On knitting for others

I don’t know what’s come over me, but for almost all of 2011 I’ve been interested – almost exclusively – in knitting for others.  While I used to be a card-carrying member of the Selfish Knitters, something in me has changed in the past year.

Maybe it’s because I’ve got nearly 30 pairs of socks, a triangular shawl for every day of the week (and two for Sunday), and enough sweaters to see myself through an Alaskan winter.

(Well, almost.  One can never have too many sweaters, and I do have a few queued for myself, yet…)

Regardless, the winds have been a’ changin’.  I used to acquire new yarn and eagerly think, “Ooh! I will make myself a ___ and a ____ and a ___!  I can’t wait! I need all the ___ in the world!”  But now it’s “This color would be perfect for ___.  And I’ve been wanting to make ___ a ___.  Or what about giving  ___ some ___?”

Don’t get me wrong:  all the Strong Arm shall be mine forever, as well as those delicious, random little skeins that occasionally make their way into my stash (generally via my mom’s generosity).  But when I go on a Yarn Shopping Expedition now, it’s with a clear purpose in mind: and often as not, that purpose has nothing to do with new knitted objects for me.

I don’t know if I’m becoming more of a process knitter – I just want to feel the yarn and have fun with the patterns, and then cast the resultant projects out to friends and loved ones.  I don’t know if maybe I’ve just reached my own personal threshold – for now – for knitted stuff.  But whatever it is, it’s kinda nice.

Case in point: a bunch of us awesome knitters (plus blog-less Eva, Mike, Lenore, and Sharon) went to The Loopy Ewe last night, one final time before the shop packs up and move to Colorado.  I had my knitlist, and vowed to adhere strictly to it.

And would you believe that I *did* stick to it, easily and without grief?

This is not for me:

Neither is this:

Or this:

Or even this:

I can’t tell you who it’s for (or even what it will become), because some of the eventual recipients might be reading and I must maintain an aura of mystery at all costs.*

Nope.  I can honestly say: Last night I went into The Loopy Ewe, and all I got for myself was a hank of burgundy Cascade sock:

If that isn’t selfless, then I don’t know what is.

I don’t think I could ever stop knitting for myself altogether: there will always be beautiful new yarns that I just can’t bear to part with.  There will always be fun new patterns that fairly scream “Kate!”.  And I will always be a bit selfish.

But I’m going to enjoy this ride while it lasts, because I’ve learned that it’s also a lot of fun to make things and give them away.  I love seeing the look on a friend’s face when she is surprised with a perfectly lovely cowl or pair of socks.  I never get tired of Jeff’s excitement while he puts on a just-for-him scarf, or the quiet appreciation when Grandma gets a sweater I’ve made her.

Giving away handknits is sort of like giving away a piece of yourself: the recipient must be worthy.  Sometimes you learn a hard lesson, but sometimes you tentatively venture forth and receive heartfelt thanks in return.  Right now, for me, that heartfelt thanks is so much better than having just another shawl in my cedar chest.  When I give away a handknit, I get the privilege of knitting for a loved one: I get to pick out the yarn and pattern, and knit every stitch and have so much fun, and then I get to wrap the project up and send it away and see it be worn and appreciated again and again.  Which is really the best compliment I could ask for.

Maybe by being a selfless knitter I’m actually being quite selfish for drawing so much enjoyment from it, but what’s the harm in that?

Are you a selfish knitter? 

PS>The sock scrap blanket continues on pace:

Stripes are so addicting.  I’m in love.


*This is where Jeff scoffs.  Jeff? Don’t scoff too much.  It’ll make your throat scratchy.


One response to “On knitting for others

  1. I love how your sock scrap blanket is turning out! I’m still pretty much a selfish knitter. I’ve tried knitting for family and friends before, but except for kids’ toys, it generally doesn’t seem to be appreciated (with some exceptions). Plus, I live in Florida, so most people here don’t seem to want knitwear :/

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