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Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Momentary Rant about Knitting

So here's the thing about knitting...

Today, I neglected my house, my shopping, and even my job a little, to sit and watch television and knit. I was making a project for someone who had asked for it, and she had offered money.

I refused.

Because-- I make money at my job. When I take hours out of a day--that I had not ordinarily planned to take, mind you, because I block out a little bit of leisure time every day-- to knit instead of write, I'm doing a small amount of damage to my income--one that can't be replaced.

Ordinarily, I do it because I love it--and the person I'm knitting for.

If someone asks for something special, if I love them, I will knit the something special. Even if I just like them. Sometimes, even if I think they're dumber than diapers, but they have children who don't deserve my disdain, I will knit for their children. (Some of you may remember the neighbor who complained because a 14" baby hat was a little too large for her premature baby. Yes. That's who I'm talking about.)  But mostly, I do it out of love.

I don't calculate income loss because I'm doing it out of love, and I don't put a price on watching television or going to the movies with my children or visiting my parents either.

Knitting is my leisure time. It is my hobby. It is a thing I love to do, for people I love creating for. If I knit for someone, that means I have thought about them, cared for them with wool, and it means something to me. My children want me to knit for them-- and I'll knit almost anything they ask for. Mate doesn't ask me, because he doesn't want to see me stress about getting it just right--he'd rather me have the time to just chill.

So, if you have a knitter in your life, and you want a special something--perhaps ask way ahead and offer to buy the supplies. But if you're going to offer to pay them, you might as well look stuff up on ETSY--and by all means, DON'T balk at the price. Even the quickest, easiest thing on the ETSY roster takes at least two hours to make. How much would you charge for two hours of your time as a sales clerk? A paralegal? A vet tech? A substitute teacher?  Or something you trained for years to perfect? Now add a material fee to that--and remember, wool, the nice stuff, doesn't come cheap.

A friend of mine looked up an item comparable to something I had made her and was stunned at the price. I was not--and I wasn't sorry I wasn't. I'd made the thing out of love, and what mattered to me was that she felt loved. She did. The project was a success.  The mistakes (and I make them, lots of them, even on simple items. I'm decently competent, but squirrel brain isn't just a word!) were character and not mark-down flaws, and the colors--which I had chosen, were surprising and beautiful.

I would not have loved this project quite so much if it had been perfect, and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't have either.

So, yeah. I made a particular gift for someone I loved. But I'm still working off the hurt of, "Well, I'm sorry we don't have time to get together for  Christmas, but I'll pay you for this act of love."

The people I'm tight with have not yet offered to pay me. They know who they are. When I say I would knit for someone if I only had the time, that's a thought of love. When I mourn that one of my favorite people lives in San Diego and I have nothing to knit her? That's thwarted love right there.

And when I take an afternoon off to watch Haven and knit socks for someone who asked for a present for her boyfriend?  I'm hoping that's a bridge I'm mending. With bright red worsted, super wash merino wool.

Rant over.

*  *  *

Still a Christmas story. Still has nothing to do with wool. But there's soccer. And a cat.

Available at Amazon :-)

3 comments:

Unknown said...

Oh I understand perfectly about the hand work for fee. If anyone asks me if I sell my work, I say no, I give it to family and friends. I needlepoint which takes about an hour per square inch and a small item with threads can easily cost $75.

I do have one suggestion for your San Diego friend, consider knitting and felting something. I've made felted totes which are great. I gave a friend who is allergic to wool a felted flamingo that now sits on the mantel with its legs (with knots for knees) hanging down.

Colette said...

This I understand. I have knitted things for people and had them dismissed as home made, and had people ask for things with no consideration for my time or costs. I have learned to ignore them and only gift people I love and who love and understand the value, care and love that goes into home made.

Bridget Carson said...

Ummm, I don't knit much. Still learning. But I get exactly what you mean. I grow produce... preserve some... cook and am constantly giving the results to friends and family when they come to visit me or I hunt them down to get the try this or taste that.

Ive been offered money for my produce. It has even been suggested that I start a business, with an offer for funding. Meh! I already have work I love. I'd rather someone brought me fresh produce that is in season that I don't grow.