It’s a Gift

By Kay Gardiner
January 12, 2023

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140 Comments
  • Love this Kay. There is a very particular kind of delight in seeing someone you love enjoying your knitting. I’ve given away far more knitted items than I own. I think it’s my love language

    • That’s exactly it: love language.

      • Kay, what needle size are you using for this pattern and yarn? I’ve started on 4s but thinking the drape is not going to be great.

  • I am on my second Sophia Scarf. The first already given and gone. It is an excellent pattern for that leftover yarn that is nice, soft, colorful. Whatever. I just weigh my ball before starting, knit to a little under 50% and start my decreases. I can see having one these on the go in my purse project bag always. And you get a great smile on the recipient’s face @ especially since they didn’t expect it.

    • For gift giving I always seem to have Purl Soho Bandana Cowls ready to give. Put me me near Malbrigo Rios and another one goes on the needles.
      Just bought the Sophie pattern so perhaps that will be changing.

  • I knit for myself anymore…..too many times the giftee, even though consulted on the choice of item, color and size, never expressed any appreciation or showed evidence of wearing it, i don’t take it personally, I just don’t want to waste time and energy.

    • So many good ideas about gift knitting here. Thank you!

    • Yup. I still knit the occasional gift, but it’s rare now.

    • I feel you.

    • I agree. I knitted a baby blanket for my nieces new baby boy and she never said thank you or acknowledged it. Luckily I have another niece who is still wearing the hand knit socks I made her 12 years ago. But this year at 60 I’am finally crafting all the things I’ve always wanted but gave away to someone I loved instead. I hope your knitting goes well and you are able to make lots of special things for yourself. All my best, Debbie

      • Thanks for the love❤️ I am knitting a number of projects for myself right now. I hope you’re enjoying some self-love too!

  • About 10 rows from finishing first Sophie scarf. I know there will be more!

  • Oh heavens! I just went on a binge making three of them. Two of them pairing fingering with kid silk mohair that takes the weight to DK and using 3.75mm needles. Yarn usage was 40g each of the Fingering and the Kid Silk Mohair

    • Oh this is what I can do with my leftover Loft from my Sommerfeld Shawl!

    • Great idea!

    • I’m on a binge of Oslo hats right now. Love PetiteKnits!

  • If I am knitting something without a planned recipient I always feel a little pang of “That used to be mine” when I impetuously give it away, but if I really miss it I will knit another one. Thus I still have a huge overflowing drawer of shawls and scarves. (Want one?)

    • This is me, totally!

  • I love working with my gift receiver. I text pictures of wool at the yarn store. My grandmother came back from Denmark 35 years ago with wool and a pattern book. I picked the pattern and she knit it. Wore it to school first day. It was sweltering but I wore it and loved it. It is treated with reverence to this day. I absolutely LOVE the sweater. I will pass it down to my daughter some day too.

    • I do this too

  • Totally agree with you on this philosophy of gifting, Kay. Eons ago, pre-retirement, I kept an assortment of lace shawls in my office because the temperature there fluctuated day by day. One day we were in an all-day marathon in a FREEZING meeting room. On a break, I went back to my office to get a shawl. A colleague who was also freezing was with me, so I spontaneously gifted her a shawl that happened to look wonderful on her — the color was perfect for her coloring and looked fantastic with the suit she was wearing. It’s possible this gave me more joy than it did her. But she was pretty darn joyful!

  • I love knitting socks. Even as I knit blankets and throws (Quattro Wrap almost completed), my fingers itch to work with smaller needles. So I have been giving away socks to the people I work with for about 5 years now. Every year when winter comes, people send me pictures of their feet. So much fun. So much joy for me and for them.

    • An image of your inbox filled with pictures of random feet made me laugh out loud! Thanks for your generous gift of joy with my morning tea.

    • I do this too. It would be impossible to wear all the socks I knit so I keep a few on hand for when an impromptu gift need arises. Or sometimes if a nonprofit has a silent auction I’ll donate those items for their fundraiser

  • For years I have kept a bin to which I add items I make – but don’t want to add to my own personal rotation of wear. Often – I simply wanted to try the yarn or wanted to play with those colors. It has hundreds of wash cloths and at least 2 dozen assorted asymmetrical scarves/shawls. I pull out the bin(s) and invite my friends chose their own treats for the holidays and as thank-yous. This way no one gets gifted something that isn’t to their liking. I am a firm believer in not trying to surprise people or to guess what someone else might like!

