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Knit Worthy

November 1, 2013

I have been going back and forth on this topic for quite some time, but since the post a few days ago concerning my brother and SIL’s upcoming wee one, I have found myself even more intrigued by the idea. The difficulty on this topic, in part stems from the fact that I have not quite figured out how I define myself, partly because I know I will inevitably find a loop-hole or two (that might be needed) or not.

Knit worthy is a phrase used by knitters to determine who they might consider gift worthy. Now I know this is a touchy subject. No two knitters are going to completely agree on what defines knit worthy. In fact trying to nail down the different varieties of knitters is akin to herding cats, while attempting to nail jello to a tree. But, the way I see it, in terms of determining the knit worthy there are a few key camps that we can group knitters into (if only to make things slightly easier on you and me)

There are knitters who claim the “selfish knitter” title and wear it with pride. Selfish knitting can also be broken down into various definitions, but for the purpose of this post lets say they are the knitters who chose to knit solely for themselves or a very select few people, (usually those whom they are in a long term relationship with or sprung forth from their loins.) These knitters know how valuable their time is and if they are going to finish something it has to be for someone who will appreciate it (if only themselves.) If a selfish knitter decides to knit for someone else it is usually on a non-deadline basis and dependent on the knitter’s desires. (i.e. if I were to make something for my husband (such as a hat, he might not get it until June and it might end up being in a color and pattern I enjoy knitting.) They are sometimes known as product knitters.

There are knitters who I like to call the perpetual gifters. They knit because they enjoy knitting and once it’s done they are ready to move on to the next project. These are the knitters that tend to make something with someone else in (though not always) They are often the exact opposite from the selfish knitter. They hardly ever keep anything for themselves and in fact the few items they do have may be given freely to those who admire them. These knitters are sometimes known as process knitters.

The last group, ( I have kind of made up) is the in-between. They maybe selfish about somethings and freely give away others. They may knit for the holidays, with specific people involved, or they may just decide to do a random act of knitterliness*. These can be a combo of process and product. While I think the majority of knitters may fall into this category, I can’t help but wonder if it is just a variable ridden middle ground, because I don’t want to choose.

There is nothing wrong with any of the categories and frankly 99% of the time I think I fall into the last one (hence the reason I made it up.) I do find myself surprised from time to time when I hear about the extremes, yet I can definitely see attributes of both. When it comes to knitting for others, just as any other type of gifting, I try to remember that at the end of the day, once the gift is given it is out of my hands. I do plan to knit for my newest niece or nephew, I do so with the understanding that even though my brother was on board with the whole hand knit gifts, there is still a chance that at the end of the day I am doing it more for me.


*This is what I think of whenever I see the term RAK (which traditionally stands for Random Act of Kindness)


From → Fiber Arts, Musings

  1. shellssells permalink

    I tend to knit what I like and as my whims see fit. I might wear that item, or not, but I usually keep it around for awhile. And then? I don’t care anymore. Then I start to give them away. Sometimes even a few years down the road I’ll go through my scarf/shawl stash, see that I have never worn a particular item, decide it is too beautiful to be sitting in the back of a closet, and pass it on to a family member who I feel would like it and wear it.

  2. Q – I am so totally a process knitter! It is too warm here in San Diego for me to want to keep most things I knit. I like to learn new stitches for projects I give away. Love this post!

  3. I’m a selfish knitter, I think; although I do knit for family members. It is hard to judge what other people like really. Each garment takes a long time to make and a lot of love goes into it. I love to see my family wearing my garments, shawls etc. if they like them but I would be very hurt if they didn’t wear them and they just got flung in the cupboard. I made almost all the sweaters for my three little boys when they were growing up. Nowadays a lot of people shun home-made garments because shop bought are thought to be more cool, fashionable etc. It’s a shame about that. One day the likes of Primark will put up their prices and things won’t be so cheap anymore.

  4. I most certainly would not knit for just anybody! When I´m done knitting something it feels like my baby, and I don´t trust just anybody with my babies!……..but then, I have separation problems when it comes to my knits…..

  5. I struggle with this too. There is generally a select group of people who I will knit for, primarily family and close friends. They have to also appreciate and take care of what I give them. However, when there’s a baby coming, all bets are off and I MUST KNIT.

  6. Great post. I think in addition to there being something of a spectrum here, people can move in and out of phases. (At least I do). I’m definitely a process knitter in that I enjoy the process more than I enjoy the product. That said, I don’t knit for holidays because I work in a very deadline-oriented industry and therefore am very deadline-averse in my knitting life. Instead, I tend to drop random gifts on people when they’re not expecting it. As to who is knitworthy, I think that’s a personal definition too. In my case, it depends on whether the person will value the garment enough to keep it and take care of it. That can vary from an acrylic hat knit for the homeless to an intricate lace shawl made out of an easily feltable wool and requiring lots of special handling. So far, I’m lucky in that I’ve been judicious enough with my knitted items (matching the needs of the giftee with the yarn/pattern selected for the gift) that no one has been deemed un-knitworthy in my life. (Yet. I’m sure it will happen someday).

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