View Full Version : selfish or just realistic... ? about knitting a gift

03-27-2006, 05:34 PM
I'm trying to decide if I'm being too cheap and selfish with my time that I could be knitting for "me" or just realistic. Do you all think that the average non-knitter knows and appriciates the time, money and effort it takes to handknit a baby blanket? I really want to make one for a very good friend of mine. The problem is that I'm on a tight budget but want to use good yarn, have limited time for knitting (4 year old at home with me), am a new knitter so still slow and not very good and the pattern I've chosen (made up sort of) is kind of time consuming. My friend doesn't knit. I'm worried that if I spend months of my time knitting this thing and $$$ on yarn she will do what I'm embarrased to say I did when I was young and got afghans made by Grandma and put them on the shelf never to be seen again.

How selective are you all about who you knit for? Do you carefully choose friends and family who understand what it takes to make something or do you just knit for whoever asks and don't care if it's fully appriciated or not? I love my friend and am thrilled she's expecting but I am also thinking that I could go to the mall and buy a blanket for the little one for about 1/2 the price of making one and it would look way better.

I really love knitting and feel like I'm being totally selfish about this. Please give me some guidance!

what to do... what to do... :thinking:

03-27-2006, 05:37 PM
I know just how you feel! My sister is having her first baby and I decided to make a quilt instead of knitting. It will be cheaper and I think a little more used that a afghan would be for a baby. (Not to mention I know I can finish a baby quilt much faster than a knit item!) My sister appreciates hand knit items, but I do think you're right that nonknitters don't totally understand the time and effort involved.

03-27-2006, 05:44 PM
I totally understand. I decided to just use super bulky, cheap (but very soft) yarn for the baby blanket I am doing. With the bulky yarn and the nice stitch pattern I found, it will only take me a total of three evenings or so to finish it up.

There has to be balance to what we do.

03-27-2006, 05:50 PM
I totally understand!! It has become almost expected of me that I'll knit something for a baby, and I look forward to the opportunity, but I don't do blankets anymore for the reasons you said. It's an awful lot of work and who knows if it will be used? I've done sweaters, but lately stick to hats for people at work who have babies. Quick and easy. They've all been for the dads since I don't know the moms. I suppose if I were friendly with the mom I'd do more.

You're not being selfish. Just because you know how to knit, it doesn't obligate you to knit for someone. Save you skills for a Christmas stocking, or something when the child's older and will wear what you make for a longer time. I wonder how many little blankets, sweaters and booties get worn or used just once because the babies grow so fast, or the mother has already picked out the 'perfect' blanket for the baby's room.

03-27-2006, 05:52 PM
OK, you are not being selfish - you are being realistic! It is a sad fact that non-knitters (usually but not always!) do not appreciate the time and effort that are required to create a gift. I knitted a throw for a graduation from college gift and was simply shattered that the person did not even acknowledge the gift for 4 months.

I think that being selective in who you knit for is a smart thing rather than a selfish thing. When I knit a gift, it is my hope that the person who gets it will understand that it was created with not only time and money but a great deal of affection. I, personally, will not set myself up for that again because it hurts me terribly when a knitted gift is not appreciated.

I wish you luck in your decision but hope that you will not feel guilty if you decided to buy your friend a gift.


03-27-2006, 06:23 PM
I'll join in what seems to be the growing "be selective" chorus. I started out knitting for everyone. Now, I only knit for people I know will appreciate it. It does hurt when all the time and effort isn't understood. :crying:

So now I'll knit for: my mother because "if I make it it's an automatic treasure" :), for my DS who is incredibly appreciative :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: , and myself ;) . I also do easier/faster things for my DD because with 2 kids you "have to" do the same for both :angelgrin: , but she doesn't understand the love/effort/time involved; also some very quick-and-easies for friends etc :balloons: ; nothing for my DH because he never touched the afghan I made for him that took 3 months :evil: ... and DS uses it now! :heart:

Like they said - you're just being smart! :thumbsup:

03-27-2006, 06:30 PM
Thanks ladies for letting me know I'm not crazy for thinking this is a lot of work. I still may do it but I'm just not sure. What I am considering is making a blanket of squares with each letter of the alphabet in one square and 2 blanks so there would be 30 squares in the blanket (5 across and 6 down). I figure it would be cute for a baby but still nice when they get a little older. I'm thinking of making it in knitpicks shine in several colors. The pattern is a set number of stitches so thicker yarn won't make it go faster. Just bigger. I know that knitpicks is cheap but if I only get 2 squares out of a ball that is almost $40 just for the yarn. I hate to get too cheap and use acrylic yarn. Oh well...guess I have some thinking to do.