  • After reading this I have to get a Sophie scarf on my needles. I loved your discrete comment ” (if someone doesn’t feel bliss upon receiving a handknit, that’s a shrug for me, I don’t take it personally, bless their heart).”.

  • Kay-oh no! it looks like you are recycling yarn from a sweater?
    BTW- what size needle are you using for Sophie scarf?

    • I had a dye lot mishap with that sweater, but I’ve already re-knit it with matching skeins! It was fun to just knit a scarf straight off the old sweater!

  • I loved reading this, this morning! I am gartering down on the second half of my own little norwegian/dansk Sophie neck warmer that I just know will turn me into a fashion icon too. The yarn (giftted to me) is the most delightful silk/cashmere/wool blend that is light as a sweet meringue kiss! It’s a great way to start the year. One of my favourite knitty gifts is the perennial ballband dishcloths! They even squeeze through the ‘letter’ template so I can mail ‘em. Some recipients look bemused, but usually the cloths are liked, or even loved.

  • I love this approach. I knitted Stephen West’s clockwork in a variety of color ways for my HS girlfriends (we get together ever so often) Clockwork is a similar scarf-simple, easy to wear. The idea these wonderful women have been in my life like ‘clockwork’ really appealed. It’s 2 color with slip stitches so a bit more work than the Sophie scarves. While knitting I thought I would ‘assign’ the scarves and had fun thinking who should get which scarf. But in the end I had everyone pick out the one they wanted and it was great! I even knitted one for me, and got one that was a perfect fit (I’m wearing it now!)

    • A beautiful scarf. The drape, the segments! Thank you!

    • I knitted scarves for everyone in my book club and did the same thing–thought I would give certain colors to certain people but decided to let them choose. It was so fun to watch their reactions and see them discuss the colors and then pick their favorites! And it all worked out, no one fussed the same one and one person discovered that a color she had never tried before suited her very much. I still need to knit one for me though–thanks for reminding me of that!

  • I don’t knit or crochet anything for myself. I say I knit with intention and without expectation. I knit things I want to knit. Sometimes it’s for the challenge and others it’s for the beauty of the pattern. Through the knitting process it becomes apparent for whom the item is being knitted. I am very clear with the recipient that I have no expectations that they will like it, use it or keep it. I let it go out into the world and become what it will be. I am also equally capable of putting a piece of knitting in time out for bad behavior until it decides that it is ready to be knit properly. In those cases, it’s ALWAYS an issue with the yarn and never (ahem) with the knitter that can’t count or follow directions.

  • Where is the pattern for Sophie scarf, please? I need hostess gifts.

    • You can find it on Ravelry.

    • just tap the orange printed “Sophie Scarf” under “A Case in Point” paragraph.
      The orange coloured print on MDK’s website will take you to more detailed info about that particular item… Isn’t it a great site?

      • Could you guide me to “a case.. I’m not finding it!
        .

        • Found it..was hoping someone suggested ways to keep count of increases and decreases!l

        • Sylvia, I just finished my first Sophie. I kept track of increase/decrease rows by putting a removable stitch marker in the increased or decreased stitch. You can then count garter ridges or I cord stitches to know that when you get to the 4th one, it is time to do the next shaping.

  • Yes. This exactly. I can never articulate it, but you did. It’s the process of creating something that feels fun and good to me and then the icing on top of finding the right home for it.

  • I love spontaneous gifting! I knit what I want and it goes to someone who loves it. Win-win.
    A little bit of gift-knit collaboration can also be a big win. 🙂

  • Definition of The Aha Moment: That time you realize a genius has answered a question you didn’t know you had. Thank you, Kay.

  • Kay, In the last pic, what is the light blue and beige pineapple or artichoke item? Is that a quilt ot a few dish linens or what? I love it and simply must know. Jj

    • It’s a very heavy quilt made with vintage Swedish tea towels and scraps of blue and white upholstery fabrics, made by my friend Pernilla who has an upholstery business. A very cherished item, even though it’s a core workout to make the bed with it!

      • Kay, I would LOVE to see more of that quilt…. ;-). Starting a Sophie shawl very soon! Being Danish, I almost have to, don’t I? 😀

  • Just finished my first Sophie, more to come. I might actually try the bigger pattern for airplane knitting. My LYS has a scarf market each December with the sales going to a specific charity. I think the Sophie would be a great option for people who want to donate, but don’t necessarily want to donate $100 or more. It is a great opportunity for me to use single skeins that have been stashed away. This year I personally purchased a gorgeous pale yellow Rattan Shawl.

