For Kitty, With Love

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For Kitty, With Love

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Writer, illustrator, and knitter Franklin Habit joins us for his monthly column featuring humor and insights into a yarncrafter’s life.

To be a needleworker of the gift-giving sort is to live your life with one eye on the calendar. As I write this it’s late summer,­ but I’m already thinking of December. I have no choice. The holidays inevitably require a bit of gift knitting. If I hope to show up with something other than a ball of yarn and a promise, the planning must begin now.

Let me clarify that I am not a knitter of the everybody-gets-a-matching-hat-and-mittens variety. I admire those folks. They have largesse. They have stamina. They have stout, resilient hearts; because to be a needleworker of the gift-giving sort is also to live your life in a perpetual state of heartache. Or maybe I mean heartburn. Probably I mean both.

One of the hard lessons we learn when we fall in love with needlework is that not everyone has fallen in love with needlework.You finish that first really successful crochet hat, and it’s beautiful and it fits, and it’s so much nicer than anything from the store, and you think of all the people you love who are walking around in store-bought hats.

Your heart, it breaks.

So you stock up on yarn and patterns and start whipping out hats. This one gets a hat, that one gets a hat, hats all around! Wrap ’em up! Pass ’em out! And for every hat recipient who screams with joy that she will never wear anything else ever again, ever, not even to the beach or fancy weddings, you have five who glance at your visible expression of affection rendered painstakingly in yarn and say, “Oh, thanks,” put it back in the box forever, and change the subject to whether their goldfish is depressed enough to need talk therapy.

Your heart, it breaks.

This is why it’s easier to get a kidney from me than a pair of socks. Yarn is precious. So is time. Yarn plus time is a luxury gift. Not everybody is deserving of it, not even the people you might think to put at the top of the list.

I once had a friend–we’ll call her Trudy–who was quivering with excitement at knitting a spectacular cabled afghan for her dearest childhood friend’s wedding. She spent two months swatching and planning an afghan so elaborate and original that it could well stand among the great cultural achievements of our age. I’m serious: Warhol’s Marilyn, the music of John Cage, and this afghan. She balked when faced with the cost of the yarn (I won’t tell you­—I’ll just say there was yak involved); but this was an heirloom gift for a friend who’d been there for her first scraped knee. They had been allies through braces, breakups, college all-nighters, and evil bosses at terrible entry-level jobs. She was the kind of friend you know will run to your house after you die and toss all your trashy novels into the fireplace, then tell everybody at the funeral you were deeply into Proust.

Trudy finished the afghan and left it elegantly wrapped among the wedding presents, feeling smug. She waited for the reaction. The hugs and the happy tears. She got a note that said, “Thank you for the cute blanket.”

Visiting the newlyweds a few months later, she spotted it lying in a corner of the guest room being chewed by the cat. “I guess he loves the flavor!” said the bride.

“At least,” said Trudy, “the stupid cat appreciated the fiber content.”

When I contemplate giving a piece of handmade anything as a gift, I always pause and consider whether I could handle it being used as a cat toy. If the answer is no, I give something store-bought.

Unless I decided to make a cat toy. Cat toys are fun to make.

For Kitty, With Love by Franklin Habit | Lion Brand Notebook

Writer, illustrator, and photographer Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008–now in its third printing) and proprietor of The Panopticon (, one of the most popular knitting blogs on Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

Franklin’s other publishing experience in the fiber world includes contributions to Vogue KnittingYarn Market NewsInterweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkCast On: A Podcast for KnittersTwist Collective, and a regular column on historic knitting patterns for

These days, Franklin knits and spins in Chicago, Illinois, sharing a small city apartment with an Ashford spinning wheel and colony of sock yarn that multiplies alarmingly whenever his back is turned.

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  • I have read this article

    For Kitty, With Love more information about cotton yarn its very useful.Thanks i have waiting the next blog.

  • Thanks for the post. Great advice to this beginning knitter. Been working on something as a Christmas gift but realizing I like it more than she will. Lots and lots of effort with every project. So, unless someone specifically asks, will just knit for me.

    • I fall in love with everything I knit.

    • Good for you. People don’t have a clue about how much time and thought and cost goes into a project.

  • ah, knitting for others. I love to do it, but I am indeed saddened when they don’t appreciate it. I know I have a few appreciative sock wearers out there who can’t get enough, so when I get a little depressed, I just knit up a pair of colorful socks for my nine year old and his reaction makes my life worthwhile again.

    • I can’t tell you how many times my heart has been broken when giving beautiful hand knit gifts. The worst was my niece who wanted a baptismal gown so I knit a gown, booties, hat and matching blanket with very expensive, delicate wool using a gorgeous antique pattern. It was never used, never returned and is probably being eaten away by the dogs in the house or some other horrid demise. I don’t give as many things as I used to and if I do give a gift now and don’t receive any acknowledgement at all, I never give another gift to that person. I do have my code of decency!

