Sunday, November 05, 2006

To Gift Knit or Not to Gift Knit.....

Thank you all for the birthday wishes. I had a wonderful day because thoughtful people were kind to me.

I've had a bad history with birthdays. I tend to expect things from the people around me, who then resent my expectations, and then I act like they don't measure up to my expectations. This year, I expected nothing. I decided that I was going to give myself a wonderful day by being kind to myself. I wore my favorite shirt, I allowed myself extra sugar and even cream in my morning coffee and every person who said good morning to me at work, I accepted their greetings as if it were a "Happy Birthday", because I knew that that's what they'd say if they knew what day it was. My attitude was so much better, I could graciously accept the generous surprises that the day brought me.

I've also had a shift in my attitude towards gift knitting. My old attitude was that I could give gifts from the stash which would save me money (in the sense that the money's already spent). During the past six months, I've knit up some things for fun and put them aside for gift giving. This is just fine. But as Christmas approaches, I've been planning more and more things I should knit. The list of recipients kept growing but my enthusiasm began to wan. And you know, my knitting began to suffer.

I woke up and decided that I was expecting too much of myself. In the first place, my knitting is a source of happiness for me. As my gift list grew, my knitting ideas got simpler and further away from the kind of creative work that gives me joy. In the second place, I felt obligated and a gift should be freely given.

I've decided to mostly limit my gift knitting to my immediate family. I get a lot of pleasure out of knitting for them because they see and appreciate the work that goes into it, and I get the pleasure of seeing them enjoy my work. I had visions of my knitting for extended family either felted, or tossed aside. The horror!

Notice I said mostly. I still think that my children's teachers deserve mittens or scarves at Christmas. My children have excellent teachers who work hard at what they do and really care about the kids. They deserve to be appreciated. And there are some other people too. But this ties into that freely given thing. Giving a hand made gift should be a joy.

This topic has come up on other blogs now and again. Wiser people than I have said that they don't gift knit. I'm just finally smartening up.

Okay, so after all that. Here are the latest gifty socks:

Luke's socks were knit with Sundara Yarns Antifreeze on size 2mm needles. I started with a figure 8 toe. I didn't want to use a short row heel because this boy has high arches, so I used the heel flap for toe ups described in Charlene Schurch's Sensational socks. They are just like regular heel flaps, except the shaping is on the back of the foot:

My boy loves the feel of these on his feet and the bright green was his express wish.

Alex wanted soft socks in red:

The flash obscured the yarn label, but it is Alpaca Classic Lite from Caradon Farms. The drape on this fabric is wonderful and I'm almost jealous. I keep thinking what a wonderful sweater this stuff would make. Yes, it seems extravagant for socks, No, I don't think it will wear very well. But this my boy's special request and I want him to have his ultimate dream socks. My kids won't let me knit them sweaters, so I'm making them socks exactly as they request. I'm getting bored with stockinette though.

Next to the red, in the picture above, is Jim's STR Lagoon. More plain socks I'm sure.

Dad's vest progresses slowly. I'm making more mistakes so I hesitate to knit it on the evenings. But weekend only knitting means I make little progress. Fortunately there isn't much to do and I have quite some time till Christmas. Plus, I've ditched all that other gift knitting!

Finally, I was out with a lovely lady yesterday who convinced me to realize a dream. I've ordered a whack (13 skiens) of Silk Garden with the intention of making a cardigan for myself. I've wanted some for a long time, but always dismissed the longing as silly, too expensive, blah, blah, blah. I found it on sale at Fuzzy Mabel. In the end, the best gift knitting is for myself, for my pleasure and joy and creative exuberance!


  1. Anonymous10:54 am

    I absolutely, whole heartedly hear ya! There are always people that say they would love this, or that and you feel obligated to knit for them. In the end they don't truely apprecaiate the time or effort you put into their simple "requests".

    Gift knitting definately for family and special friends/recipiants!

  2. I'm glad your birthday was a happy day. That is always nice.

    My friends and family know that they will get knit gifts when I feel like giving them. I tend to give them as "just because" gifts so there is no time frame involved. I hate the way an obligatory gift occaison makes me crazy.

  3. mary jane6:39 pm

    Dear Laurie,

    I am so happy your special day was just that - special.

    In Niagara-on-the-Lake

  4. Glad to hear you had a nice birthday. As an adult over a "certain age" I hate having birthdays and so I tend to dread them and wish for no acknowledgement whatsoever. And so any acknowledgement then comes as a nice surprise. Weird, I know.

    I guess I'm still too new of a knitter, because most of what I knit is for others. I just don't wear knitted items all that much. I have a big family, so have many opportunities to foist my knitted items upon them. ;-)

  5. That gift delima is one I went through a few years ago. I wanted to knit for everyone....I tried...some of the gifts were so rushed and awful I was embarrassed to wrap them. No I just knit what I want and now and again it's a gift.

  6. Happy Birthday!

    Sounds like you've had some very wise realizations. Better to realize all of that now before you burned yourself out with your knitting. :D I'm glad your birthday was a joy rather than a string of disappointed expectation.

  7. We solved the dilemma of Christmas by just giving to our own children and grandchildren - also the SIL and DIL. I like Christmas more without the stress - so many books and articles written on how to have a holiday sans stress! In the same book are ideas for making creations that mean you would need to burn the midnight oil for many a night! Thanks for the advice on how to 'blog' better. I will certainly read it and see how I go!

  8. Aye, I'm with you on the gift giving..alas, even knitting for immediate family year though not everyone will be getting socks for heaven's sake.
    I'm very glad to hear you had such a great day on your birthday!