Someone once told me the story about their aunty giving them a new pair of socks every birthday. They told it with that particular tone that is usually accompanied by eye-rolling, insinuating that I should know exactly how boring that gift is.
I asked them if they thought their aunty knitted their socks. The response was non-committal; they didn’t know.
It strikes me that receiving repeated knitted gifts would seem… I don’t know. Boring. Lazy. Predictable, maybe. But if a knitter sits down and decides to knit you something, you know what that knitter is showing? That you are worth her time. That you are someone she thinks about enough to start planning your present weeks or even months in advance. When a knitter gives you socks, she is expressing affection and dedication and a wish for your feet to be warm.
There is a term in knitterly circles: knit-worthy. It’s the label granted to giftees who show proper appreciation and understanding of their hand-knitted presents. If you are not knit-worthy it means that you have somehow shown a lack of gratitude or care for your gift. There are people in my life who are knit-worthy and there are many who are not.
Does this make us selfish? I read on Ravelry once that someone’s partner thought a knitted gift was just that: it was taking the opportunity to do something the knitter enjoyed without thought for the recipient. I don’t think that’s true. I don’t always knit for people I love; I also get them things they asked for or just things I think they would like. But I also knit for them. Not because it is an excuse to knit (okay, slightly that) but also because I love that person and want to take the time to express it properly.
Sometimes I worry the people I knit for don’t understand that and think I’m boring or lazy or selfish. Then I remember that anyone I decide to knit for already knows me well enough to get it.
It also means that I struggle to knit for people I don’t know well. It stresses me out a lot and feels wrong.
What do you think about knitting for love? Do you think it’s selfish or just the opposite?