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Monday, February 6, 2012

On the Art of Gift Giving Fibers

In about a week I am about to experience the most hectic week of my life over my rabid gifting habits over special events. I counted them up on my calendar. I have 2 birthdays, valentines day and a wedding, and due to this I spent a lot of time with my friends asking them lots of questions and going through an epic screening process. What do you have? what do you enjoy? When I talked to my mom about it she told me I shouldn't have to do a major interview for every gift that comes to mind, I should be able to just make it and give it to them and they'll like it no questions asked. Personally I disagree, and talking to my boyfriend I felt like it'd be good to explain something to all of my friends, especially with a lot of my friends now budding knitters and crocheters. Before I go into it, its good to read this article.

The Sweater Curse According to Knitty

To sum it up: There is a so called curse that says a sweater for a loved one (mainly a boyfriend/girlfriend ) will ultimately cause a breakup. Why?

1. Making things, especially big items costs a shitload of money. A friend of mine treated me to Tiny Owl Knit's Woodland Hoodlet and everything came from scratch. The circular needles cost him 25, the double pointed needles cost him 15, the 7 skeins of yarn were 10 bucks a piece. roughly we are talking about 110 dollars with a bit over if you include tax. The lowest possible price for needles and yarn would be a bit over 55 dollars if you decided to play cheap. When you really get into crafting to the degree I have, things will start to add. up. fast. And for those guys with people just starting do not expect them on the 3 dollar acrylic forever. Soon they'll learn about wool, and the different types, and mohair. If they do not get to the fancier yarn stores they will start to explore the wool blends and different weights and uses of yarn as they grow, and if there is anything we can all agree on no one likes an uncomfy sweater. When people make gifts they want it to look and feel its definite best.

2. Depending on the size and detail, it takes a shitload of time. I know minimal about cabling, and super decorative lace, and I like to challenge myself by making people things I would not normally make. The average hat can take 30 minutes to 6 hours, The average scarf maybe 2 to 10 hours, and the average sweater anywhere from 1 month to 6, ALL DEPENDING ON DETAIL. And these estimations are based on if you crank them out in a 10 hour workday, not including doing things in between. Me working a new stitch or design on something I never have before is me saying "I love you, and I care about you enough to push my limits where I never have." Hell, how much do you think I love you if Im willing to put 6 months of my life aside to make a sweater JUST FOR YOU? or a bag? or a blanket?

Fiber Artists, put both of those together and tell me how you would feel if your significant other accepts the sweater and will not wear it, or shows any sort of disdain for it. Other halves, put all of this into consideration as you pull out that new sweater or bag that was just made for you. If your girl hasn't beaten you within an inch of your life or you haven't been pulled out for a long talk consider yourself a lucky duck.

Although I do not believe in the sweater curse I do try to take these things into consideration. How do I get past the looming fear that there is a high chance my stuff will be shot down? I ask people what they like, and depending on what resources are available to you ample time is spent with me shoving books and 40 links in faces and getting your input. It ruins the surprise of the gift, but really if I am gonna spend the hours and the money to show you I care I am making sure it is something that even if it isn't something you use, you will look at it and smile, or hold it out to someone years later and say "this is what you call a present, I love it."

Is it a bad method? Besides the "you just know" argument how do you figure out how to make and give gifts, especially making for men? (which is NOT my forte)

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