      • I also have this problem of my handmade items not being appreciated. It’s not just crochet or knit items but sewing ones too. I have 6 grandchildren that I love to sew, crochet etc. for. My one daughter-in-law loves all things handmade and uses or wears every thing I make her and the children. My other daughter-in-law, however, has never used one thing I made for the children except for pillowcases. So, I don’t make them things anymore which is sad. Now I only make items for myself or someone who wants to buy them. People who don’t knit etc. have no idea what is involved and I found that they probably grew up in a home where no one ever did these things, so they don’t have fond memories of knitting etc with their mom or grandmom. It is a real shame.

        • Your daughters-in-law don’t know how lucky they are to have you to make wonderful hand-created items for them. I wish my mother had made or my mother-in-law would make things for me and my kids. My grandmother was the one who taught me how to knit, crochet and embroider, and she used to make things for me, but she’s gone now. I actually make things for my mother-in-law! There’s an unusual turn of events.

          • I think you should make and give with a free heart. If you cannot give something that you made and turn away leaving the recipient the choice of how to use it, then you really shouldn’t give it. I too have been disappointed, but I put on my big girl pants and got over it. I have learned that it is very good to knit for oneself. It makes me happy and when someone says, “I wish I could do that.” I offer to teach them.

  • I’ve done something similar….. I crocheted a basket-weave baby afghan for my neice last year….. A lot of love and cost went into it, because my sister-in-law has 2 boys, and finally had her girl, so I was so happy for her, and asked if she wanted me to make her an afghan….. My neice is now 14 months old, and I’ve NEVER seen her use it…. She says she put it away because she doesn’t want the mice to get to it, although she has another afghan made by a different family member that she’s used the entire time!!! (No jealousy here, hand-made items are always cherished in my family regardless of who made them). I’ve told her more than once that it’s something she can even lay on the floor to play on, because it’s so soft, or cover up with when it’s cold, and it will last for years!! I don’t have any bad feelings, but I’m very disappointed…… I would just like to see her use it….. I even used the color scheme she asked for……. 🙁

    • It *is* possible she thinks it’s too nice to use and is heirlooming it. She might be using the other one because she thinks its crappy enough to be abused and no big loss if it gets destroyed.

      • I was going to say this. Upon the birth of my son, I promptly rec’d a hand knit sweater from my beloved great aunt. The fact that she made it with her 78 year old hands, and that it was TOO FARKING CUTE TO BE POSSIBLE made me afraid to put it on said boy-child. I let him wear it once and almost immediately I panicked, took a fast picture to send her, and snatched it off him. He never wore it again. But the crappy sweatshirt from Old Navy that someone gave us? He wore that every day. As yeahright said, if it got destroyed, I wouldn’t have cared. If he’d barfed or pooped on Aunt Audrey’s sweater? I’d have deducted a sizable chunk from his college fund.

        • Sadly, you know that those “heirloom” gifts, rarely survive being saved.
          Knitwear and clothes that are packed away for years are more likely to wear at the folds, get damaged from the paper they are wrapped in, or the plastic bin they are stored in or get eaten by moths. They are meant to be used and worn. Do your loved ones a favor, and USE them.

          • Agreed. My aunt made me a crochet afghan when I was born and my mother “put it away for when I was older.” Years later she pulled it out of the drawn, drew back the tissue paper and pulled it out. It immediately fell into several pieces in her hands. So it was never used at all. We never told my aunt, but I found myself kind of angry that I’d never had a chance to use it. It had been a beautiful afghan, that much I could see from the remains.

    • I quilted an adorable “sensory” quilt for my nephew who I share a birthday with. I even made a special cloth tag with his name & birthday on it. It was SO cute. He’s 5, and if I hadn’t handed the present to the myself, I’d have thought it got lost in the mail.
      It is completely washable, meant to be loved, and he is a “blanket” kid – though he has no specific blanket he is attached to. Just one flipping photo of the kid with the blanket is all I’m asking. Is that so bloody hard?

  • Only give your big gifts to other fiber artists. They will either a. love it because they didn’t have to make it themselves or b. pretend to love it because they KNOW how it feels to have such a gift handwaved off or c. all of the above.

  • YES YES YES!!!!!

  • I must be more about the process because once I give something to a person, I don’t mind so much if they never use it. The only people that don’t get anything from me are the ones who denigrate what I’m doing before anything is even finished.

