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July 02, 2010



Great post! It hits home for me too. I used to want to knit for others until I recognized "that look" when they pulled the shawl, gloves, scarf, out of the package. (home....made, sigh)

My sweet husband loves my socks. Like HWWV, he wears them until they are worn out. In our cold house, they have replaced his ill fitting slippers. And he always gets interested when something new goes on my sock needles.


What a sweet scene, HWWV slipping out of and back into the pool smiling about his socks.


This is partially why I joined a Selfish Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry. The only person I knit for is my mom, and it's only ever socks. I have been known to give things away if someone really, really admires something I made for myself, but beyond that I rarely bother. I koow that by knitting for myself, my work will always be used by someone who appreciates the time and effort I put into whatever I made.


Yup, I pick and choose now too.... nothing worse than spending all that time and then the recipient just doesn't much like it :( !


What a lovely story.

My husband loves handknitted socks, too. I couldn't knit him a pair without him realising they were for him, so for his birthday I gave him some sock yarn and a voucher promising to knit him a pair - he loved it!

donna lee

I have a select few people I knit for, my husband and three girls. And they all get socks. I know they love them for the same reason you do: they wear them. And they show them off.

Occasionally when a coworker has a baby, I will break down and make a pair of baby socks but not too often.

I knit because I like it. If someone else enjoys the fruits of my labor, that's just icing on the cake (it's early in the morning, I must be hungry!)

Margo K of VA

Yes, and when they see you making something and ask who it is for and you say ....after many gifted style persoanl heartfelt reject comments....for my self...they think you are selfish!!!! But you are happy. I am a simple person. I get a lot of joi d'vivre from making something pretty.


I knit for you because i love you...well said!


A friend told me how his wife was sad about something so I gave him a set of pretty spa cloths I knit to gift her with. She opened it and said They're nice, what are they? but the husband forgot..*sigh*


This is exactly what I had to learn over time. Very well said!

denise f in c'ville, va

amen. as much as i'm tempted to knit for two little girl twins who just arrived -- NOT doing it. i'll knit for myself and a few others. (my family does dig all kinds of cotton dishcloths! haha)


I was late comer to knitting. My daughter who was at film school and out filming in the freezing cold until 3 in the morning requested a warm hat. She requested I make it. She was going through that phase where she had sworn off commerical and name brands and she liked things that no one else had. So I knit her the most warm craptastic earflap hat I could...and she loved it. So much so that I had to make two others for her friends. I make most of my gifts for her because I know she loves them all. I did however educate her to the fact that actually knitting the object was more expensive than buying storebought. Hubby likes the socks that I've made him. The boychild I've only made one thing...he's chronically prone to misplacing things so...


I am still learning this lesson. I have a particular blind spot when it comes to my mother. She is an artist/craftsperson herself, so you'd think she'd know better, but when I knit something for her she is so nonchalant about it. The last thing I made for her she didn't even thank me for. And she'll give it away if she doesn't like it. Someday I'll stop knitting for her. I guess for now the joy of making things for people outweighs the sometimes lukewarm reception.


*sigh* I totally get this post. I have returned expensive yarn because of this, I have felt disappointment because of this. I felt the sting of this just this morning when my daughter tried on the shirt I made her for the 4th of July. The one I had to re-do the sleeves on 4 times and stayed up until 1:30 working on. "Do you like it?" She shakes her head, no. Granted, she's three.. but still!! So... I keep knitting simple earflap hats for my 11 year old brother because he wears them non-stop every day, even to soccer practice. I love that. I'll knit a hundred hats for someone like that.


I always say how ironic it is that the only people who can truly appreciate hand knit items, that is appreciate the time, effort, and skill put into an item, are other hand knitters and ironically they don't NEED any hand knit items. Which is why I still knit items for my best friend for her birthday because even though she knits too and could knit the same item herself, she also appreciates it. But I have to say my kids and my husband are good knitting appreciators as well.


I love this post.


What a Kodak moment, your husband rising from the pool, asking who those socks are for (sniff, blubber) and contentedly returning to the water upon learning that (what else?) they're for him. Your time, your skill and knowledge, your choice of yarn, pattern, needle...your love, appreciated and (sniff!) actually worn. Snuffling in appreciation for a knitting lesson beautifully illustrated, that's me.

Christina Bieloh

I love this post too. It is a tough one. Occasionally someone will say "oh I wish you'd make me one" and when I can tell they are sincere, I think "yay" because I do like to make things for others. Thankfully, my LYS constantly has a charity project going so I can always knit things for these as well. I never see the recipient so I can retain my fantasy that they love every thing I knit and send their way! :)

Mary Collins

So here's the thing - you have to accept that with the gift knitting - someone will eventually love it. It may be someone who buys it from Goodwill, but someone will like it. I made my brother a Cobblestone a couple of years back, and seriously considered keeping it because I loved it so much. But part of my love for it was because I had enjoyed making it so much. And I knew going in that he would love it, and wear it forever, or I would never see it again. But that's the thing with gift knitting. Once it leaves your hands, that's it. So enjoy it while you are making it and give it with love.


I will not knit for people who have not shown interest in my knitting. Not just the random "oh you knit could you make me a sweater?" comments but actual interest looking at stitches, feeling it and oohing and awwing a bit over either finished items or unfinished ones. They are the ones who understand the amount of effort, time, creativity, and thought that can go into a piece of knitting. They are the ones who stop in the middle of a very elegant and expensive baby shower with 100+ guests where the average gift probably cost $200 to explain that you made this blanket, booties, and hat and aren't they amazing and ask you to come up for a picture halfway through the gift opening, stopping the whole shebang and gushing non stop. True story, embarrassing, but made me very glad I went to the effort. I will knit for people like this any day, the rest get gift cards, it allows me the time to knit for those who appreciate it.


As I sat on my couch drinking my coffee and reading the last part of your post to my husband (who was in the kitchen making breakfast for us and wearing the socks I made him), I got all teary-eyed. You hit this one on the head!
And I'm going to need to get some more sock yarn, and make him another pair. And some for my sons, too.

Ellen B.

Sigh. I learned that lesson a long time ago. Now, I only make things for my other friends that knit or crochet. THEY understand!


yes yes yes- I gave my recently completed (in Kauni sliding greens) swallowtail shawl to my mother in the presence of my aunt (who ironically enough did knit and crochet quite a bit when she could) who said, "It's an old lady shawl."

which is only slightly better than when I had the traveling woman shawl on the needles and she said it "looked like a diaper."

No need to worry about that giant malabrigo wool peddlar's shawl going to her this winter!


I could not have said it better! Although I did just spend a whack of time knitting a blankie for my SIL's baby. ... I hope she likes it, if not - it was mostly fun. My SIL made me 3 baby quilts for my son, so I felt like it's something she can appreciate.


Some folks just don't get it that there is a difference between homemade and handmade.

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