    • What a brilliant fundraiser idea! And Sophie is perfect, since you can knit them to the length your yarn allows, without any math.

  • How lovely!

  • I tend to have the same attitude about gifts. I’m not good at finding gifts to give “on time” but I’m a wizard at finding gifts at random and giving them. An unexpected gift is a joy!

  • I believe that the Yiddish word for when you see someone happily wearing your knitted gift to them is “kvelling”.

  • I had the Sophie scarf and shawl in my queue, but it was your post that got me knitting it – I made two of the shawls for a niece with a new year’s eve birthday. My niece and her mother are my favorite knitted gift, recipients, because they wear them, love them, and ooh! and ahh! over them! So great – I do like that. My favorite memory is being with them for a quick meet-up before a family event – I’d brought a large bag of hand knits to show them, secretly hoping they would want one. I never imagined they would react as they did – loving and wanting, sometimes saying “I love this even more,” or “I want them all!” Ultimately, I sent them home with four each and I couldn’t have been more relieved and pleased! I made the two Sophies with stash yarn, which also felt great and it’s a pattern that can really be knit with any weight yarn as the pattern is so easily adaptable. Might have to cast on another! Thanks for the great early morning read about love and generosity, knitter-style!

  • I love making shawls and scarves. I want to be a shawl and scarf wearer! I try! I really try but I just don’t like them on me. So last year, I was working with a group of young ladies and at the end of our tenure together, I brought in a basket full of knit shawls and scarves. I told them to take one if they wanted or not and that I wouldn’t be hurt if they did or didn’t’
    They were at that basket like people at a wedding dress sample sale’
    It made me feel great to send them to loving homes!

  • Yes to this! I love to gift randomly, all the fun with none of the pressure to have things done by a deadline. And I have also given things I’m wearing to admirers. The pattern I’ve spontaneously gifted the most, I think, is Martina Behm’s Endless Rainbow – and I’m always happy to knit another one!

    • Such a great post. I, too, like the Sophie scarf. I knit the first one for my sister-in-law, who feels the cold when she comes north. However, I had more yarn left over than I expected. So, I knit one for myself and tried to knit it longer. I knit a few extra sets before I started the declines. I stopped doing so with slightly more than half the original yarn weight. I liked the longer length when wrapped around my neck – it’s in a lovely Tully’s yarn of baby alpaca, mulberry silk, cashmere in colour Apple Picking (nicest yarn I have bought to date (Newish Knitter)). I still have 10 g left – does the second half use less yarn than the first half? Conundrum. I’ll need to knit more scarves too, but try for longer length ’til I figure it out!

      • Both halves use the same amount!

  • Those little Sophie’s are so addictive. I’ve made so many!!

  • Your words perfectly describe how I feel. I’ve been knitting Sophie scarves and gifting them also. I dream of having a knitted stash of gifts to give on the spur of the momen.

  • I feel the very same! I gave away my first completed scarf in a bookstore when a lady came up to me and just loved it. I gifted 3 Sophie scarves this Christmas to close friends and have knit another to have in reserve. Part of the joy of knitting for me is gifting it.

  • i love to make things from my heart and gift them. i find it more difficult to do requests. they seem more fraught with possibility to disappoint.

  • Thank you Kay! I have a strikingly similar approach to knitting. I rarely knit specifically for another but prefer to just gift away. I do have a bag of Bodhi Leaf washcloths that I pair w soaps I got at Rhinebeck for random gifts. Two summers ago I knit pair after pair of Appleseed Mitts that found homes at the holidays. This year the Sophia scarf might be the one!

  • You hit the nail on the head! ❤️

  • How do you all keep up with the row count before you add a stitch? I am really struggling with that part. Garter stitch can get sooooo relaxing that I forget “did I turn my work already?” “How many rows was that?” Any and all suggestions are welcome cause I want one of these little babies!

    • I started out using a clicker row counter and simply lost track. A better method for me is to slip a tiny safety pin into the I cord on the row where I have just done the increase (or decrease). Then count the rows after you knit a while. When you reach about five or six it’s time to knit the 7 or 8th and you increase again and move up the marker. Increase on the same side your former marker is. This keeps one side curved and the other straight. I use the little safety pins one finds on clothing price tags. Smaller and lighter than clip on stitch markers and less prone to distort the knitting.