03-27-2006, 06:40 PM
Knitting has to remain fun for you. If you feel it's becoming a "duty", you'll stop and you will lose your hobby! In the Stitch'n bitch book there is actually a little paragraph about this: if you really want to knit for friends, stick to small projects (hats, bags, etc.). Only friends who knit can really appreciate the effort you put in a big project. Besides, if you consider knitting as a hobby, why should you feel obligated to make clothes for other people? I think it's totally in your right to choose who you knit for and for what occasions. I wouldn't call it selfishness at all! Would you ask a friend who plays the piano to perform a concert in your house for 2 hours? Why would that be different for knitting?

03-27-2006, 07:40 PM
Do you talk to this friend about your knitting addiction? If so, she might be aware of how much time it takes you and how much of your heart went into what you knit for her baby.

I am somewhere in-between on who I will knit for. I went NUTS knitting all of those FT clogs for my whole family for Christmas because I think they are awesome and they ARE being well-used. I wont hesitate (as long as I have time) to hire myself out to knit for another crafter who understands that crafting is not a cheap hobby and that things DO take time. If a close friend goes CRAZY over something Ive made for myself, they might get one for their birthday. But, I DO talk about my knitting alot, so they already know some of what's involved. I would flat-out say "no" to someone who I KNOW thinks store-bought is best.

And, last, I dont make things that I think wont get good use out of them. If Im going to make a baby blanket, its not going to be a frilly lacey delicate "heirloom" kind of thing....its going to be STURDY, machine washable, knit in a stitch that wont catch on little fingers, etc. I really want my efforts to go to good USE.

Hope my input helps! :blush:

03-27-2006, 07:44 PM
I remember last year I crocheted a throw for a wedding gift.I designed it and called it hugs & kisses because it had Xs and Os on it .I didn't get a thank you note till 6 months later and didn't even mention the throw.Just thanks writen on a wedding picture of them.I decided right then no more .Just to close family and thats all.And then I'm still picky about what I knit or crochet for them.I knit mostly for charitys because they always appreciate what you give them.My DH is the only one who knows how much work and time I put into my gifts.He appreicates every thing I make for him. :inlove: So don't feel bad abouy being selective :thumbsup:

03-27-2006, 08:27 PM
I've usually made things primarily for my daughter whether knitted or sewn. Made shirt for my son ONCE. That was enough. Guess he thought he was loved less, but it just worked out that way. I now am thinking of trying knit something for my son...maybe a matching scarf for him and his daughter.

03-27-2006, 08:28 PM
I have decided only to knit for people I know will really appreciate it, or on an occasion when it's something I just really want to knit.

for instance, right now I have several sick relatives and I want to make them something handmade... if my FIL dies and I never knit him anything, I think I'd be sad. So I want him to know I'm thinking of him and care about him, KWIM?

But, generally speaking, I don't think the average person has a clue what goes into knitting, crochet or most any handmade item.

My piano teacher used to tell me that my worst critics would be people who never played a note... they simply have no idea how hard playing the piano is, how much work and heart goes into the piece, how hard it is to play accurately and hide mistakes when performing, etc. I think knitting is similar.

03-28-2006, 12:21 AM
I knitted my mother in law a pair of felted clogs. One night I went over there for supper and some tomatoe sauce spilled on the floor and she happened to be wearing her slippers and used them to wipe up the mess. I know the slippers don't take that long to knit, but I was ticked right off. I decided I was never going to maker her anything ever again.

03-28-2006, 12:48 AM
The problem that I have is that I made a blanket for my MIL couple years ago. Lovingly crocheted, queen sized. It was beautiful! (I still don't have a picture of it *sigh* ) She loved it! gushed to everyone who would listen about how beautiful it is and how I made it for her but she will not use it and won't let anyone else use it because she is afraid to get it dirty or torn. I have tried to tell her that it was meant to be used but she still refuses. It was great to know that she loves it but I hate thinking of all that hard work shoved in a closet for "safe Keeping". So now she gets purses, hats. Quick stuff.
Just my 2 cents :thumbsup:

03-28-2006, 01:03 AM
Oh I agree - you are just being realistic!
Now if your friend had already admired your work and you KNEW she would use your gift - by all means spend the time and money.
But lets face it - babys do all kinds of things to our work. None of which comes out easily in the wash - or looks good as a life time stain.

