Not just Christmas knitting

Michael Buble, Joni Mitchell and knitting something for someone because you love them and Christmas can be weird

Meg Duncan
Dec 19, 2018

So this is Christmas. The streets are adorned with tinsel and wreaths, the supermarkets have stocked up on chocolate and cherries, and Michael Bublé’s Christmas CD has once again come out of hibernation in households around the world. And for good reason - it’s a brilliant album (but not my favourite, I’ll get into that later).

As we know, Christmas isn’t celebrated by everyone. And even among those who “celebrate” Christmas, many people find it to be a super difficult period. Family stuff can be hard at the best of times, but with the added expectation of joy and a perfectly golden turkey, not to mention very personal questions from relatives who do not have the right to ask such questions with such a tone, it can be even harder. I think Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell sums this feeling up incredibly well in her heartbreakingly pretty song River, when she sings, “It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees / They’re putting up reindeer and singing songs of joy and peace / I wish I had a river, I could skate away on.” These lyrics melt me.

In most people’s book, Joni Mitchell’s Blue doesn’t qualify as a Christmas album, and that’s fair enough. She’s a folk singer, who lays her heart on the line again and again in order to paint pictures of truth through music. But in my book, not only does Blue qualify as a Christmas album, it qualifies as my favourite (sorry Bublé). And so every December, I listen to Blue.

This year, however, Joni’s music prompted a thought I had never thought of before - a knitting thought. The first track on the album is called All I Want, and once again, it is heart melting stuff. But I want to draw your attention to particular lyrics that had never stuck out to me before:

“I wanna knit you a sweater

Wanna write you a love letter

I wanna make you feel better”

I replayed the song again. And again. And by the third play, I’d conjured an idea for a Christmas project: I wanted to knit something that would act as a love letter to self, in order to make a friend who finds Christmas difficult feel better.

But I don’t have sweater skills, or sweater time. Lost for what to make, I visited my local yarn store for inspiration, and Emily from Maker Maker store in Brunswick, Melbourne, sorted me out with two beautiful balls of 100% organic cottonwood yarn from Fibra Natura and a pattern for two simple face cloths of her own design. Face cloths are the perfect gift for self care, and the perfect gift for someone needing a little bit of extra love this Christmas.

Washing your face and body is more than simply an everyday action. Our skin is a huge organ, and hydrating it is important in order to stay healthy. The practice of cleansing is meditative. Actively caressing the face, the neck, and the tricky-to-reach corners gives you a moment to think about different parts of your body and send them love. It’s you time - time that you give to yourself and only yourself to care for your body and thank it for doing its best for you everyday. By making my friends face cloths, I want to encourage them to give back to their amazing bodies, and show themselves the love they deserve!

As a beginner knitter, this task has been time consuming and difficult, but the goal of giving has kept me going! Prior to knitting this piece, my only skills we casting on, knit, and purl. Luckily, I was guided through two new stitches with Making Things Tutorials, and it wasn’t long before I mastered M1L and M1R.

Joni Mitchell has inspired me at multiple moments in my life, but I never would have expected her to inspire a knit project. I’m glad she did. There’s nothing quite like the end of a calendar year to remind us that life is for living! So do it well, and look after yourself and your beautiful friends this Christmas.

Public Service Announcement: if you need something to watch while you finish up your Christmas makes, Love Actually has just been added to Netflix. Keep your eyes peeled for Joni’s Blue, which makes an appearance near the end of the film, bringing audiences one of the most heartbreakingly real scenes in cinema.

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