A few years ago, a knitter friend of mine presented me with a different way to give handmade gifts: don’t gift finished projects. It was a revelation.
Business As Usual
It seems to be a common progression amongst knitters. When you first learn to knit you think to yourself “I’ll never have to buy another gift again! From now on, everyone in my life will receive thoughtfully planned, lovingly created, unique handmade treasures!”
Then your first Christmas happens.
Realizing that you cannot, in fact, make all of your gifts by hand (short of quitting your job and your wrists falling off), you scale back your expectations. But even if you only make a few things a year for the most special people in your life, at some point you will end up staying up until 3 AM some Christmas or Birthday Eve to weave in ends, hoping a fan will dry it out in time.
A Different Way
The radically different alternative is to just opt out of crafting deadlines. Instead of finished pieces, the “gift” is a designing session and yarn. Spend the time with your loved one picking the perfect yarn and just the right pattern. You then make it in your own time frame. No deadlines, no worrying whether they’ll like, they get it when it gets done.
Not only does this sidestep the deadline, but also presents the delightful opportunity to involve them in the process from start to finish. You can talk with them about the difference between a scarf and a shawl, alpaca versus wool, fingering or worsted weight. And let *them* decide if they want it machine washable. It will be more like ordering a personally tailored garment than buying something from a store.
Best of all, you don’t have to hide your work-in-progress! Involve them in that too! Show them how it’s going, even share mistakes and accidents. As fun as it is to revel in the mystery of crafting, your loved ones will appreciate it that much more once they’ve seen exactly how much thought and time and effort goes into the smallest gift.
And did I mention no crafting against a deadline?
I’ve been doing this for several years, through a number of gifts, and I cannot recommend it enough. I’ve picked out yarn on the computer with my partner, I’ve conferenced with my sister across the country, I’ve gone to 4 different yarn stores with a friend looking for just the *right* shade of blue. Sometimes it takes months to actually finish, long after I meant to be done, and it’s always been okay. Because they’ve shared every frustration and setback, breakthrough and relief; they get exactly what they asked for and they know *exactly* how much thought and time and energy went into it.
And did I mention no last minute all-nighters?
Last Minute Gifts Without the Stress
If you want to retain the feel of a traditional gifting with wrap and trimmings, you can make a present of the yarn itself. With our extended Christmas shipping deadline, if you work with the loved one now and order from KnitPicks.com by 9 AM Friday, December 16th, you can have the exact yarn they ask for, even a gift card, to open on Christmas Day. Or order one of our pattern collection books for a wealth of possibilities that your loved one can pick from in person. (You could even download an ebook ON Christmas Day!)
If you’re *really* pressed for time, our expedited shipping deadline isn’t until December 21st, or you can create your own gift certificate for a bespoke handmade garment. Make it as elaborate as you can!
So say goodbye to stressful all-night Holiday crafting sessions and embrace a different way to give.