How about a pair of precious baby booties - everyone loves them, they are quick, cheap (even if you use good yarn you dont have to buy much) and because they are easy to store may even still be around when the intended victim is old enough for their own children.

03-28-2006, 09:38 AM
I am very selective about the people I knit for. I had someone not long ago want me to knit her a pair of socks. She was willing ot pay me. She just wanted a cool pair of socks. She didn't realize the work that went into them. I knew she could never fully appreciate what the socks were and knew that she most likely would throw them in the washing machine instead of lovingly hand washing them and air drying them (and then she would come to me with these itty bitty felted socks and want me to make her another pair!)

OTOH I have a very dear friend who has been sick for a very long time. I was at her house a while back and she was complaining about being cold and her dh brought her a pair of ugly plain white socks. I went home and knit her a pair of ankle socks in the softest wool/silk blend that I had on hand (oh that tells you something when I have a wool/silk blend on hand) and gave them to her the next time I went to see her. I didn't think twice about how she would treat "my" socks and I knew she would appreciate them. She understood when I gave them to her and told her they were wool/silk and needed to be handwashed what that meant. She understands the time and effort it took me to make those socks. It makes me glad that she wears them every night and only wears her slippers with them and would never think of wearing them without slippers!

So yeah, I'm snobbish. BTW, I had a friend who was a weaver when I had my first child. I don't weave, but can appreciate the time and effort she put into her work. She spun and wove for me a baby blanket for my first baby. I still have it. It was used quite often (for all three children) and it is one of my most cherished posessions. So if she has even an inkling of the work you put into it and appreciates its beauty perhaps she will use it. Oh and tell her it is meant to be used!

03-28-2006, 10:01 AM
I got burned badly by making projects for people a few years ago while quilting. My SM asked me to make a quilt for a bedroom - I bought the fabrics according to her color specs. She then changed her mind on the colors. Bought more fabrics. So now I had close to $100 in fabric.....cut it all up and then she announced she had bought a "bed in a bag" kit for $79 that was just what she wanted. No offer to pay me back for fabric or anything. I will never make her anything again beyond a simple scarf or maybe a booga.

I have learned - simple is best, unless you are absolutely sure that the person will love, use and understand the efford involved.

03-28-2006, 10:04 AM
I am a little careful who I knit for, because yarn is expensive, and I won't knit most things in acrylic if I can help it. I have one friend who wants a sweater, and I told her that we'd go one day and pick out the yarn, and if she picks the yarn and picks a pattern she likes, I'll make it for her. That way she'll see how expensive the yarn can be .. and she'll likely offer to help with the cost, if not pay for it entirely.

03-28-2006, 10:04 AM
Even before I learned to knit, I always appreciated handmade items. I understood that they took time & effort.

After my last baby was born, my neighbor gave me a quilt she'd made for him. I use it, but don't abuse it--I don't think she put in the time for me to never use it! Still, I wouldn't want it ruined.

This is the first year I'm knitting Christmas gifts for most of my family, the people who I think will appreciate it. I'm not knitting for everyone, though, because I know some of them won't appreciate it. I would hate to put it all of that time (because to me, my time is way more valuable than any monetary value) & have it received like "feh, big deal." I think that would annoy me.

03-28-2006, 11:05 AM
You ladies are killing me!!! I'm so torn because I have put, litterally, weeks of thought and effort into thinking about what to make, yarn to use and a pattern idea. I hate to think that all that time has been wasted. On the other hand I see your points about spending time on those that would appriciate it.

I think I have come to a compromise. I'm going to go ahead and make a blanket becasue I do think she'll love it but I'm gonna scale down the size and complexity of the pattern. Instead of doing the whole alphabet I'll do ABC and 123 blocks in the middle with blank blocks surrounding them like a border. It will make it 20 blocks instead of 30. This way I'll still make her a blanket like planned, it will be cheaper because less yarn and faster because less squares. Yeah!

03-28-2006, 11:53 AM
I am selective about who I knit for. I :heart: love, love to knit for those of whom will appreciate it :D I am in the process of knitting a few pairs of socks for my wonderful aunt's 70th bday. When I package the socks I will tie on personalized tags that I've made with a picture of pair of socks that I have previously knit with "Handknit Socks" typed across the picture of the socks, this lets the giftee know that I've spent a good deal of time on her gift ;)

03-28-2006, 12:07 PM
The only people I have knit for are my DD's and DH.

