Saturday, November 28, 2015

How the Grinch stole Knitmas

It's not uncommon for people to say to a knitter, "oh that's sooo cute, I would love it if you made one for me!"

The truth of the matter is pure and simple. Some people are knitworthy, and some people are not. 

Every knitter can share scads of stories about spending insane amounts of time finding the perfect pattern, the perfect yarn, and the mind blowing numbers of hours putting your love in every single stitch (as in thousands upon thousands of stitches in socks and sweaters, for example) only to find the item cast aside by the recipient. 

Before you bust my chops and give the lecture about once a gift is given, it is the recipient's right to do with as they please, listen for a second. Intuitively I know this. But, in reality, the crafter is intimately tied to the project, unlike items you run out and buy from a big box. 

Over the years, my list of those deemed knitworthy has changed. There have been some HUGE learning curves to the development of said list. Early on, if someone said please, then I was Ado Annie fast to accommodate. Not so much anymore. 

A specific learning lesson came a few years ago. As a knitter that also spins, I have the distinct privilege of not only crafting an item, but also being able to create the yarn itself.  One year, I took the time to ask a group of knitting friends what their absolute favorite colors were. Then I spent hours searching for the perfect fiber blend in the perfect colorways for each person, then spent what seemed like every waking hour painstakingly hand spinning beautiful 4 oz blobs of gorgeous fiber into one of a kind skeins matched for each person. Then, I went a step further and found a couple of patterns they might like that matched up to the gauge and yardage of each skein. Sounds like a project full of love doesn't it?  It certainly started that way. Until two of the recipients sullied the whole thing by making unkind comments. 

We were on a group outing at a craft store when my first clue came, not only about how my gift might be received, but also about the true nature of their "friendship".  I had only recently quizzed them about color preferences, responding to questions about why I needed to know with just because I need to know (we were already in the habit of giving gifts and this was asked during the early planning phase of our Christmas party).  While looking at amigurumi knitting books, they began bantering back and forth comments along the lines of " what's your favorite animal and what's your favorite color???  I'll knit your favorite for you" and so on.  At face value, it would seem to be silly conversation, but the truth ran deeper.  Call me hypersensitive if you will, but true colors were shown in those comments. I learned. 

Since that time there have only been a few more incidents that have taken me aback.  There was a "friend" that came into possession of a fair amount of yarn. She is not a crafter, so she asked if I might like to have it. She sent it to me, and then the phone calls/texts started coming. "My niece is having a baby, would you use some of it to make a baby sweater?"  So I did...and a hat...and booties...and mittens. (There was a lot of one perfect yarn). Mailed it off and have not heard a single peep from her since. No acknowledgement that it was even received-it was, I checked the signature line on UPS tracking. Lesson learned, again. 

The moral of the story is that some people in your life are knitworthy and some are not. Even among those that ARE knitworthy, powers of discernment must be used when choosing yarn. I freely admit to being a yarn snob and prefer the quality and performance of higher end yarns. But there is a place for more budget friendly workhorse yarns...primarily for the silly/funny "oooooh please make it for me" projects my adult sons come up with. I know going in, it is a novelty item request and will be cast aside quickly. And that's okay.  As for others in my circle of knitworthy family and friends, know that much love goes in every single stitch. The time required to complete a project is precious, hard to find spare time that has been devoted solely to you. 

The overall moral of this story, is please be gentle with your fiber loving family/friends.  We love what we do and the love put into a project stays with it, so to speak. You can't buy love, which, of course, makes handmade gifts priceless. 

So, don't be the Grinch that ruins Knitmas (any time of the year). 

(Just because these two girls of mine have beautiful fleeces that may wind up as someone's gift next year. Bonnie and Latte say you are advance.)

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