    • Huh, you mean like my husband? I was attempting to make him a cabled vest, but it proved too complicated – the yarn I was using was too fuzzy to fix mistakes or even see the cables well enough – so I’m just making it w/out the cables. Don’t you think he teases me about when it will be finished for him? I may just wear it meself if it fits…

  • truth

  • I joined a granny square exchange group. The group sent and recieved 2- 7 x 7″ squares. The group was world wide. It took me a year to exchange and complete enough squares to make a blanket for my first grand child. Squares were from Scotland, London ,Africia, Wales, Great Britian,ect, and many from the beauitful USA. When finished, it was a treasure, each square from another part of the world. I was so proud. My husband delievered it to the daughter in law’s shower, because I was very ill. The story was told in detail. I never saw the blanket again, AND NEVER RECIEVED SO MUCH AS A THANKS, OR DROP DEAD. The husband was my step son whom I have know since he was 11 mts. old. Heis now in his 40’s. The ady from the former post is correct. Think twice before you pour your hard work and heart into a crocheted, knitted or other needlwork gift. Be sure you are ready for what ever response you may get.

  • I knit with a Prayer Shawl Group at our church- we make laprobes, shawls, hats and baby blankets to give to the bereaved of our church, the local soup kitchen, veteran hospital and crisis pregnancy center. Very rewarding because we know the items are needed and appreciated. I still give items I make to close friends or family, but rarely put too much money/time into them.

    • I also belong to a local Prayer Shawl Ministry–and it is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Those Prayer Shawls seem to “work miracles” for the families! We (my crochet club and I) also make lap-sized afghans for Veterans’ hospitals, and we hear back from them frequently about how the afghans are so precious to our Vets! Those are really great outlets for people like us who are “Crochet/Knit Addicts”, and MUST be working with our hooks and needles constantly!!

      • 2 years ago, a young man from our community had both his legs blown off in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan. So our knit/crochet group got out our leftover yarn and all knit or crocheted the same size squares, and I whipstitched them together and we sent the afghan to him. We told his mom – who delivered the afghan to him in Washington, where he was in rehab – that we hoped he would feel as if we’re giving him a big hug every time he covered himself w/it. She said he loved it. That was such a wonderful experience.

  • Last year I got obsessed with scarves. I made 25 of them. Got 17 “Thanks” and into the box, 7 “Holy Cow! This is beautiful!” and one “I live in North Carolina! What did you send me a wool scarf for?” And from my children, my darling baby boys (who are now teenagers), I got “What, no sweater this year? But I love the sweaters you make for me…and last year’s doesn’t fit! “

    • Appreciate teenage boys? Treasure them! and knit at least one sweater a year for them. Darling indeed!

      • Theyre cross country skiers. Wool sweaters are perfect for skiing.

  • this is absolutely IT.

  • Great advice… been there done that myself a few times… Since then I have a ‘short list’ of family and friends who I deem “knit worthy”… never again will I get that insult… and never again will I knit something for someone NOT on my ‘short list.’

  • I knit a beautiful white shawl for my niece’s (also my god daughter) bridal shower. She opened up the box and said, “nice scarf”.

    • Young people are so clueless sometimes, aren’t they?

  • I crocheted an intricate and beautiful silk and merino cowl scarf for my daughter in law. She had picked out the yarn colors, and when it was done and presented, exclaimed how much she loved it… and within two weeks, apparently left it somewhere. This was the second and last item I’ve made for her that she’s “lost”. Apparently, according to my son, she’s always losing things… not just what I’ve given her… but someone so adorably careless will not be on my lovingly hand crafted gift list any longer.

    • Good to know, I have three sons, oldest being 14, I’m hoping one of the qualities in my future daughter in laws is they appreciate hand made items. Crossing my fingers (and toes)!

      • Oh, I think my D in L “appreciated” the cowl, but she’s a careless soul in many ways. At least she’s made my son happy and isn’t that what matters? [I tell myself over and over LOL]

    • Before I could knit (like when I was 10 or something), my aunt made me a wonderful red scarf and a matching purse and I lost the scarf the first time I took it anywhere, at Kohls. I still have the purse, though.

  • Franklin, you are truly brilliant! I love reading your stuff.

  • I crocheted and intricately embroidered a beautiful baby bunting for my first niece. When I later visited her home, there was was the bunting I had lovingly crafted wadded up on the floor being trampled by a house full of day care kids. I was crushed.

  • Who among us has not suffered a similar wound? I, for one, would like some new patterns for cat toys!

  • Oh the disappointment.
    My nephew & girlfriend found out they were having a baby girl. They are in their late 30s and hard up for money (neither have a career). Knowing they had nothing for the baby I knitted 6 layettes and crocheted 4 more. Plus I made several hooded cardigans and 3 blankets. I also bought several packages of socks, and little shoes and the little headbands you see on infant girls. Packed it all carefully and mailed it across the country so she would have it to open at her baby shower. Later I asked my sister how she liked the gift and she told me that she just opened the top of the box, looked inside and set it aside. She never even took anything out of the box. Months after the baby was born I got a card that said “thanks for the gift”. What the _ _ _ _? Never again.

