I used to think gift knitting was a bit bananas. Knitting takes so very much time; it’s like spending 8-12 hours (or more) of pay on a single gift! So how could I justify spending both the yarn dollars and the inordinate amount of precious time it takes to knit something for someone else? Not to mention the long lists of people Alexa sometimes knits gifts for! (This is me giving you some serious side eye, partner!)
But at some point, without even really noticing, my mind changed. Perhaps age, parenthood, and doing my darnedest to take myself less seriously has filed down a few of my uncomfortably hard edges. Regardless, at some point, I decided I LOVED knitting gifts. So what changed?
Every gift I make is actually for ME
So why do I knit gifts? I don’t do it because I really need a gift for someone. I do it because, quite simply, it is a gift to myself – the joy of selecting the materials, the fun of the design, and the time I spend enjoying knitting. As I knit, I think on how I love and value the recipient. If the whole process weren’t a joy, it wouldn’t make any sense at all! You can never control if somebody will like your gift, so you need to love it yourself.
Now, every gift I make, I make for myself.
Give gifts lightly
Given the expense in both money and time that goes into a hand-knit, it’s natural to expect a fireworks display of praise, thanks, and admiration when you gift that beautiful thing. That’s totally natural! But beware – it can leave you sadly disappointed.
Perhaps your precious gift will be stuffed into a cupboard because the style wasn’t quite right. Perhaps it will find its way to a second-hand shop where somebody else will find and adore it. Or maybe, just maybe, the person you made it for will love it and wear it daily until it’s all used up. But it’s best not to hand over gifts loaded with the weight of your own expectations. It’s a gift, not a burden. If you can gift a knit with this kind of lightness, you can even allow the person who receives it to feel happiness in passing it along if it’s not quite right for them.
Your gift doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) say: “Here, have this thing I made for you! BUUUUUUUUT now please give me the response I expect in return. Give me payment in the form of attention, thanks, and praise – and also of course please wear the thing, even if it’s not your style!”
The giftee is making the best of a difficult situation 🤣
Think about it this way: the recipient of your knitted gift was just sitting there, innocent and happy, before you shocked them with a hand-knit gift.
If their response isn’t what you’d hoped, it’s not their fault! Perhaps they have no idea how much time and money that shawl took to make, so out of ignorance, they’re not sufficiently effusive and prostrate in their thanks. Or, worse still, they DO know how many hours and dollars went into the (ugly) little scarf, and they’re caught between a rock and a hard place. All they can think is, “How can I get out of this gracefully…?!”
I suggest that if you love someone (or love knitting gifts), set them free! Your gift says, “I love you; you matter to me. Have this thing I made, because I care.” And that’s all that matters.
Are YOU knitting gifts?
If you’re knitting gifts, have you ever thought to focus more on how much you love to do it than on the recipient’s possible response? What kind of items do you like to knit to gift? Let us know in the comments!