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lucybug
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2012 :  07:23:50 AM  Show Profile Send lucybug a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the past few years I've knit several things for my step-son and his family. A few baby blankets, hats, mittens, toys, and sweaters for their little girl, hat and blanket for their new baby, and a Mason-Dixon log cabin afghan for the house. One of the sweaters I made for their daughter is the hardest thing I've ever made - a hoodie sweater with an intarsia cat that zips up the front.

The issue? I never ever see any of my work again. Their daughter doesn't wear anything I've made her and they don't even have the afghan out. I think I knit fairly well - in fact the lady that sewed the zipper in the hoodie for me (didn't want to ruin it by doing it myself) said her husband even commented on how cute it was. As I'm writing this I realize how hurt I am by this and don't think I'll knit for them again -- even though I love making baby clothing.

Does anyone else have this happen? Should I just let it go and keep pumping out the knitting?

Nanaknit
Chatty Knitter

287 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2012 :  09:09:59 AM  Show Profile Send Nanaknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Lucybug. I think we've all had this issue at one time or another. I finally realized that I should save my knitting for those who really appreciate it. I have a small circle of family and friends that I knit for, because I know that they will appreciate a hand knitted item and will use/wear it.

As for the others; I've come to understand that hand knitted items just aren't something they have an interest in. It really isn't a reflection of their feelings for the knitter, just a reflection of their personal taste. I try to remember to choose the gift to suit the recipient. Hope this helps



Linda

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
-Eleanor Roosevelt
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PBELKNAP
Permanent Resident

USA
1136 Posts

Posted - 04/09/2012 :  09:29:47 AM  Show Profile  Visit PBELKNAP's Homepage Send PBELKNAP a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You could ask...I found out one time that the reason the recipient wasn't using my afghan was because they didn't understand that they didn't have to handwash it or have it cleaned. After I assured them it was acrylic and practically indestructible, they went ahead and used it!

*************************

PAM

Twitter Name = WildKnitter

Blog: http://wildknitter.blogspot.com

If I could only do this for a living...
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lucybug
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2012 :  07:32:49 AM  Show Profile Send lucybug a Private Message  Reply with Quote
We have had conversations about washing instructions so I don't think that's it. It may be a preference for store bought which is why I've never made garments for the adults. I guess I'm afraid to ask -- afraid they'll say everything is hideous and they want no part of it (the insecurity in me coming out). I'll probably feel better if I don't make anything for them unless they ask for something specifically.

Thanks for the comments.
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Luann
Permanent Resident

USA
2673 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2012 :  2:23:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit Luann's Homepage Send Luann a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'm sorry for you, lucybug, what a hurtful situation. I say knit for those who appreciate it, and for those who don't - gift cards!

I decided long ago to only knit for the "knitworthy." One of the first projects I finished that I was really proud of was a cashmere scarf for my older brother one Christmas. I fretted over choosing a pattern, color, and yarn he would be sure to like, and fussed until it was just right. His wife got a nice hat I made as well. They never thanked me - or wore the items - so I took them off the "knitworthy" list. Years later my mom said "Your brother is hurt that you never knit him anything and you are always making stuff for your other brother and me." I told her my reason. He called me, said he was sorry, and I immediately made him a pair of socks.

I recently whipped up a pair of Maine Morning Mitts as a goodbye present for one of my son's teachers, who was moving. Fun but dead simple knitting. She cried when she opened the package, and blubbered that "nobody ever KNIT anything for me!" I was ready to cast on a fair-isle sweater on 0000 needles for her on the spot!



Knit and let knit!
http://www.luannocracy.blogspot.com
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yarnlover
Permanent Resident

1753 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2012 :  2:33:32 PM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've made a few gifts for family over the year, but no more. When I get a polite "thank you," from my nieces and nephews, I realize they will never use the item because it didn't come from a high end department store.

To some people, hand made has no value, it is looked on as something "cheap," homemade to save money. When I realize that is the kind of person I'm dealing with, then no longer do I knit for them. No hard feelings, I accept that they have no idea of the value and caring that went into the time spent knitting and I don't waste my time or yarn on them again.

