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04-16-2006, 06:36 PM
I know this is a sensitive subject seeing as some of you fellow knitters are MIL's. But I must ask for some guidence whether I like the answer or not!!

Okeedokee, here goes...Should I make my mil a blanket/afghan for Christmas? I know this is a bit early to be thinking of the holidays but I'm not a fast or good knitter.

Now, before you make a decision let me add that we are not on the best of terms and haven't been in quite some time. We've had quite the rocky relationship from the beginning and there was a time when my DH and I didn't even speak to them, for quite a while too.

We have since begun to take the painstaking steps at rebuilding the relationship, or should I say my hubby has, they never talk to me when HE calls THEM. I know its sad but it's true. And since I was thinking of making one for my mother and father for a gift, I was wondering if I should be the "bigger person" and maybe make them one too.

Am I crazy here or what?? After re-reading this post I'm wondering why on earth I'm asking you to take your time to even answer this!! :??

Rennagayle
04-16-2006, 06:46 PM
I think you know what you really should do here, though it certainly helps to vent feelings and seek advice!

Whether I was a mil or not (and I am a step-mil), just as being a decent human being, it would be a good step for you to take in mending a past broken relationship. What better way to take that first step than to give of yourself, which knitting is. Even if your mil never comes around, you will have done what your gut instinct told you to do, and that is usually the right thing to do.

I wish you the best! :thumbsup:

Julie
04-16-2006, 07:13 PM
My .02....if you've had a rocky relationship, be careful how much time and effort you put into a gift that she may not appreciate. An afghan is a huge project! It would be a lovely gesture on your part, but it would also be sad if she didn't like it/use it. It would be a real shame IMHO to invest that much time into something you're not 100% sure she will adore/be appropriately grateful for. My gut says by all means make her something....jsut maybe not something so large, if you run the risk of being hurt by her reaction to it. Does that make any sense?

04-16-2006, 07:22 PM
My .02....if you've had a rocky relationship, be careful how much time and effort you put into a gift that she may not appreciate. An afghan is a huge project! It would be a lovely gesture on your part, but it would also be sad if she didn't like it/use it. It would be a real shame IMHO to invest that much time into something you're not 100% sure she will adore/be appropriately grateful for. My gut says by all means make her something....jsut maybe not something so large, if you run the risk of being hurt by her reaction to it. Does that make any sense?

Yes, that does make sense, and I did think of that end of the spectrum, but I keep going back and forth with it. I don't think she would not like it, but like you say, what if she did reject it? Then I go to the extreme and think why the heck should I make anything at all?!!! And then I think, oh my if my mother could read this, she'd smack me! :roflhard:

I think too much, I have a lot of time on my hands. :oops:

It is a huge project, thanks for the opinions. I'll keep thinking about it.

Rennagayle
04-16-2006, 07:23 PM
Julie makes a excellent point in that an afghan is a very time-consuming project. I'd hate to think I had to finish three afghans between now and Christmas :shock:, and I am working on Christmas gifts.

You may have felt you should make an afghan for your mil because that's what you're making for your mom, and don't want your mil to feel slighted. I try and not determine what I'll make for one person based on what I've made for another. Instead I determine what kind of gift I think will be treasured most by the recipient.

aylaanne
04-16-2006, 07:53 PM
What everyone else said. I'd either make her something smaller--like a collection of coordinating dish towels--or buy her an afgan. Knitting one is too much emotional effort for what you'd probably get back. I doubt that the gifting of a hand-knitted afgan is going to cause you to fall into each others' arms with love, but it can cause some serious emotional harm to you if she rejects it or treats it with blah.

I have the same kind of relationship with my father, and I will never knit him anything because honestly that's more time, effort, and love than he's ever shown me, and my time, effort, and love can do more good elsewhere.

Just my personal 2.

knittingachiever
04-16-2006, 08:11 PM
Well... I have been in a very similar situation, and I have gone through the same sorts of confusing issues. My DH does not have a good relationship with his mom and consequently my relationship with her has been tenuous. Last year as I was working on holiday knitting, I thought long and hard about what, if anything, I was willing to make for her. I ended up settling on a scarf - it was easy and not extremely time-consuming, but she appreciated the effort I put in and it has gone a long way toward smoothing out all our relationships.

