Gift Knitting: Factors to Consider

Life Looks Week Week 34 | Down Cellar StudioIf you’ve determined that someone is knitworthy (maybe after reading my recent post on the subject), you may still be wondering “What should I knit?”

I think there are 3 major factors you should consider:

  1. What does the recipient like?
  2. What do you enjoy knitting?
  3. How much time do you have available to knit this gift?

Let’s delve a little deeper into each of these.Mom enjoying her handknits

What does your recipient like?

  • Ask yourself “What does the recipient like in terms of…”
    • Colors (always wearing neutrals? enjoys pops of color? wears rainbows every day)
    • Types of knitwear (wears a knit hat from October- April? would never wear a scarf because her neck is always warm? always has cold hands and is looking for the world’s warmest mittens?)
    • Styles (soft & romantic, hipster, modern, retro, classic, comfortable/relaxed?)
    • Patterns (stripes, geometric prints, florals, solids only?)
    • Fabrics (bulky to keep them really warm? thin fabrics? super soft fabrics only?)
    • Lifestyle (does their lifestyle demand something- practical? professional? outdoorsy? stain resistant? washable?)

What do you enjoy knitting? 

Now that you’ve thought about what your recipient might enjoy and have jotted down a list of things to consider- really think about what you enjoy knitting. Or perhaps the better question is what do you really not enjoy?

  • If you hate knitting intarsia then a floral print cowl may not be the best choice even if your recipient would love it. Perhaps a lacy cowl or a shawl with a floral lace motif would suit their taste and yours?
  • If you hate 2×2 ribbing then knitting ribbed fingerless mitts that go to the elbow may not be wise.
  • If you hate knitting with black, then men’s size 11 black stockinette socks just may defeat you.

How much time do you have available to knit this gift?

Be realistic. Be practical. While you may love your mom so much you want to knit her a cabled coat, you may just not have time if her birthday or Christmas is 14 days away and you still haven’t found the perfect yarn and pattern combo.  Some things to think about:

  • How much time do you actually spend knitting each day? (not how much time do you WANT to spend knitting each day)
  • How long did it take you to complete a knit of a similar size (maybe check your Ravelry projects page to see if that last hat really took you 4 days…. or maybe it actually took 2 weeks and the time just felt like it flew by?)
  • How much time do you want to spend on this? Especially during the holiday season there may be other things that you don’t want to miss out on but once you’re half way through that 700 yard shawl project you may find yourself “forced” to stay home instead of going to the local festival of lights.
  • Do you need time to wash and block the item after it’s done? Be sure to set yourself a deadline that’s at least 2-3 days before you’ll actually gift the item (ideally a week before you gift it).
  • As I mentioned in the first post about gift knitting, if you’ve never knit for someone before, you may want to start with a small yardage, small time commitment project so that if the reaction is not all you hoped for, you’ll be a little less hurt.

So now you’ve thought about what they’d like, what you might enjoy crafting and have narrowed it down to something you could actually achieve in the time allotted. Now comes what I think is the most important question:

Do I want to make this?Baby Blanket

Even if the recipient would love it, if your answer to this question is NO, it’s probably not worth it. If you have no desire to finish it, it will feel like a chore, instead of a blissful alternative to mall-shopping. You’ll either struggle all the way through, or just stop part way. Then you’ve wasted both your time and your money and you still need to find another gift. Don’t bother. Make sure you’re really going to enjoy making the item before you set your mind to it.

I hope these tips help you plan ahead for your next gift knit!

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