Curls & Q recently wrote a post entitled Are They Handmade Worthy? She shares a very entertaining Do You Knit the Gift or Do You Buy The Gift decision chart, created by The Panopticon blog. This chart very faithfully outlines the decisions I make each time I ponder whether or not to knit a gift. Is the occasion special enough? Can I count on this recipient to treasure my gift and appreciate its true worth?
My judgement on this score has definitely been a work in progress. I’ve made some (to me) tragic misjudgments and have learned bitter lessons.
In her post, Curls & Q asks: Share with us the worst scenario for your hand-made gift, all of us will sympathize
Alright. I will. Here’s my story:
I learned to knit when I was about 8. My first projects were dish cloths, full of holes but much adored by my family members. My first more ambitious project was a ribbed scarf. I started with some ancient cream colored yarn from my mother’s stash. When that ran out, undaunted, I tied on some orange yarn and continued to the end. The result was pretty ugly, but it was my first item of knitted clothing and I was immensely proud of it.
Casting about for a worthy recipient, I decided to gift it to my friend, E. I remember wrapping it up and walking over to her house in the snow and presenting it to her, warning her not to open it until Christmas.
Cut to several months later: I was at a sleepover at E’s house. We were in the bathroom making Barbie shampoo–horrific concoctions of common bathroom items (like mouth wash and cologne) that we would use to wash Barbie’s hair. It turned the hair odd colors and made it frizzy. We thought this was hilarious.
Anyhow, we were digging around in a cupboard in search of a bottle of bubble bath when a mass of towels and old t-shirts fell out onto the floor. (Her mom was not the world’s most accomplished house keeper.) Mixed in among those things was my scarf, abandoned and unloved.
I burst into tears right there, but quickly covered them up. E had gone back to her room to fetch our next Barbie victim so, furtively, I gathered up the scarf, hurried down to the living room, and stuffed it into my backpack.
This was covert reclamation and I am unashamed of it. E never mentioned the loss; indeed, I doubt she ever noticed.
I took the scarf home and gifted it to my mother, who accepted it gladly. She probably still has it, secreted away in a drawer.
Now, in case I haven’t emphasized this enough–this thing was horrendously ugly. Ugly in a way that only a scratchy half orange, half cream scarf, knitted by a novice knitter can be. And it was also beautiful, for all the same reasons. I chose my second recipient much better. Mom appreciated it far above its value as a scarf. Indeed, it had almost no value as a scarf, being full of holes and unbearable to wear against the skin.
This memory is the standard against which I measure all of my hand-made gifting decisions. Roughly, here is my decision chart, which is a little simpler than Panopticon’s. Guess who gets the gift?
|Will wear it once to make you happy.||Treasures and uses it all the time. Brags to their friends.|
|Will store it in a bathroom cupboard to get moldy.||Loves it for what it represents, even if it is hideous.|