We Knitters all know that knitting holiday gifts can be challenging. The guesswork, the secrecy, the deadlines…it’s been discussed to death.
But Knitters, there’s one holiday-knitting challenge that – to my knowledge – hasn’t been addressed: how your favorite Muggles may best receive these fruits of your labor.
So this isn’t just another post for the Knitters. This post is for those whom the Knitters love: the Muggles who are lucky enough to become the owners of thick and cozy socks, warm hats, and beautiful shawls. Those who are at the periphery of the Knitterverse – who see the knitting and love the knitting and receive the knitting but don’t always understand the knitting – they’re the ones who need this post the most.
Muggles – I implore you to read on, that you may better understand Knitterly ways. And Knitters – feel free to pass this along to the Muggles in your life. Then you will thank me, I know it.
A Muggle’s Guide to Knitterkind: Holiday Edition
1. The Amazing and Magical World of Super Subtle Hints
Hints are the great double-edged sword of gifting. This is why your Knitter may ask you in June – “How do you feel about nylon content in sock yarn? Just wondering. Hypothetically. Forget I ever said anything.” Sure, your Knitter is trying her hardest to ensure that you can be surprised by a handmade gift that you’ll also enjoy, but she’s also cautiously testing the waters: she may even venture to pose a multitude of leading questions, like “Do you like cowls? What’s your favorite color? Shoe size? Do you like angora? How would you asses your thumbs’ proportion to the rest of your hand?” Chances are (and I hardly need to tell you this, I’m sure) that at least one of these inquiries is a red herring.*
Want to make the process easier for your knitter? Feel free to make hints of your own: “You know, I’ve always wanted some purple socks…” will be music to her ears. But only, dear Muggle, if you make your wishes known – just once – and then drop it. A nagged Knitter is not an indulgent Knitter. Be warned.
2. “I just need to know your calf-to-ankle ratio!”
And then, of course, there’s Knitterly assault: stealth measuring. Muggles, have no fear: when your Knitter suddenly accosts you with a tape measure and a mischievous gleam in her eye, it’s less about making a judgment about your girth and more about calculating the cast-on number for 5 stitches per inch. I promise. Just let her do her thing. Ask her no questions, and she’ll tell you no lies.
3. “Is that for me?” Syndrome
If your Knitter is especially bold and clever, he may play a little trick on you: knitting your gift right there, out in the open, before your very eyes. He supposes – probably correctly – that you will never guess that the scrambled pile of lace in his lap is actually two-thirds of a gorgeous silk shawl, destined for your shoulders. For your own good, then, Muggles: do not try to stop your Knitter. Do not try to distract your Knitter. Because you never know when the project from which you’re desperately trying to wrench his attention is actually something for you. And if you piss him off enough, well, it may go to your sister instead. You’ve been warned.
4. The Eleventh-Hour Deadline
For many, Christmas Eve is a time of relaxation, merriment, and togetherness. But to Knitters-who-celebrate-cultural-holidays-of-Judeo-Christian-origin, Christmas Eve is nothing but a major deadline. Muggles, this year while you’re gathered ’round the piano, singing carols and sipping eggnog and trying to steal Uncle Ernie’s toupee, I ask you to take a moment and remember the person hunched furtively in the corner, weaving in all 2,745 ends on a striped scarf. Bring this Knitter some mulled wine (not too much, though – that’ll just cause more trouble for everyone). Give her the easy chair with the best light. Make her feel loved and included, but don’t try to pull her away from her task. She’ll thank you for it.
You can find a perfectly nice holiday gift at the mall. Anyone under the age of 6 can get away with gifting a handprint turkey. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that gift cards and cash are always fine. But when a Knitter takes the time to make you something for you, Muggle, you should understand how much goes into it. Your Knitter has poured many dollars into your gift (often more than you’d think), many hours of his life (often more than you’d think), and great quantities of musing and contemplation (often…etc.). All for you. A handknitted gift shows emotional investment. It shows that your Knitter cares for you enough to dedicate his evenings and weekends and lunch breaks toward making something special and unique just for you. And then when he’s all done with it, he wraps it up and sets it aside and waits for you to receive it. If he’s done his job well, you’ll love it. Your Knitter really put a piece of himself out there, in taking the time to make your gift. So, please: if you love the object as much as he loved making it for you, take a moment and thank him. Otherwise you may not get anything next year.
Muggles, on behalf of Knitterkind I would like to thank you for reading and for (hopefully) taking this to heart. May your cocoa have extra marshmallows, may you finally nab Uncle Ernie’s toupee, and may all your socks be superwash.
*Um, unless your Knitter is a real weirdo, that is.