    • I use the Knit Row Counter app, added as a widget on my phone for easy access and stitch markers can be so helpful too.

    • You can also use a strand of contrasting yarn as a row counter, you flip it from the one side of the work to the other after every 4 garter ridges, and it provides an easy visual reminder that it’s increase or decrease time.

      • Oh I love that idea! I used bulb stitch markers but this way the stitch marker is always on hand. This pattern is perfect for gifts—I made one for myself and everyone who sees it wants one, too!

  • Thank you, Kay! You message was a gift to me this morning. I feel the same way you do about knitting and gifting (although I crochet more than knit). The joy of making and the anticipation of giving keep me going. I recently gave away a lovely shawl to a friend. A couple of months later she felt she needed to apologize to me … she loved the shawl but had a friend who had admired it very much and been recently diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer, so she gave the shawl to her sick friend, apologizing profusely to me for giving away my gift to her. BUT, I was thrilled and told her so. It gives me goosebumps to think of that shawl cuddling and comforting …

    • That is a beautiful story, gives me the shivers too. That’s the highest use of knitting in the world, to comfort.

  • I love this! Now that I am retired (well, as of tomorrow!) this is something I would love to do. I really enjoyed this. thanks!

    • Congratulations on your retirement, Sandra Moore! If you are like me, you will LOVE it!

  • I thought the Sophie Scarf looked so cute and practical that I started one. At Thanksgiving my MN grandchildren and their mom all wanted one. By Christmas Day I knitted 4 more for WA family and now one more for another family member. I hope they enjoy/wear them but I won’t know, we don’t live near anyone.
    Now time to knit mine.
    PS: I Love Knitting with Atlas yarn. The colors are soft and work well with each other. Thanks Kay, glad you discovered this pattern.

  • I love this article, it speaks to exactly how I am with my knitting. Nearly all I have knit has been given to loved ones and that is what makes me joyous.

  • I have been knitting for 60 years and this is the first time I am driven to repeat a project. I love the yarn as it slips through my fingers, the length of the project and well, everything about Sofie. I haven’t gifted any yet but my new goal is a basket filled with Sofie’s for just that.

  • Perfect! The scarf, the philosophy and you too Kay!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you. I saw a picture of the Sophie scarf last fall, and then lost track of where I saw it. I spent a lot of time fruitlessly combing through Ravelry, knitting blogs and websites, finally to give up in despair. What a gift to find in my inbox this morning. I have now bought the pattern and stored it in my Ravelry library, saved it to my computer, and printed a hard copy!

  • Yes, this!! I inexplicably got addicted to knitting (and actually finishing, stuffing, cinnamon-stick stem and all!) pumpkins this fall. I had a little apartment patch of them. Giving one away on a similar whim was also joyous. Now, thanks to you, I have two Sophie WIPs and more in the queue, yarn and all!

  • Just couldn’t love this more. Thank you for your heart of joy and comfort, for yourself and for others, and for spurring us on in same.

  • I fell in love with this pattern shortly before Christmas when I noticed Aimée from La Bien Aimée wearing a jaunty hot pink Sophie with a summery dress in her IG feed. After not knitting for a number of years, I found myself digging out the needles and made two for gifts. I’m working on one for myself now but a basket of them sounds wonderful. I’m hooked!

  • I may have to order up many more shades of Atlas! It is such a fun, lovely knit. And perfect for gifting! Are the ones in the photo the smaller or larger size? I made the smaller one, and it’s a bit too short, but I have yarn to spare. Should have weighed out half like some have suggested and made a longer, one skein piece. Curious what most people are doing. Long or short?

    • With one skein of Atlas, I can get up to 30 stitches on the needle before starting the decreases, and then only a little bit of yarn left over at the end. My perfect length is to go to 36 stitches, but for that you are into a second skein. From 3 skeins you could get 2 Sophies in the same color that are this length.

      • Kay, with one skein, do you get the twice-around-the-neck length, with the longish tails, as in a couple of the photos on Rav? Or does that look take the 36 sts?
        Thanks for this . . . Can’t wait to choose my Atlas color!

      • What size needles are you using with the Atlas? Gauge?