    • I made th afghan, sweater, and booties for my sister-in-law’s first child; at her request since the gift I made for her s-i-l’s child was “so gorgeous”. I saw it once in the baby”s room and never again. Did not make anything for second child.

      • Please consider making something for the second child, and keeping it for them at your house – sister-in-law would mean it was for your neice/nephew? Wait until they are old enough to want it/use it themselves, then give it to the child.

      • Lucy, Andee, I feel your pain. I knitted a lovely feather and fan stitch hat with matching booties, and a matching teddy bear (my first stuffed toy, with embroidered features, no less!) –for my dog groomer’s first baby, and never received a Thank You or not even an “Oh, how cute!” Finally I broke down and asked her if she received the gift. She’s like, “Yeh.” The heart does indeed break.

  • I too have had the less than excited results from giving knitted gifts–so last time I brought out a box of knitted scarfs and let them pick! I also find that charity knitting is satisfying, esp for KAS–some child needs it and will like it

  • Definately put a smile on my face this morning.

  • I’ve been in that same boat where someone has looked at my hand knitted creation and said “Oh, how nice” and never used it. On the other hand, some of my greatest pleasures in life have been making toys for my friends’ kids. My darling little not-related but granddaughter by love had a terrible dream one night, and she said it was because she saw a pink polka-dotted penguin in her dream and when she awoke, she knew she would never see one again. So of course, I knitted her a pink polka-dotted penguin, and 3 years later at 8 years old, it’s one of her prized possessions. My other darling love granddaughter loved the first lamb I knitted for her until it was a rag, and the second “pinky-bah” brought such a light to her eyes (and tears to mine) that her folks had to turn around on their way home to Maryland recently and go back to Connecticut where it was mistakenly left. Knit a toy for a child, and you’ll know it was worth it!

  • omg….HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE, HOW TRUE!! yard sales, thrift shops, Goodwill stores, and bottoms of toy boxes all over the world are filled with our lovingly knitted, crocheted, handcrafted hats, scarves, shawls, cowls, baby stuff, dog sweaters, etc, etc. THE HEART BREAKS, indeed!
    and if they only new the cost of that yarn and the hundred or so hours that some of the larger pieces may have taken. IF THEY ONLY KNEW!!
    but….to be totally honest here…even if we were tacky enuf to tell them THE COST OF THAT GREAT YARN…and how we schlepped it back fm Scotland, yada, yada…and it took 200 hours to make that thing…they still would not care or wear it.
    it’s us against them, dahlinks. Us against them.

    bottomline: PUT A PRICE TAG ON OUR PIECES, PUT THEM IN SHOPS, GALLERIES, ART SHOWS, WHATEVER….whenever possible…..or have a home party and sell them. People appreciate things they pay for. Why do you think shrinks charge so much!!??? Psychotherapy works best if payment is involved. People value what they buy….SOMETIMES morel than they value the freebies. Not always, of course, and that’s why we love giving our precious handcrafted things….but feel sad and rejected when we don’t get the feedback or adoration we want … deserve….crave…whatever.
    Frankly, our two cats get the biggest praise for their undying affection for the old knitted afghan’s which populate the TV room. these cats have great taste in knitted and crocheted things; i have taught them well.

    Beverly Wyckoff Jackson
    Washington, DC

  • I am glad for this article. It is important to bring it up. I don’t give away many of the items i make. If i do, it is for a really big life event such as a birth, graduation from HS or college or wedding. I choose the pattern and yarn carefully with that person in mind. Usually i use acrylic yarn so it can be washed plus so many people are allergic to wool products :-(. I enjoy the process of creating the item with that person or persons in mind. When giving it to them, I tell them they can do what they want with the gift but please don’t feel like you have to “put it away” You can if you like but it was made to be used. Use it. I now have passed on the responsibility of that item to the them. It’s not mine any longer. I hope they treat it with respect but…. My mother put most everything away that was handmade like it was a museum piece. It was only used on “special occasions” Now it is nice to have it from Aunt so and so that died 30 or 50 years ago but i am absolutely terrified to use it. I will probably keep it in the box for the next generation to not use

  • Like everyone else, I have had people not appreciate the thought and effort that went in to a “cheap, homemade” gift (yes, someone actually said that at a baby shower), or not use something because it was “too nice” to use. But I have also had nieces thrilled about the auntie hug afghans to take to their college dorms, and a friend’s son-in-law who wanted another afghan, because he thought the wedding gift was so nice they should each have one. And recently another friend sent me a picture of her grandson at preschool with the afghan I made for his baby shower, because her daughter-in-law said he insisted on taking it to school for nap time because it was his favorite blanket, and she wanted me to know. It is because of those moments that I will keep making gifts, but I don’t give repeat gifts to people who don’t appreciate the first one.