But, this also happens when giving any kind of gift - it's hard to pick out something for someone else. I don't always like or need what someone gives me, sometimes I can use it anyway, sometimes not.

See My Stuff: Here

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Milinda
Permanent Resident

USA
3817 Posts

Posted - 04/10/2012 :  2:49:24 PM  Show Profile Send Milinda a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by lucybug

We have had conversations about washing instructions so I don't think that's it. It may be a preference for store bought which is why I've never made garments for the adults. I guess I'm afraid to ask -- afraid they'll say everything is hideous and they want no part of it (the insecurity in me coming out). I'll probably feel better if I don't make anything for them unless they ask for something specifically.

Thanks for the comments.



:: And if they did admit that they thought what you had made for them was "hideous" or that they wanted no part of it, could that feel worse than how you are feeling now? Seriously. If you knew the truth then at least, you would know your intuition was correct and that these are not people who appreciate your efforts. That said, I think their actions speak louder than words and I would accept that they don't value your work and move on to those who do like and appreciate your knitting.

I do not knit for anyone who is not "knitworthy" as our Dear Luann calls it. If the person does not value the expense and effort because we all know that knitting is not a cheap way out of a gift these days, then I don't waste my time or emotions. We understand how you feel, believe me, but I would just cross them off your knitting list and find others who would be thrilled to recieve one of your knitted items.

M L
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emmyc
Chatty Knitter

USA
196 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2012 :  04:54:52 AM  Show Profile Send emmyc a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I tend to knit first, give later...I've just started knitting socks, not specifically for anyone, but I'll figure out who will wear them and give them at the holidays. Same for fingerless gloves/mittens.





emmyc
winchester ma
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anderknit
Permanent Resident

USA
2604 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2012 :  09:18:16 AM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
lucybug - I want to reiterate - don't keep knitting for those who don't seem to want or appreciate what you've done, but also don't take it personally! When I look around and see the different tastes that people have - even within my own family - I realize that I cannot know what will please people. Here's a recent example. Two people I know had babies. I knit both the "Sweet Norwegian Baby Cap" from Ravelry. One sent me a gushing thank you and said the baby looked adorable in the hat and that they would treasure it. The other - radio silence. So, I move on. But I certainly would not continue to knit for a family that did not seem to care about the knitted item(s).

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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lucybug
Chatty Knitter

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2012 :  4:37:45 PM  Show Profile Send lucybug a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thanks everyone. I like the idea of deciding who is "knitworthy". They obviously don't appreciate the time and love put into knitting.

Something happened that should have given me some insight into my daughter-in-law's family that you all will appreciate. Once when the whole family was gathered for something I told our grandson (who was about 8 at the time) that I would knit him something if he wanted. (I really don't expect a boy to appreciate knitting but didn't want him to feel left out.) His other grandmother said I should knit him a sweater to wear for school pictures!! Obviously no clue how long it takes to knit a sweater not to mention the expense.

I do have a good story. I recently made a baby blanket for a friend at work. I don't know her very well and wasn't invited to her shower, but she had major surgery in order to get pregnant and even then the doctor said it was a small chance that it would be successful. I was so excited for her that I HAD to make her something. She about cried and not only did I get a beautiful thank you note, but her husband called and thanked me. The first pictures that were taken in the hospital were on my blanket. That's a "knitworthy" person!!
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Nanaknit
Chatty Knitter

287 Posts

Posted - 04/11/2012 :  4:50:52 PM  Show Profile Send Nanaknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I know what you mean lucybug. I had a similar experience at work. One of our docs is from China and has had fertility issues. I knit her a blanket for her very special little boy. She can't stop talking about how much she loves it and that even her parents love it. THAT is the reason we knit for other people-it makes your heart feel good to know that you have given someone that kind of gift. As for the people who don't care for hand knitted items, they don't know what they're missing.