I think it is admirable that you want to create something for your MIL, but if you spend an enormous amount of time and energy on something that she rejects, your feelings of resentment will do much more harm to the relationship than the gift could have done to mend it.

Cristy
04-16-2006, 08:39 PM
I think that the fact that you are even considering it makes you the bigger person...that being said I think it's a great idea to knit for her--small tokens of kindness go a long way sometimes...

I've never knitting an afghan although I have plans to...probably for Christmas....I tend to stick to smaller things. I'd probably opt for a scarf and if you need a father in law gift--go for socks or a scarf for him too if he'd wear it...

rebecca
04-16-2006, 08:46 PM
I agree 100%, you are thinking of her, which shows that you have a huge :heart: & want to take steps to mend the relationship :D I have made beautiful scarves that were greatly appreciated. One that isn't very difficult, the pattern is free & it's beautiful is Knitty's Branching Out (http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/PATTbranchingout.html), of course there are a gazillion others, u may want to look @ www.knittingpatterncentral.com for ideas for 100's of projects no matter what u decide :D Good luck, I do hope & pray she sees & appreciates your big heart :D

04-16-2006, 10:51 PM
Well, I've read all of your advice and you all are right, an afghan is just too much of gift that I'm willing to give to her. I know that sounds really terrible, but its the sad truth.

My mother will open her box and I can just picture her face, it'll take 3 tenths of a second and the tears will be comin' on down :lol:

Maybe I will make her some dishcloths or dish towels. That won't take too long, but it will still be a part of me I'm giving to her. And maybe that'll be what it takes to begin to mend some pretty torn fences. :(

Thanks everyone, you've helped me more than you'll ever know. :sunny:

cookworm
04-17-2006, 09:42 AM
doglover, for what it's worth, here's my 2 too. I think that the idea of making your MIL an afghan to try to mend the relationship is a very kind idea, but I agree with a lot of the members here...you'll put a lot of time and work into it, and if she doesn't have the response you are hoping for, will you be disappointed? I knitted a hat for my stepniece's new baby, and my sister-in-law and I don't really have "warm and fuzzy" feelings for each other, but I did a very small project to let them know I care, and I did it without expecting even so much as a thank you or any recognition. Not a big project I know, but I think by letting the obligation of my own happiness depending on a big reaction go was very liberating to me.

Maybe you can decide what to do by asking yourself some things. Does you MIL knit, crochet, quilt, craft herself? Because if she does, then she will have at least a better appreciation for your efforts than a person who doesn't do these things. Okay, so maybe you don't make her an afghan, but maybe you can look to see what she is interested in or likes. Does she drink tea? Maybe she'd like a tea cozy. Does she play golf? Maybe you could make her some golf club covers? Is she a spiritual woman? If so, there is a possibility you can knit her something that she could still wrap around herself as she would an afghan, but it's MUCH less labor intensive...you could knit her a prayer shawl. It can be as simple as a rectangular piece of knitted fabric with some fringe (or more elaborate, of course), and I think a simpler version can certainly be done in a month's time or less. If you are a spiritual woman and don't mind doing this following project, what it involves is praying for the recipient while you knit. This would accomplish two goals--the gift of course, but also it will help mend the relationship in an unforseen way. You can "dress" up the shawl with beads or even charms of things she has an interest in. I made a shawl for my sister with a little teacup (because she loves tea), a sparkly initial charm of the first letter of her first name, and a holy medal. For my mom, I attached a pin to her shawl with little grandchildren charms, and on both shawls, I knitted beads onto them. I started a shawl for my MIL, but haven't finished it because I have a somewhat awkward relationship with my her (I need to finish it though; it would be a nice gesture to her, but it would be a good "therapy" for me!). We're not hostile towards one another; I blame the "roadblock" in our relationship 100% on myself if I'd learn to just look past and ignore things I don't agree with :( . Knitting something like this can be very healing; you'd be surprised. Anyway, if you go the shawl route, you might want to check out the website for helpful hints, patterns, etc. at http://www.shawlministry.com/. Good luck!

1to1
04-17-2006, 12:18 PM
I could have posted this cause I'm in the exact same situation and was planning on crocheting (everyone says it is quicker :thinking:) an afghan for MIL.

