Do you knit gifts for others? Have you thought about gifting before? Knitting for others can bring a sense of fulfilment, happiness or just that feel good factor that we get from giving something to someone we love. It can be a really unique, sweet thing to do. However, there are instances where gifting knitting just causes pain for the maker and awkwardness for everybody else.
The gift that keeps on giving: Knit gift drama
Every December, the Facebook knitting groups are filled with posts from knitters who are beside themselves with grief while they share their story with other knitters. It's always something along the lines of "I spent months knitting this blanket and it wasn't appreciated"
Let's say this post was from someone called Pam and it was a log cabin blanket she knitted for her nephew or something. The nephew was not expecting a log cabin blanket. He's 14 and wants computer games or clothes. Pam did not ask the recipient if he would like a hand knit blanket for Christmas. Pam is now upset because her nephew didn't seem to appreciate the time and effort it took for her to make this beautiful blanket.
What doesn't help is a flood of comments from other knitters who do understand the time, effort and value of that handmade blanket. They tell Pam that she is right to be upset. It is a beautiful gift and any recipient should appreciate it no matter whether they asked for it or not.
What Pam is in danger of here is not seeing the recipient's point of view. Her nephew is just a 14 year old boy. He isn't a knitter or a crocheter himself and doesn't make anything of his own. I absolutely agree that he should say thank you whether he likes it or not but you can't expect more than that. Sorry Pam, you gave yourself knit gift drama.
What is gifting supposed to be about?
The act of giving a gift is to willingly give something to someone. You willingly give it and do not expect payment or any actions in return. Why then, do we get in a muddle about gifting knits?
Is it gifting if you expect everyone to make a big fuss and worship you for the time and energy you put into the gift?
Is it gifting if you just want them to have it even if they don't want, need or use the gift?
A lot of thought should go into a gift but if all you get from gifting is pain, you may need to rethink your approach to knitting gifts.
When should you gift knit?
This is a really tricky one as I don't want to talk anybody out of gift knitting if it creates happiness among family and friends.
What I would say is that you should really think about why you're making it and who it is for. For example, a lot of complainants on the Facebook groups are knitting something that they want to knit and haven't even taken the recipient into account. That's all well and good for you if you love brioche and lace knitting but if you're just gifting knits to fulfil your desire to knit a specific thing that you don't want to keep in your own house, is that really gifting or is that offloading?
You can see why gift knitting can be a little self indulgent in this instance. Becoming outraged that the recipient isn't fussed about something because it has absolutely no connection with them seems rather silly.
Knitting for babies.
Babies are great to knit for. Not only can they not upset you but new parents are always appreciative of cute outfits and blankets for their bundles of joy. Baby knits are also awesome because they're small affordable projects that you don't have to commit a lot of yarn and time to if you don't want to.
I would add a note of caution for baby knitting though; you can't get yourself wound up if the sleep deprived parents accidentally felt that adorable alpaca cardigan you knitted for their new baby. Be reasonable with your yarn choices. It's going to get covered in baby sick and poonamis. No matter how much the parents want to keep it pristine, it could well end up in the wrong laundry load.
Knitting for friends, family and colleagues.
If you have a friend, colleague or family member who really wants you to knit something for them, have an honest chat. Just ask if they really want it because you'll have to spend quite a lot of time making it. Don't put them off but at least let them know that you can't just magic it out of thin air. It will take you a while and you'd be more than happy to make it for them if they're going to appreciate it.
If you find that you're gifting your knitting hurts, maybe it's time to stop. Over time, you'll find knitworthy people who will appreciate absolutely everything you make for them. You may have to get through a lot of thorns before you find the flowers is all I'm saying.
Here are some basic rules for gift knitting that could save everybody from negative feelings:
- Knit gifts because you want to. You don't owe anybody a knitted anything. Don't let others pressure you into sidelining your own projects to make something for them.
- If it's a huge project and will take months, make sure that the person you are knitting it for will actually use or appreciate it. I've seen many gorgeous handmade blankets gifted to a newlywed couple or a newborn baby, for example. They seem to go down well.
- If the recipient hasn't asked for it, don't expect them to shout from the rooftops about how much they love it. If they do do that, that's such a lovely bonus but please don't go in there expecting it.
- Are you knitting for them or for you? If you're knitting a gift, it's for a recipient. Have them in mind when it comes to styles and colour schemes. If you've just knit it in colours that you love, is it even about them?