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Who Do You Knit For?

Who do you knit for? Who do you knit for? Who do you knit for?

Photo: Jennifer Blythe [1]

There are several ways to read this question and several ways to answer. When people ask ‘who do you knit for?’, the response is often to the question ‘who do you gift your knitted items to?’. I’m inspired by how others give of themselves through knitting. I know of beautifully hand-crafted baby blankets, caps, prayer shawls, knitted art in outdoor spaces and many other stunning knitted projects. Their recipients benefit greatly from the talent of these passionate artists.

I, however, don’t give my finished knitted items to others often. I get so much enjoyment out of my knitted items that it’s hard to find someone who will enjoy it as much as I do. It feels wasteful to put my knitting on a shelf, unloved. I value my time enough to make the most of it. So, the way to value my knitting it to put it to use where it will be most enjoyed – on me. True, most people who are close to me have something that I’ve knit for them. I am just more likely to share the skill of knitting with others than knitted items.

Photo: Annelie Ohlsson [2]

I love to share my time and talents in ways that build others up. I don’t struggle to find ways to appreciate, love and support those I know personally and contribute to my community. I take every opportunity to support new moms, especially those at risk of or struggling with their mental health and/or addiction issues through, as those challenges are so close to my heart. This is where I get to see that my experiences can benefit others and I’m glad to make good use of the most difficult times of my life. Sharing the skill of knitting is a way that I love to build others up. Volunteer work is incredibly fulfilling to me.

It seems less common now, but in generations past, I saw people feeling obligated to knit for an unappreciative recipient. ‘All my grandchildren get a sweater for me whether they like it or not’ sentiment. With this, people are being given gifts that are not of value to them and are then expected to wear or appreciate a physical object that doesn’t suit their tastes or interests. Let’s just not do this, folks! It’s wasteful and exhausting for everyone.

Thinking of ‘who you knit for’ as the person who will receive the finished product implies that the value of knitting lies only in the physical outcome. This undervalues the process and prioritizes only the tangible result. The sense of accomplishment; building community and connection; improved self-esteem and self-awareness; wonder of creativity; and use of problem-solving skills that are most often experiences by knitters are very real outcomes that hold unmeasurable value. We just can’t hold these gifts in our hands. We also can’t give them away in our finished knitted products. If our recipient can’t share in and receive these gifts, they simply can’t… and there is no amount of knitting that can change that.

Photo: Amanda Hunter [3]

This is where I get most excited about sharing in others’ knitting adventure, no matter the experience level. We all learn from and grow together when we’re sharing. I hope most other knitters have experienced the feeling of watching someone with an interest in knitting and no experience to pick up two sticks and some yarn and discover a way to turn a bunch of little loops into fabric. This is somehow most magical for the new knitting enthusiast. An experience not to be missed. Because of this I give away far more knitting needles and yarn than knitted items.

So, who do I knit for? I always knit for myself, even when I’m giving the knitted item to someone. I knit because I enjoy it. I knit because it quiets my mind. I knit because it captures my focus. I knit because I am inspired by others’ creativity. I knit to express myself. I knit as a gift to my soul that I can only get get through knitting.

So, my passionate friends, I ask: Who do you knit for?




[1] Jennifer shared this photo in response to a post on Facebook @soulfulknitting asking about what others have knit for themselves. Her hat is “Dreaming of Wild Gardens” by Mona Zillah (with a few of her own modifications). The cowl is “Norwegian Dreams Cowl” by Selena Miskin. And the gloves are “Bella's Mittens” by Marielle Henault. Follow her on Instagram @riverbeautyknits.

[2] Annelie shared this photo in response to a post on @soulfulknitting asking about what others have knit for themselves. This is her own design “Into the Wild”. Yarn is Yak silk hand dyed by @inspiredfiberworx. Follow Annelie on Instagram @anneliesknitdesign.

[3] Taken at the Soulful Knitting Fall 2021 Retreat in Bayfield, ON, CAN.

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