To Knit or Not
THE WORTHY GET THE SPOILS.
BY STEPHANIE PEARL-McPHEE
My friends, I’ve figured out a way to bring your
holiday knitting under control and to cut your
gift list down to size. I know you thought that a
great way to show people how much you love them
would be to knit them all presents. But hear me
now: it is the reckless use of the word “all” that’s
the root of your problem.
You may have forgotten that there are two kinds
of people in the world: the knit-worthy and the
We can all spot the knit-worthy. Their eyes light
up when they see wool, and they delightedly wear
slightly crooked sweaters, oversized hats, or mittens with thumbs that are two different sizes. They
show people that they got a knit gift, and they wear
it to holiday dinners. They put on hand-knit socks
immediately and call them their “best socks,” or
even their “real socks,” understanding immediately
and instinctively that they’ve been wearing store-bought impostors until this moment.
These people understand the gift of knitting, and
that hours of affection are hidden inside something
like a hat. These are the people who should go back
on your list for next year.
The knit-immune are easy to spot, too. They
open a hand-knit present, stare at it for a second
as if you’ve just given them a certificate for a dental
cleaning (thoughtful, but not fun), then thank you
ever so politely. Meanwhile, you can’t quite figure
out why they aren’t throwing themselves on the
floor, prostrating themselves with glee that they’ve
gotten a plain brown hat.
If you’re like me, you didn’t give up on these people
the first year. You figured it’s not that they don’t like
hand knits (because that’s just not possible). You
figured you just knit them the wrong thing, and that
next year, in order to avoid this moment, you should
knit mittens or a scarf instead of a hat.
But the flaw isn’t in the object. The knit-immune
truly think that a knitted hat is just that, a hat, and
for them it holds no magic. No sense of the hours
you spent on it, no sense of the esteem you must
hold them in to have spent those hours on them.
Some people really don’t understand what knitting
actually is, and those people are not knit-worthy.
You should — brace yourself — take them off
This is ironic to the point of pain for most knitters,
because the knit-immune are exactly who we want
especially to knit things for. Knitters feel sadness for
those folk, and in our hearts we’re all on a conversion
mission: we don’t want everyone to knit, but we do
want them all to respect it.
So you keep moving the knit-immune to the top
of your list, burying them in fiber of all sorts, and
trying to impart the joy of knitting, when taking
them off the list could save you time and help prevent another one of those holiday knit-a-thons that
your family has come to call the “episodes.”
You may have forgotten that
there are two kinds of people in
the world: the knit-worthy and
the hopelessly knit-immune.
I’ve discovered the best people to put on your
list, the people worth knitting for to the point of
desperation, the people who truly respect, admire,
and are made to feel deeply cherished by receiving
a piece of knitting: other knitters. Knit for them,
knit for the worthy, and pare back the list. Your very
sanity may depend on it.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is a knitter and writer living in
Toronto with her long-suffering husband and daughters. She’s
written six books, the latest of which is Free-range knitter:
The yarn harlot writes again. She blogs at
PERFECT GREEN GIFTS
MADE WITH LOVE
We’ve created this handy
icon and sprinkled it throughout
the issue to mark lots of projects that make
great gifts. Now it’s easy to give the gift
of green. So start crafting!