How to Knit the Right Gift
There’s been a lot of discussion on the blogosphere lately about “knitworthiness.” This is how to determine if a certain person is worth hand-knitting a gift for. Rather than rehash all the wise advice that’s already out there, I’ll just direct you to:
- Prairie Girls Knit and Spin podcast called “Judging Knitworthiness“
- Down Cellar Studio’s blog post called “How to tell if someone is knitworthy“
- Franklin Habit’s delightful flow chart (larger view here)
But once you decide someone is knitworthy, what do you knit? Here are several important things to consider.
1. Does the person wear knitted items, even store-bought ones? I have certain relatives that, try as I might, the only “knitted” thing I can think of them ever wearing is Hanes socks. Although I’m sure a handknit garment would probably make them feel loved, I can’t ever picture them wearing one. If you really want to knit something for someone who never wears knitting, consider non-garments, like blankets, throws, pillows, toys/chachki, or other household items.
2. Where does the person live? If it’s a cold climate, go big and warm and bulky. If not, think lightweight. There’s no point in knitting something beautiful if it’s going to never be used because the climate is wrong.
3. What level of care is the person likely to give to something handknit? I NEVER knit baby items in anything other than superwash, because ain’t nobody with a new baby got time for handwashing. Also, some people who don’t have small children still can’t be relied on to treat a handknit item with the delicate care it requires. Does your recipient routinely throw all the laundry in the machine without sorting on hot? If so, you’re just asking for tears if you give them a handwash-only item.
4. Have you knit for the person before? Do they wear what you knit? Save yourself some stress and just knit them another of the same kind of thing. My mother-in-law is the most unassuming person, yet I think she might be an evil genius when it comes to my knitting. I’ve made her several pairs of socks, and she routinely tells me they’re the best things ever and that they’re all she wears to work. The result? ALL I WANT TO DO IS KNIT HER MORE SOCKS. My husband, also the recipient of several pairs of socks, is less effusive, yet he also wears them all the time. More socks for you, sweetheart.
5. If you haven’t knit for the person before, and they keep complimenting something you knit for yourself or someone else, TAKE THE HINT.
6. If you really can’t figure it out, and you’re willing to remove the element of surprise, you can always ask what the person wants. So as to please your recipient while still knitting something YOU will enjoy, try going through your Ravelry queue or doing a Ravelry search together. Bonus points if you can agree on something that will use yarn you already have in your stash. Beware the team approach, though – if you don’t actually knit the item in a reasonable timeframe, you might start getting nagged.
I’m sure there are many more aspects to consider, but with the holidays coming up, these are the factors that have been on my mind. How do YOU decide what to knit for someone? Leave a comment and let me know!