Thursday, January 18, 2007

For whom the knitter toils

Karen asked why she doesn't knit for herself.

I've been stuck for a topic today, and this sounds like a good one. I have knit for myself, but it wasn't until I made twelve scarves. I'm back to work on projects for others and don't have a clear start time for the next item for me. The thing is, it doesn't bother me. If you've been reading since December, you probably came across times when I talked about how knitting put me in the Christmas spirit. I wanted to give and was unconcerned with getting anything. Why, though?

Is it because for me the satisfaction is in the making and the giving? If that's true, can such actions really be considered generous or selfless? Thinking about it is enough to make my head hurt.

I can't say for certain, but if I were to hazard a guess, the scarves I knitted and gave as gifts meant more to me than they did to most of the people who received them. I may have mentioned this before too, so pardon me if I'm repeating myself... The Christmas episode from The Office's second season has Phyllis giving Michael a knitted oven mitt for their secret Santa gift exchange. Taken at face value, that seems like a lame present. As a knitter, I now see it differently. Sure, an oven mitt isn't an iPod--the hot gift in the show's secret Santa turned nasty Christmas/yankee swap--but think of all the time and effort that went into making it. Regarding gifts, it sounds trite to say that it's the thought that counts, but when you're knitting something for someone, isn't that true?

I want to knit things for myself. I've made two scarves, and I plan to keep the dishcloth and coffee cup cozies I've finished in the last couple days. I want to make a hat for my premature male pattern balding head, and I'd like to get a sweater done before the weather turns warm again. But the projects I'm chomping at the bit to start aren't for me.

Ugh. I feel like I'm all over the map on this and don't feel like I'm any closer to an answer. Does knitting make one a giving person, or are giving people attracted to knitting?

What do you say? Would you rather knit for yourself or someone else? Why?


At 9:33 AM, Blogger donnadb said...

I'm dying to knit for myself. Partly because I think by the time I finish anything other than what I'm working on now, it will be spring, and I might as well start my own stockpile of winter hats and scarves ... maybe stuff for the kids, like mittens ... rather than putting stuff aside for a gift for someone else way down the line. I also think I need to get a lot better before I can make other people stuff. Other than this current first project, which is a manly color and therefore cries out to be given to a man, I think I'll be knitting for myself for the next little while.

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Karen said...

Hey, a link to me! Cool ;-)

I tend to be a giving person, so that is part of why knitting for myself gets put on the back burner. I love giving gifts. Some of what I made last year started out being for me, but when it was admired by another person it became a gift.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I have always been a giver, but I will admit that I long for the time when I can knit something for myself without feeling guilty, like I should be knitting for someone else. It doesn't really bother me that I'm like that, but others have told me that I should become more of a selfish knitter...I think I have come a long way, but still tend to put my projects (most of them) on the back burner. I don't think I can answer your question, though...anyone else?

And in reply to your latest comment on my blog, I really really hope that blogging helps with my essays for class and vice versa...I'm starting by trying not to jump around w/ my far, so good (at least for today - emails and everything lol).

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Jenn said...

I tend to knit for other people--and the one time I knit a scarf for myself, I gave it away a year later because someone admired it. Does that make me an especially giving person? I don't know. But I do love the feeling of giving something to someone and saying, "Hey, I made this." And watching the glow of appreciation on their faces deepen. (So maybe I'm kinda selfish. But I love giving homemade gifts).

However, I see nothing wrong with knitting for myself. I'm about to embark on The Sweater (my very first!) But first I have to finish the hat I've been promising my boyfriend for the past year...

Oh, and on the movie recommendation, my boyfriend had heard of it and added it to the Netflix we'll see if I like it or not! (I suspect I will.) Thanks for the suggestion!


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