Knitting for the Deserving by Audrey

Half the year is already gone. I took the opportunity over the past few weeks to reflect on my knitting, gift giving and the resolution I took last January, which I haven’t respected much at all. July is always a good time to think about New Year’s resolutions; why we took them and why we didn’t uphold them. I find it’s a good way to get to know oneself a little bit better and to refocus for the rest of the year.

2008 was to be the year I would knit for myself. I didn’t knit exclusively for myself of course. All I did manage was a few pairs of socks (which, like sock yarn doesn’t count as stash, didn’t count for this goal) and one bolero sweater that I still need to knit a sleeve for and piece together. I had set this goal for myself as I was spending way too much time making things for others and money buying nice yarn that would not become knitted objects I could wear.

From 2007 I only have one summer sweater in my closet, the Isabella tee by Jordana Paige. It was not a completely successful knit and I rarely wear it, but still it’s mine. My hope is that someday I will have a closet full of my own hand-made sweaters that fit me perfectly and are free of artificial fibres.

As many knitters do, I have spent a lot of time knitting for people around me and very little for myself. After spending all those hours crafting for others, I have discovered that not all people are worthy of my knitting, and also that I have not had the right mindset to knit for others. I resolved that from now on those who have been appreciative will get small things from time to time; those who request knitting will see their wishes come true, but those who didn’t show the knitting any love, and those who commanded me to knit something instead of asking politely for it will not get anymore. Here are just a few examples to illustrate my point:

Just this week-end I gave my mother a small lace shawl. She looked at it, said thank you and put it back in the box. She did not try it on, she did not exclaim how pretty the lace was or how soft and beautifully coloured the yarn was. I admit I was a bit hurt as I put all my love into it and thought she might have felt it. It was a miss. I still love my mother, don’t get me wrong, but I was disappointed.

My sister loves to watch television. Last year she insisted I take a copy of a 10 season television show she wanted to give me. To make it even, I offered to knit her a sweater in exchange. She accepted gladly and chose the Rogue sweater. I knit it once and had her try it on without the sleeves. She said it was too thin and wanted a thick sweater like the one I bought in Prince-Edward-Island years ago when I didn’t think I could ever be good enough a knitter to make an adult fair-isle fisherman’s sweater. I unravelled the whole thing, bought more yarn and doubled the worsted weight yarn to make the sweater thicker. It was a beautiful sweater, and consequently a bit baggy as she had requested. Unfortunately when she put it in the dryer it stretched a little. I offered to shorten the sleeves and body to make it better several times when she complained they had stretched but she never took me up on my offer. Instead, a few weeks ago, she brought the sweater in a garbage bag and gave it back to me, for keeps. A garbage bag! Here’s someone who will not get a stitch from me for a while. I know I am to blame for a part of this disaster. I never should have accepted to double the yarn as the pattern wasn’t made for it. At least the sweater fits my love Roger and he will gladly wear it. He might not keep it intact very long, but at least he will use it!

On the other hand, my sister-in-law gushes when I knit something for her baby boy. She’s even offered to pay for yarn for me to knit him a bigger bunting bag for next winter. She is worthy of a pair of socks next Christmas.

I have reflected at length on my disappointments and I have come to the conclusion that I have made the mistake of giving things to others that I would like for myself. It’s not the right reason to give and it makes no one happy. Perhaps the person I need to “make” presents for is only myself. Perhaps the comfort and meditation I get from knitting is not transferred to the person who receives a knitted gift and can only be felt by me. Perhaps people around me prefer store bought items to hand-made ones. Perhaps I should find it in my heart to feel I am worthy of a nice piece of knitting before the end of the year. I think a wonderful cabled vest will do the trick to heal this knitter’s heart. The year isn’t over, there is time still. I need something luxurious for myself and I’m going to get it.

If you recognized yourself in this story, perhaps you too deserve a bit of fibre fabulousness in your knitting life.

© The Knitting Haven 2006
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