Handmade gifts

wpid-20140801_213112.jpgI am a knitter. And I am trying to learn how to sew. I spend hours of my life painstakingly making things for people because I love them. Socks, sweaters, hats, mittens you name it and I’ve very likely made it for someone. Sometimes I make things on commission and it generally comes out to less then a dollar an hour. I’m also a snob I use the best (or as close to the best as I can get) materials available (very little Red Heart for this girl). I pour myself into the things I make. I’ve thrown knitting across the room, I’ve cried while knitting and somedays after working on something to big or two small I wake up in the morning and my fingers won’t unbend. But I love it. I truly do. When I think of someone putting on the socks I’ve made them I get a happy little feeling in my heart. Recently (the last few years) I’ve tried to be more mindful with what I give as gifts. What thought went into my putting 50 dollars in a card? Deep thought went into picking a pattern that made me think of you and then spending hours knitting a piece. That is what a gift should be a gift should be thoughtful.

The reason I’m going on about this is a recently read an article interviewing Emily Post who wrote a book Wedding Etiquette 6th Edition. She stated as something you should NEVER give a couple is a handmade gift. Well I call BULLSHIT! I pour myself into the things I make. If I’ve made you something you should be happy and you should use it (following the washing instructions I’ve given you to the letter. WOOL CAN NOT GO INTO THE DRYER!!!).

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Anyway, thank you for listening to my rant! Over the weekend I went to a friend from high schools wedding to her high school sweetheart (*sigh* how cute). I took my friend Suzi as my date and a grand time was had by all! For my friends wedding gift I asked what colors her bedroom was and I knit a lace border for some pillowcases in colors that (hopefully) match the couples room. I used Barbra Walker’s A Treasury of Knitting Patterns  and found a few lace patterns I liked. My friend has a few cats so I went with the Cat’s Paw and I also put a bird pattern in the middle. I have this vision of the cat chasing the bird. It was a lot of fun to knit although the blocking and sewing onto the pillowcases took A LOT more time then I had budgeted. Luckily they were finished the evening before the wedding and wrapped.  #TheFra ironed them (as a surprise) while I was at work so all the images I have are before they were ironed. (They look WAY better ironed.)

If you invite me to your wedding I am very likely going to make you something. I may actually make you lace edged pillowcases (because I’m Irish and as #TheFra pointed out the Irish give lace). I’m hoping that the next time I do this I’ll be capable of making my own pillowcases. I’m not saving money making you this gift, I’m doing it because I care for you. If you don’t want to invite me to your wedding or your party because of that I get it. You’ll likely find me knitting at Northern Lights instead.wpid-20140731_215101.jpg



6 thoughts on “Handmade gifts

  1. I love this. So well-stated, and speaks to the heart of anyone who feels as you do… that gifts from the heart are truly the best gifts. I often under-value my work, but I am trying to correct that.


    • I think we all undervalue our handmade things because the hours spent making something aren’t torture (generally ….) they give great pleasure. I have no idea how many hours things make, except maybe vanilla socks which is somewhere around 18 hours a pair I think. And I only know that becuase I make them in the movies.


  2. Christy says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I made a quilt recently and the recipient was in Indiana and I’m in California. They didn’t even tell me when they got it, much less if they liked it or not. They asked for a quilt!! I asked what colors. I wanted it to be perfect!! And it seemed they didn’t care as much as I thought. I didn’t want praise. But a thank you would have been nice. Your things are beautiful. I’m so proud to know you Katie!!


    • I’ve made things a few times and not gotten a thank you. (If I give you a shower/wedding gift thank you cards are the norm …..). And an acknowledgment that it came. In this day in age facebook, email, text messaging you can at least send something.


  3. You nailed it with the word “thoughtful.” If the giver thinks it through and decides what the recipient really wants/needs is a gift card or cash, then great. That’s not a cop-out. That’s still a thoughtful gift. I like to give gifts that I’ve made for some of the reasons you’ve stated. I agonize over pattern choice, then again pairing it with just the right fiber and color for the recipient. When I make someone a gift, they’re usually at the forefront of my mind as I craft it. {Do folks realize how many stitches there are in a pair of hand-knit socks? A lot. I’m sure someone has figured it out, like Franklin Habit. Seems like the kind of thing he’d do…}

    I also think that people still foster the very erroneous idea that something “home made” is inferior to “store bought” – a hold-over from years past when only the wealthy could afford such things. I’m trying to change the words I use – hand crafted instead of home made. But I could go on for quite a while about this, and that’s a rant for another day. {or a master’s thesis topic… haha}


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