Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Knit one Give two

No knitting pictures but a knitting Christmas story - okay?

Back in one of my last knitting frenzies (I cycle through crafts every 3-5 years) I made presents for all the family. My cousins, aunts and uncles are all part of the Christmas day gathering and we used to swap gifts with everyone. I was poverty stricken as I had my own business and every penny went to the shop and not me. McDonald's was a big treat back then. Anyway- I made presents. I would use yarn from the shop but, as any shop owner can tell you, you still have to pay for that yarn. It's not magically free.

All of us know hand knit gifts are not cheap. There's the yarn, the pattern, the knitting needles, the time it takes to make the gift. All in all I actually spent more on the handmade gifts than if I just went out and bought something. Silly me, but I like giving of myself....

One year my one aunt got a throw pillow -cabled in ecru, I had to buy a pillow form besides all the above items. As she opened it she commented on how nice it was and a bit later in the evening mentioned how nice it was that I could make presents. Her kids weren't crafty and didn't have the time because they were teachers and didn't make much money so had problems getting presents- hinting that it was cheaper to make presents. Okay - at this point I took a deep breath and kind of nodded my head. BUT -

inside I was ranting and raving. Her poor poverty stricken teacher kids made more than I did. Worked less than I did (getting holidays and summers off) and paid less for their presents than I did without including my time! But I didn't say that out loud. I smiled. I made a mental note that I would buy presents (for her) from now on instead of making them and spend what her kids did. I have to add I like my aunt and I like my cousins and never held this incident against them. I just have a long memory and choose to make handcrafted gifts for people that realize the cost and time involved. People who see that handcrafted gifts are not just a way to give something cheaper.

Another aunt used to paint china. She was an artist with a plate and paint. I have several of her pieces and treasure them. She got it. Her plates were not cheap. The supplies, the kiln, the time and talent. WOW! When I gave her a handcrafted gift I knew she understood it wasn't to save money but to give extra of myself to her.

In the past several years the family quit swapping gifts. I said something to my friends about not having family to give gifts to anymore and they offered to accept anything I wanted to make. This year they'll get their wish. Last January I taught several of them how to knit (or at least tried!) Now that they have tried knitting on their own, the knowledge is there. They know it's a skill and talent and doesn't magically happen in a minute or two. They know how long it takes to make a small square much less how long it takes to make socks or gloves. They know the cost of yarn and that some yarns are better than others. Even if they never knit again my friends now know what I'm actually giving them with a knitted gift. I'm giving them my time and talent and my best wishes for them. Yup. they're ready for the knitted goodies they're getting this year and I'm excited to give them hats and gloves and socks and........

1 comment:

M said...

I just picked up knitting. Did a teeny tiny washcloth and that took me a week :D
So, am always amazed by all your knitting goodies!!

Anyways, the point of de-lurking is to let you know that I frequent your blog alomost every single day and amone among those inspired by your beautiful creations! :)
Merry Christmas!!!
M