I wanted it to be a surprised but didn't want to expend my time and expense on it then it not be appreciated. So I showed MIL some pattern books of afghans and asked it she'd like one. She said she'd like a cape or shawl. I went to several stores looking for books/patterns. Then I spent like 5 hours searching the web and looking at hundreds of patterns. I printed out several that I thought she might like.

I took the patterns along to show her the next time I knew I was going to see her (that next weekend) and when I saw her she was wearing a store-bought cape. :crying:

I didn't say anything and didn't show her the patterns. I know she has no idea that it hurt my feelings but I was just thankful that I hadn't spent anymore time on it.

I love making things for other people but I generally know who is going to appreciate it and who won't and consider that in selecting the project.

Celine
04-18-2006, 04:56 AM
I'd say make her a beautiful scarf. That way you can "SEE" how she reacts to all your hard work and if it is appreciated. Maybe in a few years you'll really want to make her an afghan and it will be appreciated by then. :XX: :XX:

When your dh talks on the phone to her do you ever say" let me say hello" or are you waiting for her to ask to speak to you? If you really wish to speak to her it may take YOU being the one to ask to speak to her first. Good Luck :D

koolbreeze
04-18-2006, 10:58 AM
i'm making my sisters baby an outfit... i don't even speak to my sister and she lives like 10 minutes away from me. i will not be handing her the gift.. it will be going through the mail, when i get the address. i decided to make something because its an innocent baby in the middle of the battle of the sisters. though i do not like my sister i will not hold it much against the baby.. i prolly won't ever see the baby but at least she can't say i don't care like i can for her cause shes not got my kids anything in years. though these situations are different. with that said... cause i'm late on this, i would IF you want to make the relationship better. that would be a way for you to open the door without having to say anything. i have not read the other replys so this might have already been said! GOOD LUCK!!!

mulene
04-18-2006, 11:13 AM
I'd go with a scarf too. I'll personally be going for an afghan for my mother for Christmas.

I had a nightmare MIL to be for a long time (7 1/2 years) and I detested gift giving times. My fiance and I were broke most of the time. we had a big mortgage to pay but if we didn't make a huge financially crippling gesture to her at gift giving times, there would be hell to pay. We also had to visit at Christmas and birthdays. It wouldn't have been so bad if it were one year on one year off at Christmas but it was demanded that we visit and spend every Christmas there. My own poor family were left perplexed and thinking I detested them because they were far less demanding as people! When the relationship ended, it was as big a relief to be out of it for the nightmare MIL as it was to be away from the nightmare fiancee :happydance:

I was not a knitter during this time, or rather I was an "ex" knitter. If I had been a knitter, I would have possibly made a felted bag or a scarf but nothing that had to have a lot of emotional effort put into it such as an afghan.

I love the drop stitch scarf pattern on KH, it is quick and easy to knit up and the variations it produces in different yarns is amazing (check out the stained glass yarn used by some on this).

Start small - from little things big things grow. Maybe one day she would be more open and accepting, then you can make her an afghan =D

04-18-2006, 12:41 PM
When your dh talks on the phone to her do you ever say" let me say hello" or are you waiting for her to ask to speak to you? If you really wish to speak to her it may take YOU being the one to ask to speak to her first. Good Luck :D

No, I don't ask to talk to her and vice versa because in all honesty I don't want to talk to her. But one time I did call her and tell her we had changed our phone #, and after 2 minutes she "had to go". Now had it been her son, well, you get my drift.

That's why I don't bother talking to her. I figure why rock the boat, they don't like me and I don't like them. Everyone is remotely happy with the arrangement. :lol: Sometimes the only way to get along is to keep your distance and that works for us. Sad but true. I wish I did get along with her like we did before we got engaged (that's when it all went to hell). Talk about pulling a Dr. Jekle and Mr. Hyde act. She's good.

I must stop now because my bad feeling are beginning to surface! Down, down negative thoughts. :rofling: :rofling:

04-18-2006, 12:48 PM
its an innocent baby in the middle of the battle of the sisters.

