Quinn Piper’s beautiful post last year on her collaborative approach to knitting gifts has stayed with me, rambling around inside my head as I knitted and stitched and gifted this past holiday season, and as I plotted out gifts for some new babies who are either on their way, or on their way to their first birthday (or kindergarten if I’m honest). The desire to knit is so closely linked to the desire to comfort, to encourage, to give others a taste of the joy we get from knitting.
I’ve not had much heartache in my life over knitted gifts. I’ve rarely felt like folks have been disappointed to receive a handknit. I’ve occasionally let a recipient executive-produce a handknit, by specifying the pattern or the colorway or whatever. From book clubs to hand knits, I have trouble finishing anything if it starts to feel like an assignment. For me, knitting is about the joy of following my imagination, of dropping everything to knit that pattern I just saw.
It’s quite possible that I am blessed with a convenient combination of big ego (“of course everybody LOVES getting a piece of my knitting”) and thick skin (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).
I guess I’ve evolved to an easy-going attitude toward gifts. I knit things that I like to knit, and I give them to people lightly, on impulse. If a Beloved compliments me, in a sincere and covetous manner, on a piece of knitwear that I’m knit-wearing, I might drape it around their neck, on the spot. (This is how I managed to knit 2 or 3 Parallelogram Scarves, and still don’t have one of my own. No regrets—there must be a German word, or a Jewish blessing, for the specific joy of seeing a favorite handknit being worn by someone dear.) Or I might knit up a stack of something I love to knit anyway—think: dishcloths—and pass them out like sticks of gum to anyone I think might appreciate a little minty, knitty freshness.
A Case in Point
Last autumn I fell in love with PetiteKnit’s Sophie Scarf. As I worked on my first one, I realized that it was PetiteKnit’s photo-styling of this ultra-simple accessory that made me love it so much. She made something as humble as a strip of garter stitch, with i-cord edges, look dashing. I saw it, I wanted it, I made it.
Throughout the holiday season, I just kept knitting them. At one point I dreamed of making a whole shade card of Sophies, one in each of the 22 colors of Atlas, MDK’s very own yarn. That could still happen! I feel no lessening of the urge to knit these little scarves.
None more cozy! All my Sophies are in Atlas. Shades, from left: Wintergreen, Seaglass, Navy, Whisper, and Lapis. next on deck: clementine and citron.
The other night, at a family double-birthday celebration, I let the two birthday honorees each pick a Sophie Scarf from the stack. Then I let two other party-goers, who seemed a little crestfallen that it wasn’t their birthday, go home with the other two.
This is my favorite way to gift a handknit, and I recommend trying it if gift-knitting has troubled you in the past. It was a golden moment for me, and I hope for my Sophie recipients, who were instantly jauntified by a little knot of knitting to cuddle the neck.
Here: take this. I love it, and I hope you love it too. That’s the essence of gift-knitting, for me.
All I want to do right now is make more Sophies, so I can keep passing them out. Such a little bit of knitting, and yarn, to make so much happiness.