  • I gift vanilla socks, about 130 pair so far. Some folks send me a picture of their feet wearing them and others send a text that they fit. One niece never said or did anything. I was sad as I thought she might like them. An entire year later I saw them on her feet and couldn’t resist saying “nice socks”. She said “I love them, they are my favorite socks, I can’t wait to get them back from the laundry”! I told her I never knew and promptly knit her 9 more pair. LOL I’d like to try the Sophie scarf since it looks easily portable!

    • Thank you for this wonderful article. I copied the part about the Sophie Scarf and sent it to my (non-knitting) daughter, the recipient of the first one I completed, so she would understand better why I made it. I once read a quote that said “knitting is love made visible” and I certainly feel that way. The one currently on my needles is intended for my 8 year old granddaughter, who asked me over Christmas break if I would teach her to “do that sewing that you do with sticks”. Best Christmas gift ever!

  • Love, love, love Sophie and this heartwarming philosophy of generously sharing all knitting joy. I knit several Sophies for holiday gifts and have plans and yarn for more. I’m going to Italy this fall and envision myself taking a rainbow of Sophies and looking chic while I tour.

  • I finished a stack of Sophie scarves this year too. I have news of at least 2 new babies on the way soon and the potential for a few more in the next few years. I’m glad to have the chance to knit for others

    • Mary Sue you are the patron saint of gift knitting! Aren’t the Sophies wonderful?!

  • Hey Ann and Kay ….. how about a Sophie Bundle? The pattern and a skein of Atlas ….. I’m leary of using my card for overseas purchases.

    • Hi Lynn,

      You purchase the pattern via Ravelry and Paypal, so it’s not an overseas purchase. We don’t own this pattern so it has to be purchased from the designer.

  • Once a year on Thanksgiving, I set out a selection of handknits I’ve knit during the previous year on a guest room bed. Then I invite my family to “shop” in my handknits store. While they’re shopping, I observe, encourage them, and make mental notes of other items, colors, etc., they might like in the future. It’s so much fun seeing them pick out their own gifts!

  • I hear ya!
    Last fall I knit close to 20 cowls, each different, and shared them with the grands at our family Christmas get-together. They were thrilled!! “Villains,” they joyously informed me, “wear cowls.” After opening their gifts, they swapped around till each had one that they loved.

  • This year, I knitted seven of them for gifts. I usually keep a bag of cowls, scarfs and hats to give to charity so I’ll add these little scarfs too. They are a great way to use any weight of yarn. One of them was even made out of six little balls of left over yarn – the ends hid so well in the i-cord edging.

  • Kay, congratulations! It’s the rare New Yorker who has mastered the nuances of the phrase, “Bless their heart!”

  • That’s exactly how I feel about knit gifts—how could they NOT want it?

  • Strickenfreude? May the road rise to meet you, May the lovingly gifted handknits be ever on your back (head, shoulders, neck, feet, hands…).
    I’m 1/2 Irish, not Jewish, so this is what you get. 😉
    I make more knits for gifts (baby items, toys, hats, mittens, socks- for family or babies only) and charity (mostly hats) than I make for myself, but I know who is knit worthy and anyone else gets a gift card.

  • Savouring your writing like a delightful knitted stitch.

  • Love this so much. I love knitting for my friends, and just purchased and downloaded the Sophie yesterday!

  • This is just my style. In October, I noticed that I had two hats with no recipients (and I don’t wear hats. Curly hair). Decided that with a few more items, I could bring a Winter Accessories Potpourri to my 6-person book group in January and let each person pick one (or not–no pressure!) I had fun making a pair of Log Cabin Mitts, a No-Fail Muffler, a Linus scarf, and am at work on a two-color brioche cowl that I hope to finish in time for the meeting on the 22nd (some tinking this morning–we’ll see).

  • Kay, I love how you put into words everything I feel about knitting. So comforting. And I am currently on a binge making Sophie’s.

  • I’ve knit about 25 of these and did the same—rolled them up like cinnamon buns and let everyone choose a color. a I’m not done with Sophie either; I’ve started on Sophie shawls

  • Oh what a wonderful way of explaining just WHY most of us knit! I, too, have done the spur-of-the-moment gifting and it made my heart swell to do that one, simple thing. Now, I want to knit a stack of Sophies to have at the ready when someone pays me a compliment on my own. Thanks for the inspiration. Just what I needed on this cold and snowy day.

  • I am the same way,

  • This is so lovely!

  • I love this. Thanks.

  • Please make a tutorial on the sofie scarf please?

