Ready, Set, Go start knitting your Christmas gifts.

October is a time to pick apples, pumpkins, and patterns for hand-knitted Christmas gifts.  Hand-made gifts are appreciated, Ralphie’s pink bunny pajamas from “A Christmas Story” notwithstanding. If you are making gifts this year, some of our staff have strategies that may help you complete your knitting on time.

Go to 9:40 for a classic moment recognized by crafters and gift recipients alike.

Karen Haynes knits for relaxation. “Some people knit for the challenge. I just want to enjoy myself.” Karen feels she isn’t a fast knitter and she doesn’t want to feel rushed. She selects  a pattern that will suit all the recipients on her list, then knits the same pattern in different colors. After completing the first gift, muscle memory takes over and Karen can have a relaxed evening while knitting at a comfortable pace.

A Baker’s Dozen of Warm Scarves by Carol Anderson supplies inspiration to a knitter who wants to follow Karen’s lead. There are 13 attractive scarf patterns from which to choose – enough so you can find one pattern that will suit several people. Each pattern is  interesting to knit without requiring voracious concentration.

Lots of choices here.

Kate Running receives requests for mittens for Christmas. “I’d rather knit a hat, but people really seem to want mittens,” she says. While Kate has resigned herself to knitting lots of mittens between October and December 23, Arnhild Hillesland’s classic pattern could give Kate an out next year. She can make everyone happy this year with mittens and make herself happy next year by giving them the matching hat. If you choose this route, you can knit the and give yourself a full year to knit the mittens for next year.

Arnhild’s pattern is for both hat and mittens. You can get two years’s worth of gifts from it.

People love their pets and people rarely receive gifts for their dog. A handknit dog sweater would please both dog and owner. It’s a gift that can’t be a surprise, however, since you will need the dog’s measurements. It is unlikely that someone else’s dog will hold still for you long enough to measure it on the sly. Even though the gift won’t be a surprise, your thoughtfulness will be noted. Paul Robinson’s adjustable pattern has worked for knitters who are chihuahua owners to those with Great Danes. If you are knitting for a Great Dane, it is a good idea to start immediately.

A little Christmas cheer for your best friend, too.

If good company is what really helps you complete your knitted gifts, remember that there is drop-in knitting at Ingebretsen’s on Mondays from 1 to 3 and Fridays from 3 to 5. If you’d like some expert help, the Norge Knitters meet November 24 at Woodstone, Superior, Wisconsin and December 8 at Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Ave. The Knitters meet from 11 to 2 and a $5 donation for the teachers is appreciated. Happy Knitting Season!