Wednesday, April 18, 2007

knitting as giving

ella and blankie

I've been thinking a lot lately about the connection between knitting and gift giving. As far as I can tell, hand-knitting is not a get-rich-quick scheme. The cost of the yarn alone is generally more than any machine knit sweater from the store, and that certainly doesn't account for the hours of labor put into any crafted item. And you know what? I like it that way. I like that fact that when you give away something you knit, you are giving away a priceless gift of knowledge and time. And I like to think about the lifespan of the knitted gift, giving warmth and joy long after you forgotten about it and are knitting the next gift.

We live in this crazy world with apparent immediate gratification. And it is an enormous blessing and a curse. We IM, email, call on cell phones and expect speedy replies. We can purchase almost anything we want online and have it shipped to our door with rush service. And sometimes all of this availability makes me feel a bit empty and lacking in some way. The best way I know to counteract this lack is to knit - preferably a gift.

One of the joys of giving knitting as a gift is that you are giving a gift of your scarce valuable time. The time you take to consider what the giftee would like, what color, what fiber. The actual time you spend knitting (and maybe ripping and knitting), time also to think about giftee, your relationship with them, and time to wish them well. If you are knitting for a charity or a new baby you can knit your hopes and dreams for this unknown giftee right into the piece.

Above is a photo of the mitered square blanket that a bunch of us made for our friends expecting their first baby. It was so fun to give them a tangible warm blanket that represented our hopes and dreams for their new family. It's even more fun to hear how baby Ella is responding to the crazy color combinations we stitched together. I'm excited to see how this blanket will fade and unravel as it is enjoyed. I continue to be amazed that something so small as to knit and purl can make someone's day.

I really enjoy this on line knitting/crafting community. I am incredibly inspired by the beautiful and amazing things everyone is making. There is such an endless treasure trove of creativity posted on Flickr and so many blogs. Even the act of blogging and taking the time to share what you are making is a huge gift of time and I really appreciate it. Go take some time and make a gift for someone.

*Photo by Rachel at decenturbanlifestyle Photo posted with permission.


Blogger Liz said...

Great post. David of the Sticks and String podcast has done a few essays in this same vein, if you've never listened to it that's one of my favorite podcasts.

I love giving handknits to the people who really "get" it, who understand that you put a lot of time and money into whatever it was and love both the finished project and its meaning.

11:08 AM  
Blogger Macoco said...

I love giving handknits as gifts - but I get sad if (like liz says) they're not one of the people that 'get it.' Most of my friends get it and I know will cherish the gifts so I like the work and time that the gift takes. But there are some people that I wouldn't consider giving a handmade gift to - because of the lack of appreciation. The attitude of - why would you do that when you could buy it for cheaper?

1:02 PM  
Blogger tomoko said...

I plan to wear the scarf and mittens you gave me till they fall apart. Just the thought of every stitch made by you kept me warm throughout our looong winter. Knitting is the ultimate gift!

btw, you are right. Ella is the cutest baby!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Sally said...

This is awesome Cheryl. I hope you don't mind, but I copied this entry (sans baby picture) onto my blog with a link to your blog. If you don't like that, tell me and I'll remove it. I just really dig this post, because it really captures how I feel about knitting and crafting in general.

9:41 AM  
Blogger cosette said...

lovely meditation.

1:47 PM  

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