Tuesday, September 22, 2015


By: Olive Greene
From:A Sticky Situation
Series: The Sugar Grove Mysteries
Author: Jessie Crockett

It's been warm this month and the summer has stretched on a bit longer than usual here in Sugar Grove, New Hampshire. But, all good things must come to an end, and last night we had our first frost of the season. It was a good thing I had the kids help me pick the last of the tomatoes, peppers and cukes earlier in the week. Now that I've finished turning summer produce into pickles and sauces to enjoy throughout the winter it is time to turn my thoughts and my hands to Christmas knitting.

Hats and mittens are always popular gifts and are easy enough to finish but I like to try to make at least one other, more surprising thing for each of the family members too. If I get to work just as soon as the first frost arrives I'm always done in time to slip things under the tree. This year I've got my eye on a bow tie pattern for Loden and a beaded clutch bag for Celadon. Emerald would look dapper in the houndstooth waistcoat pattern I found in a magazine at the library. I'm planning stuffed toy hand warmers for the great-grandkids' pockets and a tarot card pouch for my daughter-in-law.

This year it's Dani's turn for a sweater. I make at least one sweater every holiday season and I vary the recipient so no one always receives one or never does. With such a large family it's been a while since Dani has gotten one. She still wears the last one I made her whenever it is bitterly cold or whenever she is feeling down. It has gotten a bit shabby-looking over time and I'm looking forward to seeing her in something new.

Last week I bought all the yarn I needed at the yarn shop here in town and snuck it into the house while everyone was out.  Deciding on the gifts and choosing the patterns is only half the fun and my hands are itching to get busy. I put almost all the projects on the needles at the same time so I always have something to work on no matter who is with me. If I am in the kitchen keeping Celadon company while she makes lunch for her kids, I'll work on a project for my husband. At night, when Emerald and I are alone in our room I'll pull out a project for one of the other family members. Over time I've been surprised to notice how sneaky I can be. Even Dani, for all her detecting skills has never failed to be surprised come Christmas morning.

Readers, do you make handmade gifts for Christmas? Are you good at surprising others?


  1. I'm NOT a crafty person. My forte is in choosing the right card for the birthday child or grandchild. I have a reputation for getting the correct tongue in cheek card for everyone.

    My mother was the knitter and artist in the family. She won a few juried art shows and was a knitting instructor at a shop here in Brooklyn before retiring from teaching at a junior college and moving to Florida.

    1. Being good at choosing the right card is at least as nice as choosing the right gift!

  2. I am so craft-impaired that it's better I don't make gifts. I did it long ago when my children were small and that worked out well because the gifts were from children - and looked like it ;-). I do enjoy finding the unusual perfect gift though, the small thing that will surprise and make them happy. Unfortunately that works with everyone but my husband, who is the best guesser in the world.

    1. I bet when you do manage to surprise your husband it is a great feeling!

  3. I have made homemade gifts in the past but not anymore. They were so-so. And I really am not good at surprising people. I want the book!

  4. At this time of year, I'm knitting and crocheting gifts, too.