able to dote on her with any skein of happy I felt like.  I tucked a nice Madelinetosh (I'm such an addict, I KNOW) tosh sock in Calligraphy.  It just looks so happy and squishy!

And here are some of the other goodies my care package included:

A cute pocket notebook for sketching pattern ideas!  My secret giftee sews too, so maybe she can sketch out both knitting and sewing ideas here.  ♥
A Chibi tapestry needle set!  It's a little container for your darning needles so they don't get lost.  :)
And the last piece of the Secret Santa Swap, the ornament!  I made a hexi-ornament and put a little heart on him.  :)
Here's the whole gang, ready to be wrapped up for my secret giftee!  ♥
Usually my sister does my gift wrapping for me because she has this amazing talent for making bows, but she was out of town the night before the swap party.  I was forced to wrap this thing on my own.  Like an adult...  Queue dramatic horn kick.  

Luckily I've picked up a little bit on bow making from my sister:
It's nothing like Jamie's bows, but I think it turned out okay!  :)
After sweating for half the year on getting my gift ready, I almost forgot that someone was making a gift for me!  Watching everyone open their gifts was magical.  Some gifts were so personal and touching that tears were shed.  (I've got lots a feelings, okay?)  

It turns out that my friend Nikki was my Secret Santa.  She made me the coolest hat/cowl ever!  Not only does it have pom-poms and buttons, but it has four stranded color work and an i-cord drawstring.  That's some serious love right there.  It's been a few days since the swap and I'm still in awe of it.

This is a skein of Classic Elite MountainTop Vail that Nikki hand dyed for me at the knitting retreat!  It's 200+ yards of baby alpaca and bamboo that is gorgeous to boot.  

She also sneaked in a pair of Knit Picks Harmony Wood interchangeable needles in a size I was missing as well as a handmade ornament.  I don't have a Christmas tree at my house, so she made me a decorative holiday window hanging.  So cool!

I was so spoiled by Nikki.  I played with my pom-poms all night.  I'm still playing with the pom-poms.  I love them.  Pom-poms are my spirit animal.  ♥

I love our group's yearly Secret Santa swap.  It's so great to exchange gifts with what has become my second family.  Seeing what everyone comes up inspires me to push my knitting to the next level to become the a knitting jedi master like some of our other group members.  Maybe next year I'll try some fancy bead work...  ♥