Thursday, May 17, 2012

Passing Along the Passion

Some years I vow to become the World's Most Selfish Knitter, to only ever again knit for myself. When this feeling overtakes me, if I stop to examine it for a few moments, I figure out pretty quickly what's going on. Usually it means that I've had a few too many requests, or I've taken it upon myself (without being asked) to make a few too many gifts for others. And it also probably means that I've been hankering to sink my needles into a sweater for me, and each new gift I stop to make-- great or small-- is coming between me and that sweater.

In truth, I actually like knitting for others. But as the Yarn Harlot pointed out many years ago, it's pretty important to only knit things for people who actually appreciate your efforts. And you can tell the difference very quickly between people who aren't duly impressed and those who are so thrilled to be on the receiving end of handknits that likely they will wear your gift even in the summer. 

Toward that end, there's a pair of young sisters here in Austin for whom I've been knitting since before they were born. Literally. I made them each their first handknit caps. And then, when the elder outgrew hers, her mother sent me a very funny picture of little Annabelle, her head crammed into the cap, with a note saying that, no rush or anything, but A's brain was getting squished and might I knit another, larger hat for her?

That next hat because a reward for potty training, of all things. It was pink and had kitty cat ears and was a major hit. So when I ran into Annabelle at a dinner party recently, and she asked if I would please make her another hat, how could I refuse? 

This time, we really had some fun. Since Annabelle is four, she knows how to make choices. She very decisively told me that she wanted a lemon hat, with arms and legs and eyes and a smile. I promised her she could come along to the knit shop with me to pick out the yarn. So she and I and her mom and her little sister made an adventure of it, the little one rooting through baskets of yarn and tossing them about, and Annabelle focused on her task. We scored some super lemony yellow yarn.

Next step-- I asked Annabelle to sketch just what she had in mind. The photo her mom sent me of the sketch is, as you can see, priceless. After some consulting with the mom-unit about how much liberty I might take, I have come up with a plan. At the very top of this post, my youngest child, Rebound, is modeling the actual hat. You can't tell in the picture, but it comes to a lemony point at the top. 

Now, I am making i-cord arms and legs. I went hunting for sew-on googly eyes to no avail. I did find some doll eyes, but I'm realizing now if I attach them it's going to make the inside of the hat uncomfortable. So I think I'll sew on the eyes and the smile, and hope that Annabelle agrees that I have brought her vision to life.

After that, I'll whip up a nice orange hat for her sister-- must always give gifts to both girls (as a middle child, I know this better than anyone). And then I'll get back to the socks I was making for me. And hopefully I can squeeze in a sweater or two before the girls outgrow these hats. 

I'm thrilled they appreciate my efforts and though it's a long way off, I'm already imagining making them sweaters of their own for when they ship off to fancy New England colleges, fifteen or so years from now. 

And you? For whom do you knit? And what? Have you had any ridiculous requests? I want to hear. 

1 comment:

  1. I knitted a luscious baby blanket out of a silk/cashmere yarn...not washable and not a baby yarn by any means. You know how some babies have that one thing they can never be separated from or go to sleep without? Well, as luck would have it, this baby chose the blanket I knitted. I sent a bottle of wool wash with the gift and specific hand-washing instructions, but it takes time for blankets to dry. I had no idea this blanket would be used on a daily basis. The mother wrote to me asking if I might knit another one. (As though this were no big deal; she's totally naive.) I don't want to say how much I spent in yarn...a ridiculous amount of money for a baby blanket. Then I found out the yarn had been discontinued and was nowhere to be found. I had a little left over and knitted a tiny blanket. Fortunately, she has latched onto this as well. So lucky we are that the parents can once again get their baby girl to sleep, and in a few years this cherub's dolly will have a 'bankie.'