Linda

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't."
-Eleanor Roosevelt
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donnawatk
Seriously Hooked

766 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  03:39:09 AM  Show Profile Send donnawatk a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have only felt like the gift I knitted wasn't wanted once. When the blanket I knitted was in a picture on the floor. It was white with animals around the edge. I later heard she didn't like hand made, so who is off my list. The best reaction from a gift was from a lady I didn't know in a hospital waiting room. I had a shawl I made for my self. I called it my pray shawl for work. I used it on the bad days. I gave it to her and she made my day. Weeks later I saw her again and she remember me and told her family. Donna
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hillstreetmama
Permanent Resident

USA
3448 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  03:46:07 AM  Show Profile Send hillstreetmama a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree that one should only knit for the knit-worthy. The problem is figuring out who is and who isn't before you give them your magnum opus. I've been giving people things I've made since I was a teenager. The first homemade gift you give someone will often tell the tale. If you get "radio silence", that is the last. They don't have to gush over it, but you can tell when someone appreciates the time you put in.

Giving them some input is also a good idea. I've told the story before of the 20 or so 1-skein projects I did a few years ago at Christmas. I put them in a basket, and told everyone in the family that they could choose something. If they didn't want anything, they could quietly leave at the end of the day and not pick anything. They had a blast trying on hats, mittens, etc. and I did see several of the items later being worn. In every case, the recipient chose something that I would not have chosen for them.

On another note, I was once an unworthy recipient of a crocheted layette. My child never wore it, though I appreciated the work that went into it. I'm embarrassed to admit that I gave it to Goodwill. To further my shame, when this friend became a grandmother, I saw her first grandbaby using items I had made for HER children. I have kept every other knitted or crocheted item that was given to me for my kids...I should have kept that one, too.

Jan
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sockjoan
Warming Up

Australia
60 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  04:19:25 AM  Show Profile Send sockjoan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've done what Hillstreetmama did - made a whole lot of small items and let people choose. It worked well. But sometimes I have to mail gifts to overseas relatives, and this is problematic because their postal service is unreliable. I sent my brother and niece some socks they were really looking forward to, and they simply didn't arrive - probably stolen along the way. So I like an acknowledgement, just so I know things have arrived. Sometimes I have to prompt them, but I'm pretty sure they do actually appreciate the items I knit for them.
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Bonstrick
New Pal

USA
15 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  04:45:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Bonstrick's Homepage  Send Bonstrick a Yahoo! Message Send Bonstrick a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Lucybug, I could really feel your pain when you described knitting for others. A year ago I knit a Debbie Bliss Baby Dress with a smocked yoke for a cousin and I never even heard a word. (I had given the gift to my Aunt to give to her so it didn't get lost in the mail.) And it has happened with others as well. A few years ago I knit Flower Basket Shawls for each of my nieces and never heard a word. The next year I made them felted bags. Now I give them gift certificates instead. Then there are friends I have knitted for who frequently say to me I wore the socks or shawl or sweater today you made me. I've had friends send pictures of their children wearing the outfits I've made. I really enjoy choosing an item to knit and creating it for someone I love. And it is only by trial and error do we realize who will appreciate the gifts from our hands and hearts. Bonnie
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sviter
New Pal

USA
5 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  05:16:14 AM  Show Profile Send sviter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
this happens to me regularly. i knit less for my grandchildren than i used to, and i've learned to tell them and my daughter that if it's not something they would choose to wear, would they please donate it to a needy cause, like a homeless shelter, because someone might like it. my new approach is to make several things in the right sizes and let them pick. i have a place to donate the unwanteds. i once asked my daughter if she had some sweaters she didn't want, to give them to me to send to a russian orphanage, and she returned almost all the sweaters i had made for her! i kept a few that fit me and sent on the rest. what's important is that they're worn.
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terryknits2
New Pal

39 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  05:31:24 AM  Show Profile Send terryknits2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with the sentiments here. On many occasions I have knit special items for family members and never heard a word back. And, yes, I do feel bad that maybe my hand-knit item wasn't loved or even appreciated. But it usually doesn't stop me from doing it again. If I want to make something for someone because it makes me happy to do so, then they can't stop me!!! I try not to make things just for the anticipated response -- but sometimes I am very pleasantly surprised by how much someone did appreciate what I made for them. And when I don't ever hear back, I might probe a little so I can better understand what to do differently next time. I also tend to look at no news being good news and not the other way around.
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Marin
New Pal

21 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  05:33:50 AM  Show Profile Send Marin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you don't ask, you don't know.

