How deep is your love
My second pair of these fingerless gloves in the space of a few weeks, these were destined for Archer’s first grade teacher (along with a Starbucks gift card and a Christmas-y foam door hanger Archer made himself).
Felicitously, I got a thank-you note from Cady Gray’s preschool teacher, who got the first pair, the night before I packaged these up and put them in Archer’s backpack. I was present when she opened them and tried them on, so I was pretty sure she liked them, and her note was pleasantly enthusiastic. That gave me more confidence as I sent these (which are a darker blue, more my style) off to their recipient.
Aside from a thumb debacle on the left glove — I picked up stitches poorly, knit the stockingette inside out the first time around, and didn’t manage to close the holes well when I ripped it out and did it again — I breezed through these like a pro. Having knit them twice, modeled them for pictures twice, and fallen head over heels in love with the knitting of fingerless mitts, I immediately cast on for my own, longer versions (Dashing) as soon as the ends were woven in and the bag was packed.
An interesting Ravelry thread (link works for members only) asked today whether it was a good idea to make handknit gifts for other people. Do our loved ones really want the hats, scarves, socks, and mittens we make? Are we thinking more about our own knitting pleasure than about what they might like? Is a handknit gift, in other words, a self-indulgent and unthoughtful gift?
Like storebought gifts, handmade items can be rude and useless, or loving and useful. I have no doubt that there are folks among our family, friends, and co-workers who wouldn’t want a handmade gift, no matter how carefully crafted for them — just as there are those who wouldn’t want a gift card, or those who wouldn’t want clothing, or those who wouldn’t want a book. The thoughtful thing to do for those who would find a handknit disappointing, I’m sure, is to get them something from a store.
I tend to think about giving in terms of what I would want to receive — and I would love to receive any of the knitted items I’ve given and plan to give this year. But I also think about the context of those gifts. In my family, we rotate the privilege of giving each other gifts. Each family unit gets the adults in one other family unit, and then we get something for all the children. Teachers get gifts from most of their children — and how many mugs and apple-themed desk accessories can one person use?
My point is that I’m not going to be giving the same person knitted items repeatedly. I really see this year as a test case, at least for those in my family who are going to get something handmade. If the adults I’ll be giving to next year seem excited by what I made for the folks on my list this year — well, that’ll tell me something about what I should do next year, won’t it?