I have to admit, I’ve never been much of a gift knitter. It makes me feel a little guilty to say it at this time of year, when knitters everywhere are hurrying to finish knitting gifts for loved ones. But that’s just not me. Sure, I do make the occasional baby blanket for a new arrival, or a scarf for Mom, but Christmas knitting isn’t really my thing.
Maybe it’s because most people aren’t so interested in handwashing their knits, and the yarns I’m interested in using need to be handwashed. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a few too many times where I worked hard on a project only for it to go unworn. Or worse, where you promise a gift knit, and something goes horribly wrong in the knitting of it. There are just so many variables to gift knitting that make me shy away.
Knitting for charity is another one of those things that never quite caught on for me. I love to read the stories of the Red Scarf Project, or Knitted Knockers, or any of the other worthy and wonderful causes people knit for. Though I dabbled with knitting blankets for foster kids when I was in law school, charity knitting has always been one of those things that I feel a bit guilty that I don’t do more of.
I’ve called myself a “selfish knitter” for so long that I’d assumed that’s just what I was. But perhaps I’ve been looking at it all wrong.
There’s Slow Fashion October, which seeks to revolutionize the fashion industry by promoting slow fashion over fast fashion. That’s a cause I can get behind. Even though my participation thus far has been limited to my own wardrobe, I think that talking about it contributes to the greater conversation, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
There’s Wovember, which follows close on the heels of Slow Fashion October, and seeks to promote wool as a fiber that has immense benefits. And it promotes understanding of heritage sheep breeds that in many cases are on the edge of extinction – another worthy cause.
Lately, there have also been a number of worthy pop-up knitting events that have me excited.
There’s the Fibershed Knitalong, which aims to promote local fiber, something that is near and dear to my heart. My own project is slowly chugging along – like all great things, it takes just a little longer than popping down to the shop for a quick scarf, especially when you’re starting with fiber that needs spinning and finishing before you can knit with it.
There’s the Project Peace Knitalong, which is a 21-day knitalong that started on December 1. Each day there’s a tip for how we can be agents of peace, and December 21 is a worldwide “knit for peace” day. It’s a gorgeous idea, and while I haven’t exactly been knitting the cowl, I’ve savored every single post.
Last, but certainly not least, there are PUSSY HATS. The Pussy Hat project is a movement in visibility for women’s rights. On January 21, the Women’s March on Washington, D.C. will take place, and the idea is to help marchers stay warm and visible in bright pink hats. I’ve already knit three hats (the first got frogged because it was too big) to send to the march. Hot pink yarn isn’t exactly my thing, nor is the synthetic yarn I’m using, but this was just too important for me to pass up.
So, if you find yourself like me, feeling guilty that you’re not a gift or charity knitter, perhaps it’s time to look into “craftivist” knitting. It can be a form of gift knitting, or charity knitting, but it doesn't have to be. Perhaps that's what I like about it so much - finding the thing that's too important to you to pass up.
What's your stance on gift/charity/craftivist knitting?