I understand where you are coming from in the sibling issue. My dh's brother and sister all took up with their parents and banned us from their lives when before the engagement we were so close with our nieces and nephew. Once the ring went on, that all changed.

My goodness, you'd think we were in a cult or something!!! At least his grandparents still love us. They always accepted me. They are the sweetest people in the world (I didn't get to grow up with a grandpa they both passed just after I was born) having him in my life has been such a blessing. They are in their late 80's going strong. His grandma is a real spitfire!! :lol: :lol: She still climbs ladders to pick cherries!!

sara_jayne
04-18-2006, 01:11 PM
I wish I did get along with her like we did before we got engaged (that's when it all went to hell). Talk about pulling a Dr. Jekle and Mr. Hyde act. She's good.

It felt like I wrote this sentence!!! This is exactly how it was (is) in my relationship too. As soon as we were engaged things got horrible. We've only been married for a year now and we have hit some rock bottom spots (including my DH not talking to his mom for a month because she was sor horrible). I've finally started to learn that I can't take it personally - I don't think she would like ANYONE my DH married (he's her "baby") and I really don't need her to like me, what is important is that my DH and I love eachother and are very happy and if she can't accept that (and be happy for her son) then phooey on her! (It is hard not to be negative about it though!)

04-18-2006, 05:05 PM
I wish I did get along with her like we did before we got engaged (that's when it all went to hell). Talk about pulling a Dr. Jekle and Mr. Hyde act. She's good.

I've finally started to learn that I can't take it personally - I don't think she would like ANYONE my DH married (he's her "baby") and I really don't need her to like me, what is important is that my DH and I love eachother and are very happy and if she can't accept that (and be happy for her son) then phooey on her! (It is hard not to be negative about it though!)

I hear ya honey, Phooey on her!!! :roflhard: It is hard not to be negative, I totally agree with you. I wish I was at the place where I could say I'm not taking it personally, but I haven't gotten there yet. Maybe cause we haven't had to deal with them on a daily basis for 4 yrs. It really has been good since we moved.

I know in my head that it is their problem, not mine, but in my heart it still hurts. But I'm not going to be something I'm not just to get on their good side. Life's too short for that crap!! I am who I am, a decent, kind and compassionate person. With plenty of flaws, but who doesn't have those!! Life is too short to be a bitter person. I learned that by watching my grandmother. Kinda sad I had to learn it by watching her, but, that was the hand I was delt. It could have been a lot worse.

But I think I will stick with some washcloths and leave it at that. Baby steps, Cathy, baby steps. ;)

sara_jayne
04-18-2006, 05:22 PM
I know in my head that it is their problem, not mine, but in my heart it still hurts. But I'm not going to be something I'm not just to get on their good side. Life's too short for that crap!! I am who I am, a decent, kind and compassionate person. With plenty of flaws, but who doesn't have those!! Life is too short to be a bitter person. I learned that by watching my grandmother. Kinda sad I had to learn it by watching her, but, that was the hand I was delt. It could have been a lot worse.

:thumbsup: AMEN Sista'! It does still hurt and I've learned to get over trying to make things better with her....we can be civil to one another and co-exist on weekend visits but I'm not going out of my way to be the "super" daughter in law - I'm who I am and gosh darn it I like who I am!

Stay strong and know so many of us understand what you are feeing! ;)

cookworm
04-18-2006, 10:37 PM
(including my DH not talking to his mom for a month because she was sor horrible).
Sara, this may not bring you a lot of comfort, but it seems like your husband at least knows the score and sides with you...this must be somewhat of a consolation (albeit a small one probably). Some husbands never side with their wives and always side with their relatives, no matter how innocent a wife may be or how horrible the husband's family can be. And yes, there are some mothers of sons out there that think that no matter who their son chooses, she might make a fine girlfriend, but that girl isn't good enough to be his wife! (personal experience here) ;)

WynnieG
04-18-2006, 10:55 PM
I know in my head that it is their problem, not mine, but in my heart it still hurts. But I'm not going to be something I'm not just to get on their good side. Life's too short for that crap!! I am who I am, a decent, kind and compassionate person. With plenty of flaws, but who doesn't have those!! Life is too short to be a bitter person. I learned that by watching my grandmother. Kinda sad I had to learn it by watching her, but, that was the hand I was delt. It could have been a lot worse.