    • Follow the link above in orange, Sophie Scarf, then at Ravelry take the link to her website where the designer has helpful videos!
      Bessie

  • Sophie scarf is the knit that keeps on knitting. I’m only on my second, but I’ve amassed suitable yarn from my stash, in the not-enough-for-a-hat-but-too-nice-to-toss category. Speaking of hats, in 2021 I knit too many, trying yarns and patterns and techniques, so took a basket of them to a small holiday gathering. Trying on hats was the best party game!

  • I rarely binge a pattern but this one has grabbed me like no other. First I made the shawl out of Atlas, which is divine for a dog walk and looks great with multiple jackets. Then I moved on to the scarf — this pattern is perfect for cleaning out your stash. Now I also have a stack and they make the most perfect gifts, although I’ve been wearing a few of them myself. A beautiful deep red one out of Esopus held double (RIP Esopus) brightened up my holiday outfits.

  • I too am in the crowd who binge knits a pattern. When I was working I knit fingerless mittens for my fellow staff. I love to knit hats, and most of the family already have several, so now superwash hats go to Hats for Sailors and non-superwash hats go to Christmas at Sea (both have groups on Ravelry). It’s fun to pick out patterns & colors & do the knitting, the giving is a smaller part of it for me.

  • I’m almost finished with my first Sophie Scarf in a pastel confetti flecked yarn that my 7 yo granddaughter has admired. I’m gifting it to her and she just knit a row with me! Perfect for a new knitter! Hope she’ll enjoy knitting as much as I do.

  • I saw your previous post about Sophie and started with one, then immediately made 3 more from worsted silk yarn from my stash. They’re so soft and cuddly and ideal to give away. I’m home from work for a couple months for surgery and Sophie is on my knit list.

  • Your birthday-party Sophie Scarf gift giving reminds me of my favorite knitted gift-giving experience. At the beginning of the pandemic, I knit hat after hat and cowl after cowl from stash, having fun using up scraps in tweedy combinations, stripes, and colorwork.

    When 2 of my sisters drove by to give me a Christmas present, we met in my driveway. I had my stack of hats and cowls and invited them to pick what they wanted (not sure if they would even like them). They excitedly picked out several hats and cowls and couldn’t believe that I was letting them take as many as they wanted. Win!

  • I knit two Sophie scarfs for grandchildren who had planned to go to Colorado for a white Christmas. Loved knitting the little scarves and know there will be more.

  • Spot on Kay! Your elegant words describe my feelings exactly. We knitters are a lucky bunch, aren’t we?

  • “Bless their heart” – as a child of two Georgians I can translate that

  • Lovely post, Kay.The word naches came to mind, as I was reading it. Since I’m no Yiddish scholar, that’s probably not the exactly correct term. Still, knitting is a joy, in the planning, in the doing, in the gifting, in the receiving. Truly a gift.

    • I love to give away my knits. I have yet to make a Sophie scarf, but I’m sure I will! Sometimes I make knits to the recipient’s specifications, and sometimes they are a surprise. My joy is in the giving.

      One time I was knitting a scarf while on a flight (as knitters do) out of hot pink variegated yarn, and I was almost done. The stewardess commented on how much she liked it, and I shifted my knitting into overdrive! I finished it and gifted it to her by the time we got to LA! She was so excited! She put it on and positively pranced down the aisle giving instructions! So great!

      I knit for myself now and again, but it is not easy. I would much rather knit a gift.

  • Thank you, Kay! I recently bought the Sophie pattern with the idea of using it as travel knitting. So glad I did! On the other hand I feel compelled to relate the flip coin to knitting gifts: a beautiful first shawl – all garter stitch with gorgeous marled yarn – that ended up too short because I did not get adequate guidance from the yarn store owner who sold me the expensive yarn. So I cast on too many stitches and the stole/shawl ended up too short. That was 20/years ago – before Ravelry – and I still remember the recipient’s – and my – disappointment. Since then I indefatigably knit-and-gift on but always with the idea of doing it for the pure joy for me, even if not for the recipient, even when it fits. (Although I am getting better at it.) Chloe

  • It was my most disappointing day in 2022 when a package with handknit socks for two got stuck in customs and the recipient told me flat out that they couldn’t care less, wouldn’t pay the customs fee, and would let the box return to me. I found a good home for them, but took me a while to get over it.

  • So well said! I love your ability to express our knitting feelings. And the Sophie Scarf is one of those patterns that is easy to wear and most people can make good use of. Thank you!

