Read this if you are NOT a knitter

Thanks Aunt Martha

You…non knitter/crocheter/crafter…
Yes, you…I know you aren’t a knitter or crocheter, but you probably know someone who is.
I need you to read this.
A few years ago we taught a really sweet Stillwater lady to knit.  She wanted to learn so she could make her grand kids gifts for the holidays.  She took our beginning knit class and then kept coming back every week just knitting in our lounge.  She spent a lot of time thinking about her grand kids.  What things they might want to wear, what colors they loved, what sizes they were.  She spent a lot of time telling us all about her family.  It was sweet.
She came in a few months after the new year and just wasn’t herself.  She came to the front desk and asked me if she could get money back from a gift card.  She didn’t want to use it.  I asked her if we had done something to upset her.  She assured me that it wasn’t us, she just wasn’t going to knit anymore.
I asked her why and she said this.  Get ready for it.
She said that she was house sitting for her daughter and she found the scarves she knit for her grand kids for Christmas in the “going to goodwill” donation bag in the entryway.  GASP.
Now, I know as a non knitter/crocheter  you are thinking, so what?  Maybe it was scratchy, maybe it wasn’t her color, maybe she just didn’t like it.
Well, as a knitter/crocheter  I say WHAT?  Do you have any idea how much love and energy was put into that garment for you?  Do you have any idea how many hours your grandmother spent thinking about you, talking about you, making something she thought you would like?  I am pretty sure she didn’t know, or she wouldn’t have put that scarf in the goodwill donation box.   Actually, I am not pretty sure, I am absolutely sure.
Over the last few months another women has been coming in to get help knitting a sweater.  She has tried a few times without success to find the perfect sweater to knit for her daughter.  She finally thought she fell into the perfect one.
She was coming in each week with questions and was doing great on this sweater and was a third of the way done.  Well, one day she came in looking defeated.  She wanted to return the yarn.  I asked what happened?  She said that her daughter didn’t like the color.  WHAT??  If the daughter only knew.  Only knew how hard the mom was working to make something the daughter liked.  Only knew how many hours she spent picking the perfect sweater and color.  Only knew how many hours she had been knitting thinking about her.   I am pretty sure if she knew just how much time her mom has spent she wouldn’t have told her she didn’t like the color.  Actually, I am absolutely sure.
So, my advice to non knitters/crocheters.  Be grateful.
If you live out of town and you get something handmade for your brand new baby in the mail.  For goodness sake, put the kid in it and snap a quick cell phone pic.  Email or text it to us.  We don’t need much.  Just a little acknowledgement.  If you only knew how much time we spent thinking about your newborn baby while we planned, bought and then knit that sweet little gift.   The gift is a labor of love!
If your mom or grandmother knit you something and you don’t really like it.  Maybe it itches or isn’t your color or just doesn’t really fit.  Fake it.  You mom or grandmother spent a lot of time thinking about you while they knit that gift.  Just wear it occasionally around them or make up a story that you left it at the office or something.  When you are done with it, put it in a plastic bin in the basement storage room.
And by all means, and this is very important,  if you must get rid of it don’t put it in the “going to goodwill” donation bag in your front entry way.  Especially when the knitter has volunteered to house sit your home while you are in Hawaii.

17 Responses to “Read this if you are NOT a knitter”

  1. Doris Bruder says:

    Or maybe we should just start knitting for charity or for ourselves or fellow knitters/chrocheters who do appreciate the labor of love involved because I’m pretty sure if the recipient doesn’t like the item no amount of consideration on their part will make them wear it or love it! I, for one, who has knit many items for kids, grandkids and others, have come to knit only the very basic stuff – chunky slippers, plain stocking caps, simple socks, dishcloths, etc. I don’t want someone to wear an item I’ve knit that they don’t like. I have things I’ve knit for myself that I wouldn’t wear in public even though I’ve spent waaaay too much money and time on the dreaded thing. Food for thought.

  2. CeltChick says:

    Um…yeah. I carried handknit gifts to another state last week, for all the gals in tha family. Couldn’t have asked for a better response from the nieces, both thrilled to get goodies. But I think my Sis actually “accidentally-on-purpose” lost one of the socks I’d made her. I only knit for an hour or two at night, ond about that long on the weekends — if Sis only know how many evenings & weekends went into that sock! So, no more socks for Sis — just easy-peasy stuff.

  3. Yarngrl says:

    I love the sentiment of “I would rather knit for a stranger who appreciates it than for family members/friends who don’t.