    • When i learned to knit I made my daughter a hooded sweater in the color of her choice. When she had the audacity to outgrow it, a family member asked if she could have for her child (bad idea), My daughter put the sweater on her favorite stuffed bunny and refused to give it up. The bunny is still wearing the sweater 10 years later. And one of the baby blankets I made goes on every road trip.

    • When i learned to knit I made my daughter a hooded sweater in the color of her choice. When she had the audacity to outgrow it, a family member asked if she could have for her child (bad idea), My daughter put the sweater on her favorite stuffed bunny and refused to give it up. The bunny is still wearing the sweater 10 years later. And one of the baby blankets I made goes on every road trip.

    • Do people not learn manners anymore? If I had been told the gift was “Cheap & Homemade” I would have snatched it back & made darn sure that EVERYBODY at the baby shower knew how rude & tactless this person was!!! I pity the poor baby growing with “oafish boors” for parents………

      • In fairness, the person who said that was a friend of the daddy-to-be, and may have been joking. The mommy-to be was not at the shower, as she was on total bed rest. She was thrilled with the gift.

  • So well written. Great humor AND wisdom!

  • I make baby gifts. For those who appreciate such things, I make something for each newborn child, afghans, sweaters, etc. But nothing goes to the person who may not be using the gift, but couldn’t be bothered to even acknowledge receipt.

  • I make baby gifts. For those who appreciate such things, I make something for each newborn child, afghans, sweaters, etc. But nothing goes to the person who may not be using the gift, but couldn’t be bothered to even acknowledge receipt.

  • The first project I made after getting back into crocheting this spring was a granny-square afghan for my college-bound daughter; fortunately, she loved it (& slept under it all summer before going off to college). All of these stories about unappreciative gift recipients, though, make me thankful that so much of what I’ve made since this spring has been charity crochet projects!

  • Crying tears of laughter… AND sorrow! Thanks!

  • Loved reading this. So true.

  • LOL that is so true for many of us. I consider the recipient before I decide is it a time and energy person or a quick trip to the store for a gift that takes neither time nor energy to make…at least on my part.

  • OMG! You said everything in my heart! I have friends and family who insist I sell the items I make, just not to them. They have no problem making demands as far as color or yarn type tho. I crochet, and it truly is a labor of love. I want my work to be appreciated, and functional. Thank you for a wonderful article.

  • I love to crochet and always have a project or 2 going. If a friend is having a baby or is sick, it’s an opportunity to try out a new blanket or shawl pattern. Sincerely, I do this more for me than for them. I stock up during yarn sales; I don’t panic over the deadline; I don’t stress over the item. If it’s used or appreciated, that’s a gift to me. If not, so what? In my youth, I was the recipient of those odd colored or odd shaped handmade sweaters. I don’t expect people to love what I’ve loved making.

    • Loved and agreed with each and every one of the comments!!! I thought I was the only one who felt unappreciated by “special” projects I made and gave from my heart!!! I always used my knitting as my relaxation, getting patterns together months before the project was to be given. Anyone can GIVE you a gift… takes a special person to MAKE you a gift!!!!

  • I have knitted hats, afghans. shawls. baby blankets. crocheted some too. My brother stills has his
    a Steelers themed granny square. Mom did socks, We both have kept ours. Regardless of what
    becomes of the gifts I give. If a cat likes to curl up in it (love cats) then it was perfect for the cat. 🙂

  • With all these sad stories, I want to leave one happy one. When my son was about to marry, my wonderful, artistic, craft-oriented daughter-in-law asked me to crochet her wedding veil. I got out my old pattern for true Irish Lace Crochet and made the veil (with design participation from my daughter-in-law) so she would be sure to love it. The finished product was really my best crochet ever, got compliments from the wedding guests, and now it is framed beautifully and hanging on her wall, next to another hand-made project done by her mother. Success is sweet!

    • Even more priceless than that veil, is your daughter in law, she sounds like a gem. Treasure her!

    • You are lucky to have a daughter in law that appreciates the gift of love that you gave to her! I bet it is beautiful!

  • So very true. Have been there and done that so many times until finally learning my lesson. Life is too short to knit or crochet for the clueless!

  • I once spent $120 on Rowan Big Wool to make a Chorley Wrap – a thick, cabled shawl on Size 15 needles. Took me nearly a year. My cat would paw at the shawl-in-progress and cry and cry until I let her sit on it while I knit. When it was all done, and I finally got to wear it to work, I came home to find a VERY upset cat who DEMANDED I give her “her” shawl, right now, this instant! It’s been a cat blanket every since. Darn thing looks better on the cat than it did on me, anyway.

  • So true! I have to admit I can’t pass up any usuable hand-knit or crocheted item I find at a thrift store. I just know some lovely knitter/crocheter laborered over the item,only to have an ignorant and ungrateful recipient toss it in the donations bin. I’ve rescued baby sweaters, amazingly intricate knit toys, hats, scarves, and much more. My kids and I have even invented a “phantom knitter” that we assume made them all. We call her Nona Frieda, and she is so happy to have her items rescued from unappreciation. When my daughter wore her beautiful rescued intarsia elf sweater with no less than 18 different colors of fine gauge wool, she proudly told everyone that complimented her that her Nona Frieda made it. Which confused her grandparents greatly. Wherever she is, I hope Nona Frieda knows how much WE appreciate her.