DL, I'm going through the same thing, only not with the MIL, but with my own mother. She is, how shall I say.... unspeakably negative and abusive. It has only become worse since my father passed away - I think he held her in check to some extent, but with his passing the gloves came off. My sister and only sibling is very much her mother's daughter, which makes things doubly distressing. In short, they tag team me. I find myself sympathizing with Anne Elliot from Persuasion a lot.

Mercifully, I married into a family of warm, open-hearted people, and my MIL is as funny and sympathetic as I had ever wished my own mother to be. For her, I would knit anything. My mother....not so much. I spend as little time with my mother and sister as I possibly can get away with, and since my marriage, this has proved to be a satisfactory arrangement for us, and I think for them as well.

In terms of the project... let your conscience guide you. The fact that you contemplate this at all shows what a wellspring of compassion and regard for doing right you have. This is to your credit! But as others have offered before, there are ways of making the gesture without bankrupting yourself emotionally or materially. Consider what she might deem useful; ask your DH for his opinion, if you think it will offer insight.

Trying to balance the amount of effort against the potential level of appreciation in planning a project is nearly impossible. Rare is the individual who will praise a handicraft at or above its worth to its creator. When we undertake these projects for difficult people in our lives, our reasons are many - a sense of duty or obligation, a wish to mend relationships, etc. I have come to recognize the hard way that no matter the motive for the project, the resultant reaction must not be counted on. I have made crafts for members of my family, and have received little in the way of gratification from acknowledgement, let alone praise; but I have learned to let go of the result. A lesson in the virtue of humility, though it does go hard... and it has caused me to do less for those who do not show any gratitude for the work. I don't know if this makes me mean-spirited, resentful, or just human.

sara_jayne
04-18-2006, 11:04 PM
(including my DH not talking to his mom for a month because she was sor horrible).
Sara, this may not bring you a lot of comfort, but it seems like your husband at least knows the score and sides with you...this must be somewhat of a consolation (albeit a small one probably). Some husbands never side with their wives and always side with their relatives, no matter how innocent a wife may be or how horrible the husband's family can be. And yes, there are some mothers of sons out there that think that no matter who their son chooses, she might make a fine girlfriend, but that girl isn't good enough to be his wife! (personal experience here) ;)

It does bring me comfort because he does listen to me and realizes what happens. Sometimes I have to point things out to him because, as a guy, he isn't to observant...like one time when the three of us were sitting around the dining room table and he and his mother had a converation for 1.5 hours and never included me. Even though he realizes what she does the down fall is he never done anything about it...he never stands up to his mom. I desperatley want to do so because usually I don't take crap but I haven't done it to her because the last thing I want to do is cause more issues! I agree - for some mom's it doesn't matter WHO it is they are never going to be good enough for her son...but that is hard at the same time because I just wish she could see how happy and how well I take care of him and just be happy that it isn't worse.....I don't think my DH and I are going to have children, but if we ever do I'm going to take these lessons and NEVER be like that.

nicolethegeek
04-19-2006, 01:17 AM
I tend to be very choosy as to whom I will make something for. I have issues with much of my DHs family since several of them had tried to break us up early in our relationship {they were successful temporarily unfortunately}. Any of those involved in that "conspiracy" will never get as much as a simple dishcloth that I have made, which are the most meaningless item I make emotionally and financially {for my basic pattern, I get dozens out of a ball of cotton, and they take me less than 30 mins. to crochet}. At the same time, I will make the most difficult and intricate patterns out of the costliest of materials for others. I make those for people that will appreciate it... meaning that they will use and love the items I've made even if they don't fully understand how much it took from me. My mother's family has basically abandoned us since her death, to the point that only one of my aunts has ever seen Lissa, and that was just prior to Christmas, right before she turned two. That aunt is the only person in my mother's family that will ever receive anything that I have made since she is the only one that hasn't fully turned her back on us. {Note: Over 50% of my Mom's family lives in our city or the suburbs, with a further 25% in the same province with less than an hour drive here}.

