My son asked me to make him a neck warmer for Christmas. He wanted black or grey. This makes me think of the time a couple of months ago, when I despaired that no one wanted my knitting (nothing sold at a craft sale table I shared with a friend). I went to my computer and typed in the google line “No one wants my knitting.” It lead me to a blog which had some advice, which I will pass on to you*.
First: knitters like wild colors because they are fun to work with (guilty), but in reality, no one wants these items. They are, at best, outside peoples comfort zone for actual use and at worse, just plain tacky. And when I look at my décor in my house there are lots of neutrals with tiny splashes of color. In my wardrobe, I have color because I like it, but they are either solids or subtle patterns. No wild stripes or blotches of rainbow colors.
So back to the neck warmer: boring black or grey it is.
I bought real wool, because we all know real wool is warmer (and more expensive) than the synthetic stuff. Which leads to more advice from the blog I read: buy the expensive stuff because the cheap stuff looks cheap and no one really wants that. People may or may not factor the amount of work you put into the item. If they don’t factor in the work, they just see cheap wool that looks and feels like crap. If they do, they feel guilty because they are not going to use all your hard work-because it looks and feels like crap.
Okay-neck warmer: I used circular knitting needles and “guesstimated” the number of stitches needed. I used my own massive melon for fitting so the thing ended up way too big for the boy. We tried shrinking it and that helped, but it also made it too short. So back to the drawing board. I knit another, much smaller one.
The top one is the first one I made. My boy will use that one on super cold days when he needs his face covered as well, but the second one will be the one he wears most of the time. I made it in two layers (extra warm) and I made it reversible so he can have it be black or grey.
The boy actually does use these things. And this leads to the third piece of advice from the blog: if the receiver of the gift has a say in what they want they are more likely to use and value the item. My boy said “I want a black or grey neck warmer”. I gave him a black or grey neck warmer and he likes it. For bigger ticket items like a blanket or sweater or for more finicky people, it is better to take the person shopping for wool so they can see the colors and feel the wool.
So what is a knitter to do with this advice when she knows her wool stash is full of wild colors and cheaper value wool? When I think of my stash, I could despair. I could just give the balls away to a thrift store…something I may actually do to some of it. But now I am thinking, there are some things I would use that are wilder. I don’t care what my housecoats and slippers look like. I could make all kinds of housecoats and slippers in all kinds of wild crazy colors and patterns and I will love them. There is no law that says I only need two or three of these things. I bought the wool, I will do the work, I will want and appreciate what I made.
I could make project bags for all of my UFO’s and I could line them with left over fabric (kill two stashes with one stone.) I could make small items to give to others that they might use no matter what it is made of (coin purses or pouches to use in purses). Kids toys can be wild. I don’t have any kids to give them too (yet) but that is an option.
Finally, a commenter on that blog I read said she knits all kinds of things and puts them in a bag, then at family gatherings she opens the bag up and allows people to pick something out of the bag that they want. Sure, people may pick SOMETHING to avoid offending her but at least there is a chance they will pick something they might actually use. I could do that with the more subtle colors and nicer feeling wools I have in my stash.
So new year with new goals for my knitting.
*Sorry, I did not save the link to the blog I am referencing. If I find it again, I will rectify that faux pas.