  4. Taking My Yarn for a Walk says:

    Very good article. I still have knitted items my mom made my children as well as sweaters I made them. I still have the first fancy dress my mom made for me when I was a year o,d and my daughter has also worn it. We also have an afghan my husband’s grandma made us, not in colors I would choose, but I know she put lots of work into it and was probably in beginning stages of dementia. I am a fortunate knitter that my husband is always asking me to make him more sweaters and socks. My daughter and her husband have both worn items I have made and want more.

  5. Mike says:

    GASP is right. I could never imagine someone being so inconsiderate. As a non-knitter, I assure you I would wear anything made for me with pride!

  6. Marie says:

    After I started giving handmade gifts to the relatives, they suggested we stop exchanging Christmas an birthday gifts. Not sure if there was a cause/effect relationship here?

  7. Judy McElyea says:

    I have knit for my daughter, son, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, and two granddaughters for 50 years — and yes for others anothr 20 years before that. My way of teaching them to appreciate what I was doing was to teach all of them (including my husband to knit)! Some are prolific knitters, some not at all, and my daughter prefers crochet. They all appreciate the time and effort.

  8. Karen Cermak says:

    Could you send a copy of this letter to my daughter-in-law? Please.

  9. Bobbe Hahn says:

    I agree with the comment to make things for charity. I have crocheted scarves, hats, and shawls. I also donate quilts to Quilts for Kids. I have found charities more appreciative of handmade items than family members.

  10. Linda Moline says:

    I’m knitting presents for friends and family. My pickiest friends I let pick the pattern and color. It’s not a surprise, but I know she’ll like it.

    I was overjoyed when my niece appreciated the baby sweater set I gave her at her baby shower.

    Otherwise, I got myself an American Girl doll and I’m making it sweaters. I love and appreciate my knitting, so I can always make things for my doll.

  11. carissa says:

    sing it!

  12. Stephanie says:

    My thought is, if I’m making something for someone else, it’s for someone who I know will appreciate it. I do make small things for co-workers when they have kids (new baby wraps and such), but then it’s something that was fun for me to do and that time wasn’t wasted because I enjoyed it. Even if it’s not a handmade gift, if someone gives you a present, I was taught you smile politely and thank them for it, then you write a nice thank you note and try to make it personal. Recently my husband and I received xmas gifts we didn’t want, but the next time we saw the aunt that gave them to us, we thanked her for the items she took the time to think about.

  13. Emily says:

    I am sad that anyone needs to be told to appreciate a hand-made gift. I will make small items for new babies (hats, toys, an occasional blanket…), and items upon request for friends and family. That way, you know they will be loved and appreciated. I, personally, wouldn’t attempt a sweater for someone else unless they approved it first. That is just TOO much work for something that they might not wear, even if they are thankful and appreciative, I would hate for them to feel like they HAVE to wear something that they really don’t like.

    I second the comments that suggest knitting things for charity. There are tons of groups out there that are looking for hand-knit items. Donating items is a great way to keep your projects rolling!

  14. Deepa says:

    So heartbreaking, poor grandma! This post made me think of Franklin Habit’s “knitworthy or not?” chart that was on his blog a while ago. I mainly knit for my husband, kids, my niece, and myself. I definitely knit for fellow knitters. Sometimes I make stuff for babies and don’t care what happens to them (the knits, not the babies).

    But I definitely wouldn’t make something complicated and unsolicited for someone who wouldn’t care for it. Too much time, effort and money involved! People are constantly oohing and aahing over my knits and saying I should sell them. I just smile and shake my head. (Yeah, $100 worth of yarn, 50 hours spent knitting it X my hourly rate…um, no, you couldn’t afford it!)

  15. Eims Eims says:

    This is spot on! So true! If I ever make something for someone I make sure they approve the pattern first and promise to wear the item. My heart breaks for those poor women in your story!

  16. ks grandma says:

    Very good article and some great responses.
    I think the most successful knitted gifts I have given to my granddaughters were American Girl Doll Sweaters and matching ones for the girls. They also like my scarves and hats.
    Hand Knit Christmas Stockings are a tradition in our family so when our 95 year old Aunt could no longer knit I took up that tradition. Everyone seems thrilled. All new babies and spouses get one. No special fit required. And great fun to knit.

  17. robin says:

    It’s not inconsiderate to not like a gift someone gives you. I’m a knitter and think really long and hard (and usually consult with the person) before I make a garment or accessory for someone. People are particular and have certain tastes, we shouldn’t just assume we know what they need or want!

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