can we talk?

I learned how to knit as a girl.  Both of my grandmothers were knitters.  One knit beautiful sweaters for us.  The other knit little sweaters for our dolls.  It was my Scottish  grandmother who helped me knit a Christmas stocking and put knitting into my memory bank.  When the girls were little, I knit a few sweaters.  Then I found quilting and I gave away my small stash of yarn and needles because I didn’t see myself as a knitter.  

About 8 years ago, I was at a prayer retreat.  There was a woman knitting a prayer shawl.  She told me about the group at her church and the shawls they knit.  I was at the retreat with a friend who was a knitter.  On the drive home, we came up with a plan to start a prayer shawl ministry at our church.  I was not deterred by the fact that I had given up knitting.  And it did not take long to accumulate more needles and yarns.  My first shawl was for a woman who was walking through breast cancer with her mom.  I made a simple, basket weave shawl.  That first year we knit about 10 shawls and a bunch of hats and scarves for a women’s day shelter.  

I have loved knitting hats and shawls to give away.  I almost always have a donation hat on the needles.  But the last few years, I keep seeing reference to “selfish knitting.”  I really do not understand this.  I love knitting donation items.  I try to use good yarn and do my best knitting, no matter the recipient.  But I also knit just for me.  And I don’t think that is selfish.  I enjoy knitting.  I can’t tell you how many times I have knit something and then unknit that thing because it didn’t make my heart sing.  I just unknit a shawl last night that would not block out properly.  I immediately cast on a hat because I love this yarn.  I plan to wear this hat.  Is that selfish?  Can you help me understand this idea of “selfish knitting”?

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7 thoughts on “can we talk?

  1. I have a feeling that it’s like being a “yarn snob.” I give most of my stuff away, but I do knit things for myself as well. And I knit with yarn appropriate to the item/recipient. I just made a hat for my great-nephew for Christmas, and though it may be shocking to yarn snobs, I a) used Encore yarn, and b) didn’t mind, and c) the hat is perfect.

    Knitting things for yourself is not selfish unless you decide it is, as far as I’m concerned.

  2. I’ve heard the term, but the meaning escapes me. The person(s) who use the term must feel guilty knitting things for themselves or have been made to feel that way by others. Knitting is personal: knitting is more than the finished product. Knitting is like meditation – the rhythm of the needles and the yarn as it passes through the fingers create a unique focus and awareness. No matter who receives the finished item, I find knitting calming and satisfying, not selfish.

  3. I think it’s a term folks use just to describe knitting for themselves…not that it is really selfish. I agree with Nancy – knitting to me is a form of meditation.

  4. I’ve also heard (and probably used) the term, but I just take it to mean knitting that I intend for myself rather than someone else. Not necessarily egocentric or lacking consideration for others, especially because I’ve knit several things for myself and ended up giving them away. I can’t imagine any knitter being truly selfish!

  5. Knitting is never selfish – ever. And, especially knitting for yourself is not selfish! It is self care in the highest and best form. Somehow, we women think that doing anything for ourselves is selfish – and it is not! So, I say knit for yourself and knit boldly!

  6. I think the women who commented before me have answered your question better than I could. but I do want to add that I don’t know how practicing a craft that keeps our minds and our hands nimble could ever be seen as selfish. Knit on, and knit what brings you joy!

  7. a great post. No, I don’t understand it either. I’m a new knitter as you know, but most of the items I’ve knit have either been gifts or given to those in need — total strangers. I love knitting for those who could use the warmth, the comfort and the knowing some stranger made this just for them. I’ll continue to do this kind of knitting. Though I’ll also continue to knit for myself and my family. Before heading out this weekend to visit my son and grand daughters I frogged a shawl I made for myself, rewound the yarn, and began a pair of socks for myself. It feels good and I’m happy to do so. But next will be a couple hats to give away to some needy seniors in our area. Again, a lovely post.

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