Craft · Knitting

Knitting for Love

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?


15 thoughts on “Knitting for Love

  1. I can’t relate to knitting, but I can definitely relate to cross stitching for people I love (is there a term for this yet? If so, let me know).

    When I cross stitch for friends or family, it’s partially because I love to do so .. But the majority is because I want to express that they’re worth the time, effort, and thought that has gone into the piece that I’m giving them. All the people who have received a cross stitch from me have appreciated it, but I wonder what happens when I run out of people to cross stitch for .. I’ll still want to cross stitch, but who will I be doing it for?


    1. You just start cross-stitching other things for the people who appreciated it most! I know people who have had quite a few knitted gifts from me 🙂


  2. I know I tend to only knit gifts for knit-worthy people, anyone who I know who wouldn’t appreciate the time put in, the thought and planning that went into their hand knitted gift simply don’t get one from me and I’m ok with being thought of as selfish and lazy but as you say those who do receive a hand knit gift from me know me well enough and so they appreciate all of the above.


  3. I stopped knitting for others a long time ago simply because my endeavors were not appreciated. I do knit for my immediate family now and then, and my friends who knit or crochet.


    1. That’s so sad. I don’t knit for people who ask it usually. Mostly because it stresses me out… but I’m glad you still have people to gift to occasionally!


  4. As one who makes gifts for my loved ones, I’m hoping it’s not seen solely as selfish. There’s certainly that in there, like you say, but I really do try to think of things that the recipient would appreciate. And there are people that I just don’t make things for because I can’t think of anything they’d enjoy & I don’t want to waste my time or give them something thoughtless. It brings me great joy to make gifts, like the hats I make for my nieces & nephews. I think of them while I’m making them, and I love to see them wearing them. I’ve come to a realization that the gift of a person’s time is so much more valuable than any material object.


    1. “I’ve come to a realization that the gift of a person’s time is so much more valuable than any material object.”

      This is so true. Especially since I don’t see my immediate family much, living as I do in a different country. We all have so much going on in our lives (not just my family) so it’s nice to sit down and put some time into something for somebody. My mum recently crocheted me a travel pillow to take with me when I emigrated which is an example of how much crocheting (in this case) can mean!


  5. I try to not give people the same thing each time- usually I get requests, which is great! 🙂 My sister might well call me selfish for not knitting her a pair of bed socks (the last two ended up in the washing machine…definitely not knit-worthy!)


    1. Hahahaha there are some people I don’t knit much for but still occasionally do something despite knowing they won’t look after it properly. I try to use a superwash yarn if they mess up the first item. 🙂


  6. I knit socks for my kids. I have been knitting socks for about 18 months after a long break from knitting. I have made some socks for friends’ daughters but wasn’t sure if that was really for the friends rather than their daughters. I have to say that I was ridiculously pleased that my daughter’s friends at University put in special requests for various colour work socks with silly things on them.
    The big advantage for someone like me who has limited skill is that socks can be invisible but still comforting and warm.


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