It is not unusual for a knitter to get asked frequently for a handknit item of some sort. Much to the consternation and disdain of knitters everywhere, those people who ask often do not appreciate the time, money, and effort that goes into knitting. We are asked for our time that could much better be spent knitting for ourselves or our family.
I don’t often knit for people who ask, rather state my fair price and require the person asking to cover the cost of yarn as well. I do knit on commission from time to time, but often my fair price and the cost of yarn is way more than most people are willing to pay. On the other hand, knitting for other people gives me great joy, it just has to be something of my own choosing.
So, when I was approached yesterday by a relative hoping I’d knit one of the colorwork stockings for his child, my immediate inner reaction was a mixture of “No friggin’ way, I’ve already knit 5” and “yeah, if you’ll pay my fair price.” But, I held my tongue initially and listened to him speak while I thought it over. Sometimes this is hard to do on such a hot button issue for knitters. But he was so humble in his asking, and had really thought it through before he asked.
He expressed that the rest of the family already has handknit stockings done by Aunt Madeline, and treasured yearly. Of course this hit my heart hard because our stockings in our family are knit by Aunt Madeline and are extremely treasured. I absolutely loved our stockings growing up and I never forgot who made them as I grew into my teen years. They were big, roomy, and beautiful to me!
This then brought me to thinking about the number of years those stockings have been appreciated, and the number of years they have been taken out and hung up. It makes me think about the number of years certain hand knit items last, in the case of our family stockings, long past Aunt Madeline. Which means that every year we take out those stockings we think of her and the time and effort she put into them to create them for us. Unselfishly, as a gift to the family.
And wouldn’t it be nice if I could think past my own selfish knitting to be thought of the same way for years to come? This is when I decided that this child would have a hand knit stocking just as I had made for my brother and his wife, and just as I intend to make them for my brother’s children. So, in the spirit of Aunt Madeline, I’ll be knitting at least one more stocking for 2010 Christmas. And we will just have to see what the year brings, we will see if there will be new children to knit for and new traditions to be carried on. Because that is just how family works, and that is beautiful to me.