  • You know what is funny, my mom was a huge knitter/crocheter. She made tons of hats/mittens/scarves, blankets, doilies over the years. I am the only one of her 7 kids who bothered to learn to knit, so I appreciated how much work went into her creations, and whenever my brothers or sisters or their kids cast off mom’s work, I’d save it. After mom died, everyone wished they had their “knit with love” gifts back, and I was able to restore them to their much, more appreciative owners.

  • The first (or second?) Christmas after they were married I gave my son-in-law a pair of knit slippers. My daughter said, “You’re really not a member of the family until my mother knits something for you,” Last Christmas I knit him a scarf, among other more ordinary, store-bought gifts. Daughter said as soon as he opened it he hung it around his neck and left it there the rest of the time they were opening gifts. It is nice to be appreciated.

    • I enjoy making items for Project Linus and do not give as much as I use to but I can’t stop crocheting

  • I did that once, made a beautiful ripple afghan right out of High School for my brother for graduation in his favorite Tennessee colors, orange and white, only to go to the house a few months later and see his dog lying on it and him telling me, thanks, the dog loves it. Haven’t made him anything since lololol!

  • I am so surprised to see the responses to this article, as well as, the article itself. I always thought it was just my gifts that got the rejection or the tossing on the pile. I certainly did not receive this response from everyone but I do appreciate those folks much more now, who really did appreciate the gifts. I have decided that we must do this for ourselves as much as for the other person. If you enjoy it, then do it and do not have any expectations of receiving anything in return. There will always be ungrateful people who don’t seem to have any idea on how to graciously accept a gift. We must decide on an individual basis what to do about gift-giving to them in the future. It may be easier to get something store-bought for them and spend your efforts on the truly appreciative.

  • I knit and quilt. For my 3 year old grandson, I made a twin size quilt, hand quilted. Before gifting it I was offered $800 for it. Of course I refused. Next time I saw it was on the floor of my daughter-in-laws van. She said she put it there so the kids wouldn’t get the floor dirty with their muddy boots. The thing is that I love it when things get used. Wouldn’t bother me at all to see it drug around on the floor by my grandson. I brought it home and he uses it when he sleeps at my house. Lately he has been asking if he can take it home and soon I will let him.

  • I have 17 nieces and nephews who have rec’d many of my hand crochet blankets, scarves and mittens. I hope they love the handmade gifts. but-A close friend works for a local cat shelter. I make small blankets for the cats that are living out their lives in this no kill shelter. In my heart I know they like my blankies better than any human would.
    crochet on!

  • I can relate so easily. Thought about knitting socks for everyone for gifts and decided I would be the only one that would really like them….and I do ! and I loved your post Franklin…I will be smiling the rest of the day thinking about it!

  • I crochet and have found that children often appreciate the gifts more than adults. My step-son as a teenager had me make him another afghan that was 6 feet long because he said the first one I made was not long enough. I don’t always know if the items are used but I count the enjoyment and satisfaction of the actual making of the item as important as the use by the one receiving the gift. Besides there are more patterns out there that I want to make than I have people to give them to. Happy crocheting and knitting to all.

  • I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with gifting my crocheted things. But the bottom line is, as long as the giving makes me feel good, it doesn’t really matter if they appreciate the time, effort and material or not. And when it is appreciated…and used…it tickles me pink!

  • I know EXACTLY how “Trudy” felt. I have, in fact been told that, “no one will value your work like you do–not when they can go to Walmart and get the “same” item for a dollar or two.

  • I started knitting gifts for the nieces and nephews a few years ago. I knew they wouldn’t necessarily appreciate the gifts but I was leaving a legacy. Someday when they are adults and I’m gone, they’ll come across a hand knit item and think of their crazy Auntie Jen. I will be remembered! But as it turns out, they look forward to the gifts. 2013 is the ‘Year of the Sock’. I’ve had 2 of the kids, ask me if they could have their gifts early. Lol! Makes me feel loved. They get excited for the first birthday of the year to see what gift they’ll be getting that year. Who knew kids and teens could be so thoughtful….

  • Oh yeah, been there. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Thankfully, I have yet to encounter such a problem, as I am not confident enough to actually make something for someone else. I’ve been knitting for a while, but I have no self-confidence. I will keep this in mind throughout my knitting career.

