I recently made a trip to the city, to the Michael's store to purchase yarn. There was a big 60% off clearance sale, and I wanted to stock up for the winter.
I have always been one to make gifts. I think handmade items have fallen out of favor, as so many things, like hats and mitts, can be purchased cheap at dollar and department stores. But old habits are hard to break, and this is one habit I’ve had for more than thirty years.
Some people like it, as I was reminded at a recent gathering when told something I’d made that person was still in use. It seemed so long ago, I d forgotten.
When the grandkids were small I made them an abundance of sweaters, blankets, clothes and quilts. I haven’t sewn for years now, but my crochet hook is still in active use. With both my kids settled, married, and with children, I started making each family member a gift for Christmas. Two years ago it was a hat, different for each, last year it was slippers. More recently, my Christmas effort ran to hats and mitts, thirteen sets.
I was talking about this, and my big purchase of yarn, bragging that I had already started on 2016’s Christmas item.
“Why do you bother?” I was asked. Even now, a day later, I shake my head at the question.
The first answer is the easiest. I love my family and I like to think they feel that love every year when I make them something useful, just for them. I’m not so naive as to think 13 out of 13 people are going to love what I made them, but they will know the item was made with love.
The second reason I do it is because it gives me a project, a purpose, as I find being idle without something to do uncomfortable. I spend time searching for patterns, selecting the right yarn, starting projects, sometimes followed by some ripping out and starting over. It all keeps my mind focused and my hands busy. Keeps me sane, in other words.
This year I did make a bit of a speech, and informed everyone if they didn’t like their hat and mitts, not to worry. I had a bag of some of the extras I’d made and told everyone if they weren’t going to wear the item given to them, add it to the bag and I would donate all to charity. No harm, no foul, no hurt feelings.
Even though I only got one hat back, and that was to fix, not give away, I know some items will still end up in the back of the closet. For the most part, they understand, and feel the love.
Next year I’m going for socks. What’s that saying about cold feet and warm hearts (I know, it’s cold hands but...)?
Next winter, we’ll have it all.