I don't do a lot of gifts.
Over the years, I've had to limit my gift-giving severely, lest it get out of control.
But one gift-giving tradition I insist on (and the hubs doesn't argue with) is knitted blankets for the babies in my life.
I may not be able to knit for everyone (it seems like every few years there is an explosion of babies, and my two hands can only knit so much), but I make it a point to at least get the family members.
So my nephew, Parker, has one of my creations. And his currently-cooking brother or sister will get one, too.
His/hers is an afghan, my first. It's called "Building Blocks," and the idea is that you knit a bunch of small squares, "sew" them together and then knit a border. It's very, very cute.
And very, very life-lessony. I'll tell you why.
There are several geometric figures in the knitted squares. I've done a triangle, a hexagon, and now a circle.
The triangle squares took concentration. They said, "Hey. Focus on your work. The time to play is later."
The hexagonal squares were easy. They said, "Don't forget to enjoy yourself while completing a task. There is nothing wrong with getting in a little gossip or watching 'One Tree Hill' while you're busy getting things done."
The circle squares are a different story altogether. They say, "Nothing less than a red-wire-or-blue-wire level of concentration is required here. Any slight deviation in your attention will result in a knit where a purl should be, or vice-versa. This is a life-or-death situation."
The circle squares (or the 2/3 I've knitted of the first one) have turned me into a sailor. I've used a rainbow of curse words, hurled my work across the room (and sheepishly picked it back up) and turned my back on it for hours.
(I hope none of this is somehow transferable to the baby, through maybe some sort of "Heroes" type gift. He (or she) shouldn't hear that kind of language for many, many years yet.)
I've always imagined myself as a gossipy sort of knitter. In my mind's eye, I fit right in during Civil War America, comfortably knitting and purling away while Scarlett and Melanie discuss the latest exploits of Belle Watling.
But as it turns out, I might fit in more on a whaling ship where men often knit to repair nets and whatnot ... and colorful language was the rule, rather than the exception.