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Responsible Knitter

October 28, 2013

Exciting news at casa de Introverted Knitter, I am going to be an aunt again. My big brother and his wife are expecting their first little one in May. (This is the brother I knit the wedding blanket for last spring/summer.)  When I first heard about the impending arrival I started thinking of all the things I wanted to make for the wee one. Hats, sweaters, booties for the tiny feet, and of course every baby needs a blanket. Due to the previously mentioned Denver vacation my ability to go out and buy new yarn (at least enough for a blanket) has been put on hold. No problem, I figured this would give me the chance to really find the perfect pattern (or loosely plan out my own design.)

This time has also given me a chance to ponder whether I should be knitting for this kiddo. Now hear me out before you jump at me, needles at the ready, I have knit for my nieces and nephews (the majority of which are my brother’s from a previous relationship) since I picked up knitting again back in 2010 (which seriously has only been 3 years, holy cow) and while they are all young (and thus prone to out growing or losing things) I have never heard a word about whether the items were used. Bare in mind, that in that time I have also knit for my brother and his wife (the wedding blanket being the last thing thus far) and I have not heard a peep about the knitting. Now my brother is extremely busy (4 kids and working two jobs, plus dating and then getting married) and so I don’t expect them to gush or make a fuss about the items. They have taken the obligatory photo for me, but beyond that I have no idea what happens to it all.  In all honesty I think once you gift away your knitting (or sell or donate) it is the recipients choice to do with it as they wish. Now I will admit I may be a bit hurt if I found out a blanket that I spent six months and over a mile’s worth of yarn on was donated or used as a place to store muddy shoes, but I would (try) to accept it and move on.

So then I come to the question of whether to knit for the impending wee one or not. It isn’t that I don’t think the little one is knit worthy, I mean how could they not be? They are so tiny, so items for them don’t take too long, they have no verbal opinion on what they wear and so you can’t do something wrong, and they just look so darn cute in handmade items. It isn’t that I am upset about my brother not saying anything about the hand knit items, but rather it is about what it means to be a responsible knitter. At the end of the day I knit, because I like knitting, and I like smothering wrapping those I love in woolly goodness.

I love the idea that I can give people a piece of myself and my time when I give them a hat, a mitten or a scarf.  I enjoy knowing that I made something with my hands, some sticks and some string. But, I wonder does this make me selfish? Am I consumed with a desire to knit things that sometimes I lose sight of the fact that others may not want hand-made items (the thought seems foreign to me, even now) that someone may not want a handmade blanket as a wedding gift? Am I blinded by wool fumes, and I can’t take a hint that maybe instead of shelling out the cash for the yarn for a handmade baby blanket I should be spending that money on something else they might want for the baby? I am a knitter that wants my items to be cherished and used and loved. I am a person who wants to give a gift that makes the recipient feel special and loved and thought of, but is knitting the right way to do it? If the parents aren’t going to use the hats, or dress the baby in the sweater, than what was the point of spending the money and using the time to make something? If they don’t like the blanket and don’t want to use it, than is it better to go out and buy this magical device called a diaper genie?

I still haven’t decided what I am going to do. My desire to wrap the tiny human in woolly goodness is still there, but I can’t help but wonder, is that what a responsible knitter would do?

From → Musings

  1. There are absolutely people not worth knitting for. It doesn’t reflect on them as people; just on them as knitting receivers. No reason you can’t shower the new baby with love and gifts while NOT knitting for it/the parents.

  2. I agree with the other commenters. As one who gifted all the little nieces and one nephew with many things over the years, I have learned NOT to make intricate cabled hand spun dyed blah blah blahs for them. I’ll knit them a hat or scarf or necklace for Christmas, but unless they ask for something else, I don’t make it. Some of my nieces have begun asking me for things – when they get a new coat, I get a photo of it with a note asking for a matching hat or scarf. I made mittens that had my niece in tears she loved them so much (Belle’s mittens from the Twilight movies) but I have also experienced a handknit and embroidered sweater being tossed to the floor by a four year old – “oh- clothes” – with no one making her pick it up. So, I don’t go overboard, I do make things but I don’t give them whole wardrobes anymore. 🙂

    But new babies? They always get some sweet little things, even if the yarn is from my stash. 🙂 But nothing too intricate.

  3. I personally feel that only people who appreciate hand knits get them. If it’s not going to be loved and appreciated more than something that came from a store, why spend the time on it?

  4. I think you’re knitting for you as much as for the little one so I think it’s absolutely responsible. But it might also be wise to temper your excitement by knitting something quick that will be uniquely this child’s to appease your inner knitter, then wait and see. A simple one skein sweater or hat, something like that where the commitment is small but the love is still there. If your brother and his wife comment on the lack of knitwear for the wee one, you will know your efforts are appreciated if unsung, and you can commence knitting more. If they don’t, you’ll know in your knitters heart that you’ve properly gifted the child and can wait until said child is old enough to ask for something he or she wants and move on.

  5. My view is that only deserving recipients get my knitted goods.
    That means people who appreciate the work and love, however they demonstrate it, just as long as they demonstrate it. And unfortunately for me that includes Internet strangers and not my niece and nephew. I’m sorry but I don’t care how busy you are, if I can spend 3 months on a baby blanket you can spend 3 seconds sending me a thank you message.
    Maybe I’m harsh but I like hearing a ‘thank you’ for my work. Even just once. But I’m much more inclined to knit for people who gush and send me photos of my work in their homes/ lives.

    Maybe it’s not so much being selfish as being selective.

Care to share? Let me know what you think in the comments section.

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