I knit for my nephews and I rarely see the objects again, but I do know they love them and use/wear them to death - I just don't happen to be there at the moment of use. The nephews live a few blocks from me and I see them several times a month.

On the other hand, you should realise that everybody doesn't have the same taste, not everybody understands what a labour of love a handmade item is. There's relatively little hand-made going on in this era. Odds are good your stepson and his family don't have any personal experience of making something for someone and what that takes, so it doesn't register fully when you make something for them.

Set aside your ego and insecurity, take a deep breath and ask them if they use what you give them. Make it an honest, open communication so they feel free to say, "You know, we really don't. They're lovely, but they just aren't our taste." Then you will be free to knit for someone else and give them gifts they'll truly appreciate.

Of course, they may be shocked you're even asking and tell you they love them and use them and treasure them.

My rule of thumb is that if I knit something that hasn't been requested, I'm really knitting for me. I can't be angry or hurt or upset if I sprung something on someone that has nothing to do with them.
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gerstperson
Warming Up

USA
90 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  06:23:03 AM  Show Profile Send gerstperson a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am so sorry that your step-son is not "knitworth." It obviously gives you great satisfaction to knit something for his family, and that satisfaction falls flat if you never get to see them enjoy it. One possibility is to involve them in the process. Do you knit in front of your daughter-in-law? Have you ever passed by a yarn store on an outing with her? These could be ice-breakers to talk about your knitted objects.

As someone mentioned, I tend to knit gift items without anyone in mind. There is a rather full sock box most of the time. Last week, my family descended upon me, and it got emptied out. I alloted each person one pair (a couple extra for my son and future daughter in law), and they were so excited to see them all and help each other decide. Then they wore them all weekend. Really fun.

Making something for someone in particular is harder, and you either have to know that they are knitworthy, or not get too upset if the item is never used. My favorite story is when a dear friend finally got pregnant in her 40s, I knit her the Dale Lady Bug sweater for her son, in wool/silk with black angora for the dots. I enclosed the washing instructions from the ball bands. When she opened the box, she squealed with delight, and then went right to her nanny and told her "Do you see this sweater? If you ever put it in the washing machine, you are fired." Now, that's a knitworthy friend!

Sharon

Chinese Proverb: Man who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt woman who is doing it.
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Liz F
New Pal

45 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  06:30:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit Liz F's Homepage Send Liz F a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with Luann's concept of the "knitworthy". I quickly understood that some family members don't appreciate what goes into a handknit item. And that's ok - some people think that if a garment didn't come from a store, it's not as "good" (perhaps an outgrowth of a depression-era childhood?)

But here's the main reason I knit some things to give away: Whether the recipient knows it or not, or wears it or not, that item was knit with many good thoughts and a lot of love. So, in a way, the gift is really for me - a way to think of that person and knit at the same time.
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kaythearky
New Pal

4 Posts

Posted - 04/12/2012 :  06:45:32 AM  Show Profile Send kaythearky a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Many others have said it, and I agree - knit for the knitworthy! Enough said.

I usually have some project on the needles for charity, and I have found much satisfaction is doing lovely work for someone I don't know. That is a true gift!

And have you noticed that knitters rarely are the recipients of knitted gifts? I guess the feeling is "She knits so well that she wouldn't like my work," or "If she wanted an item like this, she would make it herself." No, no, and no! I didn't realize this till recently, when I admired a lovely lace shawlette that a friend had made and she immediately took it off and put it around my shoulders. I am considered a really good knitter, and I do a lot of lace - and nobody had ever given me any of their knitting. I was so moved that I cried, because I know what goes into knitting - time and care and love. So give something to a knitter! Just hand it away with love, and make yourself another.
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