Last Christmas, I bought a bunch of yarn and planned to knit hats for my 3 teenage nephews and 2 teenage nieces. However, I quickly came to my senses. They never even say thank you for store bought gifts, so how could they possibly appreciate something home made. I'm now using the yarn to knit hats for charity. At least I know they'll be used and not thrown into a closet somewhere.

03-28-2006, 03:14 PM
I absolutely loved the hand knit/crocheted blankets I recieved for my babies. I used them all the time and they were all the more special to me because I knew someone had taken the time to make them especially for my kids. They weren't big crib size blankets but were perfect for wrapping a newborn in and were fantastic to drape over the car seats in the winter. I recieved many compliments on those blankets and never hesitated to brag that they were hand knitted/crocheted by my husbands aunt. I was no knitter then either.

I think your plan is perfect and I bet your friend will love the blanket.

03-28-2006, 05:41 PM
Instead of doing the whole alphabet I'll do ABC and 123 blocks in the middle with blank blocks surrounding them like a border. It will make it 20 blocks instead of 30.

Good idea. Is the baby born yet? If so, you could knit the baby's name in the in the blanket instead of ABC 123.

Just a thought.

03-28-2006, 06:12 PM
Instead of doing the whole alphabet I'll do ABC and 123 blocks in the middle with blank blocks surrounding them like a border. It will make it 20 blocks instead of 30.

Good idea. Is the baby born yet? If so, you could knit the baby's name in the in the blanket instead of ABC 123.

Just a thought.

Great idea and I had thought of that too but he/she isn't due untill september so I don't even know the sex yet. They are finding out (hopefully) on the 3rd of April but I don't think I'm going to base my colors on that anyway. With my luck they will say Girl, I'll go nuts with pinks and purples, and then a little boy will pop out. Maybe after the birth I'll make something gender-appropriate. I'm secretly hoping for a girl becasue I don't know any to knit for and I would love to make something really cute like a little baby shrug! besides, I want to get started on this thing now becasue I know it will take a lot of time and they haven't even thought about names yet. They'll probably pick it in the delivery room...LOL!

03-28-2006, 09:03 PM
True. My step-daughter changed her baby's middle name about a week after she was born. I also changed my son's name when he was 4 days old. The name I had chosen earlier just didn't suit him.

I guess you don't really know what to name your child until you look in their eyes.

Maybe you could make it a gender-neutral blanket and put "Cool Baby" or something like that on it!

03-29-2006, 10:36 AM
For Christmas I decided to make my family scarves and my grandmother a shawl cause everyone on my side does some kind of hobby... My mom is a quilter, sewer, stitcher,crocheter, and now knitter... my dad works with wood, my grandmother crochets, and so on... now the other side dh side is not crafty... so wasn't gonna do anything for them plus umm yeah they really don't like me... but dh one night asked if I would and I couldn't tell him no with his big green eyes they melt me everytime :lol: so I did and I have no idea if they are used, if they know the hard work, or if they are sitting in the floor somewhere being walked on... this year I'm hoping dh won't ask cause I wanna make my family something and just one of his grandmothers something (only one stands for me) we shall see... I bet he asks :rofling:

03-29-2006, 11:30 AM
Unfortunately, even people that make things themselves don't appreciate hand-made gifts. I had crocheted myself a gorgeous pineapple shawl while pregnant with Lissa. I paid more for that yarn than I had for most afghans I made {pre-knitting days!}. Unfortunately, the end result of that shawl is that is wasn't as warm as I had hoped due to the laciness of the design. I still loved it, but it wasn't the practical shawl I wanted. My SIL {who crochets like most of my DHs family does} was here for 3 weeks after I had Lissa. During her visit here, she wore it constantly and absolutely loved it. I told her to take it with her. She was thrilled. A year and a half later, 2 of my nieces {her DDs} came to visit us. I found out that the shawl had never once been worn since. They saw it when she came home, but never saw it since.

Everyone in my family gets one chance with hand-made gifts. Some of them I won't hesitate to make the most complicated, time-consuming project on the face of the planet. There are others that I won't even make a dishcloth {30 mins to make, pennies worth of yarn} for... my time and supplies are too precious to me to spend them on those that are ungrateful. Those that are grateful may not always appreciate the hard work and such, but they don't make me fel bad about making them something either.