Fa La La.

This weekend, my besties and I all got together for a lovely holiday gathering. I was reluctant at first, because holiday cheer, even the most sincere forms of it, are really hard for me to weather right now. But I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and picked up the gals and headed out to Heather's lovely abode.

We all drew names waaaaay back in July, and had a subject to knit mittens for. This was a difficult challenge on so many levels. You knew everyone was going to bring their "A" game, and when they person you're knitting for cranks out beee-you-tiful work, it's hard to decide on a pattern that you think will measure up. After agonizing over pattern and yarn choices for a couple months, final decisions were made and the mitten knittin commenced. You know you've picked a winner when not only do you want to keep the mittens you're giving away, but that the person you're knitting for has made THE SAME PATTERN for their swap recipient! However, this puts a new twist on the gift giving anxiety - can I knit my mittens as well as she knits hers? GAH! But, in the end, I am pleased as punch with the final product, and I think Bethe was too! Nothing warms the cockles of one's heart more than a happy gift recipient.

Then comes the other side of the story - who knit mittens for me? We have varying mitten-knitting abilities in our group. A good number of us bit the bullet and did fancy colorwork mittens that were beautiful, and challenging. The ones I was hoping for, however, were from Danielle. She had NEVER knit a pair of mittens before this swap, and I really wanted a pair of mittens that were truly knit with nothing but love and the best of intentions. Imagine my excitement when I GOT DANIELLE'S MITTENS. I think I started crying before I even opened the box. I received the best pair of mitered mittens ever knit. Every stitch was a labor of love, knowing that this pattern, to Danielle, was what colorwork and complex textures were to the rest of us. AND SHE CUT HER KNITTING TO MAKE THUMBS. Something most of us are still afeared of.

It is a blessing to have a group of friends that would all agree to knit a pair of mittens for someone else, not because they were obligated to, but because we truly care for one another. The time spent was not a waste, but a reminder of how much we all mean to each other. And whether they were beginner's mitered mittens or fancy fair isle stripey mittens, each stitch in each pair of mittens was knit with positive intentions - to warm not only the recipient's hands, but their hearts as well. We appreciate more than the mittens, we appreciate the selflessness. I have been through hell in the past couple of months, and it's wonderful to be part of a group of gals who will drop everything, put themselves aside and take care of each other. We have all been grieving together, but I believe it has brought us all closer, and taught us what really matters (and what really does not matter!), and that, my friends, is what truly defines a WIN.

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