When I knit something for a friend I normally do so of my own volition – I choose the yarn and pattern.
Sometimes the result is a perfect fit for the recipient, and sometimes not. I accept that, partly because I enjoy the opportunity to play with different types of yarns and various patterns, and partly because I’m just contrary enough that I wouldn’t enjoy knitting something I was told to knit. So I try not to get too upset when I realize that something I’ve knitted doesn’t actually suit the person I’ve given it to.
But sometimes whatever I’ve knitted IS right for the recipient. Watching the face of a friend unfolding a new hand-knit scarf can be incredibly rewarding, by far worth all the time spent knitting (although perhaps not the time spent weaving in the ends – ugh!). The realization that something I made can make another person happy is a wonderful feeling.
Then there are other times, when I see an object I’ve knitted in use. Being able to see that something I’ve knit for somebody is not only appreciated as a thing of beauty, but is used on a regular basis makes me incredibly happy.
One of the first scarves I made a few years ago was out of Noro for a school friend. It goes with all of the various weights of coats she owns, and matches all her regular bags (she, like me, has a bit of a bag fetish). She uses it ALL the time, and every time I see her wearing it, or see it tucked into her purse in case the day gets colder, it never fails to make me smile.
When I was back in Canada recently I realized that my knitting is used there too. In the back seat of my dad’s car, perfect for easy access and solving the problem of where-did-I-leave-it-last-itis, I found the scarf I had knit for him last year. And, when I went to see my old Japanese professor, I saw folded on her shelf the shawl/lap blanket I had knit for her in the fall. She saw me looking at it and explained that now that the weather had warmed up she wasn’t using it often, but it had been wonderful through the cold part of the winter (this year has been unseasonably warm in the area, regular temperatures of -20 have been replaced by those hovering around the 0 mark, leaving an icy but almost snow-free landscape that is very very uncommon for BC’s frozen north!)
Knowing that my knitting is being used, keeping warm those I love even when I’m far away, is a wonderful feeling. But seeing these two last projects made me realize two things – 1) I’m a forgetful daughter because I completely forgot I had promised to make a matching toque for my father, I need to go and try to buy some more of the same yarn! and 2) I’m a forgetful student because I completely forgot I hadn’t yet shared photographs of my professor’s lap-blanket!
(a gorgeous gorgeous variegated yarn in greens and purples that I just about kept for myself until I remembered how much I dislike yarn with bobbles on it!)