  • I’m working on my first Sophie now. May I ask if you needed to change needle size when using Atlas? Amount needed? I’m planning already for my next one. I’m using Lang Premium Cashmere now.

  • Freudenfreude is a possibility- taking joy in someone else’s success, good fortune or joy. NYT, 11-25-2022.

  • Dear Kay
    I had the most delectable gigle reading your post, I also love knitting and crocheting, it must however be for my enjoyment and relaxation.
    Just those few words written down in a post did an uplifting of my spirit.
    I am looking at my half completed works not in frustration but with a renew temptation to go and find that pattern and get it done.
    Thank you
    Carmen

  • Hello Kay, love you thoughts on gifting hand made knitting. I’m addicted to the Sophie scarf myself since discovering it last fall.
    Cheers
    Susan

  • Yes, this resonates with me

  • A few years ago, I purposely made a scarf for my very patient French teacher. DK wool in a flannel grey. He was so moved that he was nearly in tears. Now I knit up a pile of hats or Hitchhiker scarfs (depending on the year) and let my friends pick their colour.

  • This is my new favorite of all the posts you’ve written, Kay. It’s inspiring me in so many ways. Thanks

  • It sounds like a lot of us have had (or now have!) this philosophy of knitting. I do it with my quilts, too…someone comes over, admires a quilt I’ve just finished (and wondered about who should have it) and voila it’s theirs to take home!

  • Yes! My favorite gift knitting is when someone says, “I love your …” and I pull it off my head, hands or neck and gift it to them on the spot. I know it will be enjoyed, and its always a delight to see the astonishment of the giftee.

  • I stepped onto the Sophie bandwagon in the fall, made 1/2 dozen, gifted them away before Xmas to friends who had started curling & to some who truly suffer from our Canadian cold. I used up scrappits of silk & yak yarn, so the wee scarves ended up being rather ‘luxe’ prezzies:). Was great fun indeed!

  • I still suffer from PTSD from the time I knit a cardigan for my first great-nephew when he was a baby. The cardigan was so ungratefully accepted that my heart still hurts five years later when I think of it. Baby blankets are the only knits I have gifted since then, and only to those who have demonstrated affinity for hand knits.

  • Kay, you definitely summed up my feelings about knitting for others and the pure enjoyment of knitting . I love the idea someone suggested about a basket in your guest room for guests to select knitted items. Now that’s love! I will do that and start my Sophie stacks.

  • Thats ele.xactly how I like to gift too! It is most enjoyab

  • Excellent!! My feelings exactly!

  • when using Atlas for a sophie scarf–what size needles did you use?

  • Can you do a tutorial on this scarf please

  • Years ago, I knit a sweater for a friend’s baby. I dreamed and planned and worked far beyond what was proportionate for a baby cardigan (Design my own shawl collar because the pattern’s wasn’t quite right and I wanted to do a complicated thing with a stripe? Of course! Swatch half a dozen bind-offs for 2×2 rib until I found the perfect one, in an out-of-print book I could only view snippets of on Google Books? You get the idea…)

    My friend was far away and the having of babies was still a new-ish thing for my peer group and all the balled-up feelings of love and worry and hope and joy directed themselves into this absurdly meticulous knitting of a baby cardigan. Other friends’ babies were also targets of exquisitely over-executed knitwear in that period of my knitting life. I didn’t know what else to do with my unwieldy love.

    Years later, when (at long last, and not for lack of trying) my firstborn arrived, my Ravelry favorites-bundle of things to knit for him was pages long, but the only one I managed to complete was the tiny hat he wore home from the hospital. Six months later, as we headed into his first winter, I had to admit to myself with immense knitterly chagrin that he would not have any sweater knit by me to keep him warm, let alone an absurdly meticulous one.

    Just then, out of the blue, a package arrived from my friend with some hand-me-downs — and the sweater I had knit for her baby, so long ago. She apologized in her note, in case returning the sweater so that my child could wear it was the wrong thing to do. It was the most perfect gift, at the most perfect time, that I have ever received. The bonus? The sweater had been very well cared for, but it also bore the unmistakeable pattern of mild pilling that only comes from frequent wear. A knitter could ask for no more.

    • what a lovely story – than you for sharing!

  • Wondering if anyone sized up on the needles for Atlas with this pattern. My first few inches seem a bit stiff on 4s, so I may start over on 5s.