My personal family issues aside, I will only commit as much of myself to a project as I'm willing to lose for that person. If I felt the "need" to make something for my MIL or SIL, I would make it something that I could give freely of myself... a simple afghan that I can crochet in a week out of yarn that I wanted to get rid of from my stash; a knitted scarf out of some inexpensive novelty yarn; etc. That way if my worst fears are realized, they absolutely hate it, and get rid of it immediately, I haven't lost anything personally since I didn't put any emotional value on it. Clear as mud?

</end soapbox>

glomper
04-19-2006, 03:36 AM
You are very lucky if your DH supports you. I have been married to my DH for 11 years now and it is only in the last year or so that he can ever admit that a) I am not imagining things and b) his family aren't perfect and I am not always just being a miserable "B". Mind you that is probably only because they have finally figured that he isn't perfect and are only indulgent with him now rather than super-dooper smotheringly indulgent. And of course we have children now who are no longer cute little babies and the in-laws excuses not to spend time with them even though they only live 10 mins by car away and are retired and in good health are getting more and more pathetic. I used to feel like I always had to be present at any get-togethers but have found that since I absent myself 2/3 of the time now that our mutual dislike is not so intense and they have to focus on each other and not just on me.

They all (my DH included) still think I am a bit odd but I can't be bothered with too many visits when they spend 3/4 of the time talking in a language I can't understand (Dutch) when they speak fluent english and don't bother to teach the children their language but seem to expect that they should just be able to speak it like native Dutch anyway.

Anyway enough venting, I would NOT do a big project such as an afghan for MIL. I have made 2 scarves for my MIL and never seen her wear either of them and would be mightly p...'d off if I had made something as significant as an afghan for her. As it is she makes stupid comments when she sees I am knitting something like "oh are you still knitting" in a tone that implies I must be an idiot and "oh another jumper for for the child - she has too many already". I better stop this before I start venting about my own family, plenty of fodder there too.

Good luck and I'd stick to the dishcloth, scarf or other small project idea for the MIL.

cookworm
04-20-2006, 08:28 AM
[quote=doglover]
my own mother. She is, how shall I say.... unspeakably negative and abusive. It has only become worse since my father passed away - I think he held her in check to some extent, but with his passing the gloves came off.


Boy, I must have a lot of sisters separated at birth! :roflhard: Wynnie, my mom too is unspeakably negative and VERY critical and not very supportive (not abusive, though), and although my dad is negative too, he really doesn't stand a snowball's chance in you-know-where against my mom! ;) It took me a long time to get past the point of always seeking her approval because I'd never get it; I'm never going to measure up. That's okay though. I just do my best trying to be a good wife and a good mom; some days are more successful than others. She's totally oblivious to how critical she can be I know; I've tried to point it out to her, but she constantly suffers from hurt feelings if you say the slightest thing, so I've given up.

You are very lucky if your DH supports you. I have been married to my DH for 11 years now and it is only in the last year or so that he can ever admit that a) I am not imagining things and b) his family aren't perfect and I am not always just being a miserable "B".[quote]

glomper, can my husband take lessons from your husband? :rofling: He still doesn't get it either. He's pretty oblivious to anything his family says or does, and most of the time he's out of the room when things are said or implied. I've figured that after all these years, it doesn't do any good to point it out to him if he's not going to see things for what they are. He'll have to see it in his own time. I "imagine things" and it's my family with the "issues", and I'm always "miserable".

[quote]And of course we have children now who are no longer cute little babies and the in-laws excuses not to spend time with them even though they only live 10 mins by car away and are retired and in good health are getting more and more pathetic.[quote]

What is it about people that insist they want to be grandparents--they love whipping out the pictures to brag to people--but don't want to spend time with their grandkids???? Without going into too much detail, there's a lot of this going around in my neck of the woods. It's always that somebody is "sick" or "might be sick" or some other lame excuse. I don't get it. Yeah, I might get run over by a truck today, but I'd still like to visit with my new little nephew! ;)

[quote]I used to feel like I always had to be present at any get-togethers but have found that since I absent myself 2/3 of the time now that our mutual dislike is not so intense and they have to focus on each other and not just on me.

I've strongly considered this, but I can't see my husband obliging to this. If I worked outside of the home, my next best solution would've been to conveniently arrange my work schedule so that I'd have to work on the day of the function, though. :lol: