Yesterday, I made the mistake of asking my brother EJ what he wanted for Christmas. Apparently, we haven't had enough conversations about the idea that knitting garments takes time, because his response was "Could you knit me a cardigan?"
When I pointed out that that would require more days to make than remain before Christmas, he had a second choice. "Could you make me black socks with white checks all over them?"
Again, this will not happen for EJ's Christmas. For several reasons, actually. First, there is a limited amount of time before Christmas, and as I have several gifts still to make, there's a good chance most people won't get socks. (But I got Grandma's done, and that's all that matters.) Second, I don't have enough black, or enough white yarn to do socks for my brother--or anyone else. But most importantly, I really don't like doing color-work. I've had limited success with intarsia, but attempting to do Fair Isle has resulted in my most spectacular, profanity-inducing, "let's just burn it because I hate it too much to even think about frogging it" knitting disasters of all time. (With the possible exception of when I was seven and tried to make a circular needle by gluing two chopsticks to a piece of green yarn. But we shall not speak of this.)
For Brian's Christmas sweater (which I have been working on since June) I am working a simple color panel down the center of each sleeve. Ever since I discovered that I am able to focus my short attention span on twined knitting, I can do at least some simple color work patterns. (I prefer the ones that involve stripes, because that way the twining goes into a rhythm and I don't have to count my stitches. Like the heel on this sock I designed last year:)
The twining method makes it much easier for me to do color-work (and results in much less profanity) than any other method I have tried. Unfortunately, it also makes my wrist start hurting after about twenty minutes. Brian's sweater is going to be one-of-a-kind for many reasons, but especially due to my continuing troubles with color patterns.
And for my brother? I think I'm going to knit him a little cell phone case shaped like a straight jacket. Something simple, quick, and in keeping with our family's notoriously bizarre sense of humor. And with only one color.