I don't know where it came from, but it's become a holiday tradition, for me, to gift handmade items ... and my family has come to expect it, actually. This year, when I came home from the fabric store, they pawed through the bag trying to determine which fabric was for whom. They, correctly, guessed that the blue flannel printed with the word love and little monkeys was for Deus Ex Machina's annual PJ pants. I couldn't resist giving him "monkey love" - and yes, the woman at the fabric store who cut my yardage shared a good (bawdy) laugh with me about my fabric choice ;).
I went a step beyond pants this year. I decided to make the girls each a poncho, too.
The original plan was for a flannel-lined wool poncho for each girl. I wanted wool, because it is both warm and naturally water resistant. It's one of the best fabrics for the type of weather we have where I live.
Wool is very expensive.
Fleece is also (relatively) water resistant, and it was on sale ;). The plan changed to a flannel-lined fleece poncho for each girl with flannel pants to match their poncho lining.
But, I underestimated the amount of flannel I would need, and then, the WHOLE plan changed.
And ... I was pressed for time. Ah, the holiday rush, right? *grin*
I'd intended for each poncho to have a hood and a pocket, which didn't happen. It will. I will put a hood on each poncho and give them all a pocket. Big Little Sister ended up with a fleece poncho with no lining, because I didn't have enough of the flannel I purchased, but again to the stash, and I showed her an old flannel bedsheet, and asked if she'd be okay with that being her lining. She is ;). What a trooper! ;). The lining for Little Fire Faery's poncho isn't flannel. Instead I was finally able to use this gorgeous pink fabric from my stash that I've been saving for a special project. I think this qualifies as a "special project."
The impetus behind the ponchos is more than just wanting to make my girls something, though. There's a more pratical and survival-oriented reason.
Many years ago I read John Ransom's Andersonville Diary. It is the story of a Union soldier who'd been a prisoner in the infamous Andersonville prison. He survived. Most did not. He credits his survival to the quilt he had with him. In the winter, he had a blanket to help keep him warm - many did not. In the summer, he had a cover from the blazing Georgia sun. Many Union prisoners had nothing and suffered immeasurably from exposure to the elements.
In an extreme survival situation, shelter is the top priority.
Their ponchos can be used as a coat, and it can be used as a blanket.
I like the idea so much, and I had so much fun making them, and I'm so pleased with how they turned out, I'm pretty sure there's a poncho in my future, too.