  • My perspective is different–maybe it’s because I don’t consider myself a “knitting” person. As a very beginning knitter who never intends to/dreams of going further than simple scarf samplers, I’ve made one complete baby blanket (that so-easy diagonal one with the yarnovers to put ribbon in on the edges using some pretty spendy yarn) for my first grandbaby and am in the middle of another (different pattern–this one actually involves *counting*!) for grandbaby number two–and I have the yarn in a drawer (oh, the dreams of when I’ll be called upon to make it into something!) for number three. I know there were lots of “oohs” and “aahhhs” over that first baby blanket but I also know they never really “used” it. Well, I get photos of it sometimes, but I can tell it’s not a really well-loved item.

    But I don’t care. Truly.

    I had so darn much fun doing it, I was pleased as punch that I actually finished it and I didn’t mind that I left mistakes in it (perhaps that’s why it’s not a lovey??) ’cause I didn’t know how to fix ’em. And, mostly, in my very busy life that doesn’t involve anything like crafty stuff, those blankets are a message to *me* that I took time–and a certain amount of risk–to do something completely different.

    So what that it’s not used? My heart’s not breaking; I recall so fondly the winter evenings I labored over that thing and prayed for that baby-to-be without ceasing (well, in between a bit of puzzled untangling and sighing). Whether or not they “use” it doesn’t change a thing in my mind; this non-knitting grandma isn’t going to keep making them or using the time to pray for the new little one soon to be joining our family. But, perhaps, as I said, my view may be this precisely because I’m *not* a knitter…

    • [blushing] typo. I changed the line and didn’t change the word I wanted. It should be: …this non-knitting grandma isn’t going to *stop* making them…

  • I too have been heartbroken, but then i knitted my niece a hat and her bff asked for one then another! I Am now ” the greatest aunt ever!!!” Past heartbreak gone forever.

  • I learned this lesson a long time ago… The very hard way. Ingratitude is something I detest.

  • In response to the heart break comments, I now only knit for charity and myself.

  • I crochet for the love of it!!! My mother tortured me as a kid to learn all her “crafty” ways but I stubbornly refused to outwardly learn but subconsciously I learned anyway. After her death in 2001, I took a class at JoAnn’s and realized that I already was more advanced than I ever knew I was!!!
    Over the years, I have made many much loved blankets, throws, baby blankies, dog jackets, cat throws, cat toys than I can keep track of. My greatest pleasure is seeing these items of beauty on the backs of chairs, couches, in childrens cribs and on youth beds, on my friends pets and on my own floor with my cats tossing their favorite toys around while another snoozes on their favorite snuggly blankie!!!
    Plus, I know that even if the recipients don’t gush about my creations, my cats sure enjoyed cozying up to me as I was creating my newest beauty!! And everyone of them has passed the snoozing test by me and my cats!!!

  • I’m sorry, I think it’s HORRIBLE when people don’t appreciate something you’ve spent umpteen hours creating. They should at least give the item the respect it deserves by either giving it away to someone who appreciates it or putting it away so the cat can’t get at it!!! Honestly, I just don’t understand some people and their so-called values.

  • Last year, I offered to make a friend a hat because she lost her hair due to chemo. It was a simple knitted hat w/a crocheted rose on it. She loved it. I showed the picture to my aunt; she requested one, too, so I made one for her. Then I made one for my cousin, who wears it all the time when it’s cold. Then the cousin’s friend wanted one, so i made him one. Then a friend of his admired his, so I made him one, too.

    Moral of the story: only make stuff for people if you’ve offered to make them something and they’ve said they REALLY want it, or if they’ve seen your creation and actually ask for one like it.

  • I know something i have made is truly appreciated when it has been slyly stolen from my closet or drawer. Then the theif will usually show up one day wearing it, and saying it looked better on them anyway.

  • So true…so very, very true! I remember making a sweater for my sister-in-law. I did the same thing as Trudy..agonized over the yarn and then spent every waking moment knitting this sweater for her. She had the proper reaction when she opened it, realizing the effort if nothing else. But the following comment crushed me…’it must be nice to make things…they’re so cheap to do.’ When was the last time you looked at how much yarn cost???????

  • wow… my mom had a similar experience to Trudy… silk and angora full circle shawl to bestie… the cat sleeps on it and shreds it. 🙁 Said bestie now gets gift certificates…

  • I have been knitting chemo-caps, “no hair day” hats. did 300 last year and am sure every one of them was appreciated and I enjoyed doing them. This year have again added hats and scarves to the list for kids at school who wouldn’t have one otherwise, it might get lost but at least they got the chance to have it of their very own. Still doing the chemo hats but not as many this year.

  • Franklin, you are so right. I spend all year crocheting afghans, shawls and hats and knitting socks for grandchildren and all I get (in January) is “thank you they’re pretty) I think I will use them and save them all for charity when I die and send the money instead. It will free up my time for another hobby and charity work.

  • You said a while back something along the lines of : A hand made gift is like sex. To get it from me either I have to like you immensely or you have to pay a fortune for it.

