Saturday, April 23, 2011

Knitting for Others-- Yay or Nay?

Years ago the Yarn Harlot posted a list which surely must be one of the most popular things she's published. It is a set of rules to abide by when knitting for others. It includes practical ideas for who deserves handknits and how to set realistic goals. I often think of this when I am considering knitting for others. I don't take a lot of requests. And as the years march on, I admit I become more selfish and mostly knit things I plan on keeping. This hinges on a few truisms about my knitting-- mainly, I'm just not that fast. I already have a list of gifts-to-knit-for-me that is long enough to keep me occupied for years. If I interrupt this list to make something for someone else, I have to know that it is going to be really appreciated. For example, a couple of projects ago I did make a pair of socks for my friend Eli, whose grandmother taught me to purl back when purling seemed like an impossibility (seriously-- for my first four years I only ever knitted rectangles).

Last month, I really put myself out there. I occasionally do commentary for Austin's NPR affiliate station, KUT. I am a huge fan of our public radio station and whenever I'm invited to record a piece for broadcast I get very excited. So I nearly fell over when they asked me to go live on the radio as part of their Spring Fund Drive. In my enthusiasm, I offered donors a chance to score a bonus premium. I said I'd knit hats for the first couple of callers to pledge X amount. It worked and the winners were very excited. I was excited, too, but then I had to get down to it and fulfill my promise. I wound up switching out one of the hats for a scarf. I knitted both up in Noro-- see picture above and below-- which I love with all my heart. And I have to say that, while the projects themselves were quite simple, the amazing color scheme of the Noro really added some oomph.

I honestly am a fan of the notion that it's about the journey not the destination, so I allowed myself to enjoy the process knowing that the projects would be sent off to others. On the other hand, I often like the destination-- that is, the finished project-- as much as the journey, which is why I don't have a basketful of UFOs. So what about y'all? Do you mostly knit for you? Or do you mostly knit for others? And what about journey vs. destination-- do you knit with your focus on the meditative nature of rhythmic stitching? Or are you in a big hurry to get things done?


  1. Your scarf is lovely; the donors are very lucky to receive something so beautiful. In answer to your question, I tend to give away most of the things I knit. I guess you could say it is all about the journey for me. I enjoy knitting each project, enjoy working with the different types of yarns and am very happy to give it to someone who will love wearing it as much as I enjoyed knitting it. With the exception of my 2 pair of socks, I have very few of the items I have knitted...they have either gone to charity or to friends.

  2. I knit for the journey not being a very fast knitter. Knitting is a meditation for me so I don't put expectations on myself. Unless you're a knitter, you can't appreciate the effort that goes into a project but I do enjoy receiving hugs for the knitted gifts I've given. My sock projects are for me.