    If someone wants a hat or scarf or mitts (working on a pair now) the first one is a freebie and I’ll whip something up in Vanna’s Choice or other reasonably priced yarn. My mom currently wants a lace cardi, in cashmere no less, and I told her she’d have to pay for yarn, needles, blocking board and pins before I’d even start. Hopefully she’ll appreciate the sweater more.

  • I love,love,love your article! Thanks for putting words to my feelings,I thought I was the only one with these ideas (are you worthy?) that I have had since my last baby shower blanket gift!

  • Ya know, I’ve really enjoyed reading all these comments, observations and experiences with gifting yarn and thread projects… and added my own yesterday. But I can’t let the topic go without a more positive tale.

    Two years ago, when it was a fresh phenomenon and related merchandise was not readily available, I noticed that my two young grandsons were mad for Angry Birds. So, when I saw a newly shared hat pattern featuring the bird characters, bought some inexpensive but suitable yarn and made each 6 year old a bird hat, one blue, one red. I thought they were pretty cute, but my daughter and daughter in law weren’t so sure. When the boys opened their gifts, their eyes got huge and the hats were immediately put on. For two days they wore them non stop. One even slept in him.Then, we had a chance to take them to a very famous amusement park that is home to a certain mouse. The boys insisted on wearing their hats. They were certainly easy to spot walking around the park. And people were actually stopping them to ask where they’d gotten them. A HIT !!

  • gave my 90 year old mother hand knit socks== after her death at 94 I found them in a box marked for goodwill with several other personalized family type gifts. Mother love—- not.

  • I had a similar issue with a beautiful crocheted shawl.I absolutely hate to crochet. I struggle with it and it causes the old tennis elbow to come back with a vengeance. 100% handspun alpaca crocheted with a tiny hook as a thank you. Guess what i have never seen it on or in pictures ( this gal takes a lot of pics!!!! I mean a lot !) oh well but it definitely taught me to be wary who i give things too.

  • So often this happens to me, I used to knit new babies something pretty only to be told that ,they don’t do hand knits, so now I knit Mother Therese’s Vests for premmie babies and they are greatly appreciated

  • My mother had a friend who lovingly knitted her grandchild a baby blanket. She later found it in the dog’s bed, never said a word, but picked it up and took it home.

  • Loved this!

  • When my sister was pregnant with my first nephew I knitted him a blanket in shades of green and brown because she said she was doing a jungle theme. She never said anything, but she has posted many pictures of Young Son clutching his blankie or wrapped in his blankie or otherwise using it. I know it’s appreciated by the person it was intended for.

  • I knit a pair of socks and my daughter knit a scarf for my sister for Christmas one year. She turned and said, “I wish someone would knit me something Iiked sometime. I haven’t knitted for her since.

  • Please everybody, don’t give up on giving. I’ve been burned before too. I once gave an afghan as a wedding present. When I didn’t hear from the recipient, I tactful asked her mother about it. I was told, “She’s much too busy to write thank-you notes”. Needless to say, when the time came around for her baby shower…
    Recently, I was finishing up a baby afghan at the hospital where I work, while my husband was having surgery. It was a new pattern I was just making for the fun of it. One of the employees from another department asked me shyly how much I would charge to make one for her first great grandchild, due in a few months. I told her I never charged anybody and that she could have it if she liked it. Turned out there was a very difficult family situation. She told me the next day she showed it to the little expectant girl’s mother, who was touched by the gift, and started to cry.
    It made up for all the unwanted gifts I ever made!

  • I made two beautiful baby blankets for a niece and a cousin. I have no idea what’s happened to them. The one for the niece was the first blanket I had ever made and the making of it helped me through a difficult time. I decided that I don’t want to know what’s become of it. And I’ve decided that only certain people can have any of my yarn crafts as gifts. 🙂

  • Rather than hoping a person might appreciate your investment and effort, try incorporating (or at least informing) s/he in the process. If nearby, “let’s have lunch” and drop by a yarn store so s/he can pick a color (and see the prices). If long distance, make a pinterest or flickr page with suggestions of pattern/fiber. If s/he isn’t responsive/involved, then you know to direct your efforts elsewhere. So, no hard feelings and, who knows, you might even plant a seed . . . .

    Of course, with babies, just be patient: Eventually, you can bypass the parents and talk/work with the youngsters directly. Mom won’t be able to “put it away” when the customized Xmas present for which Jr picked the colors and T Rex motif is finally opened.

  • The afghan story made me a little sick. 🙁

  • This reminds me of a friend that knitted a beautiful Aran afghan for a wedding gift. When visiting the couple a year later, she found that they had been using it for a motorcycle cover.
    Well, perhaps they wanted the best for their motorcycle. I have learned not to make any wedding gifts. But, every baby gets a crib or stroller blanket. (These are too small to use as a motorcycle cover.)

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