Thursday, September 12, 2013

Knits that Give

A friend of mine was having a bit of a hard time a few months ago. When a friend or loved one is upset, you do what you can to comfort them. Sometimes it's as easy as saying the right things and helping them talk things through. Sometimes it's taking them out to take their mind off things. Other times it's harder. There's nothing to say or do. All that's left is to stand by them and let them know you're still there for them.

With my friend though, it was particularly hard to make sure she knew I was still there for her. There's a whole ocean between us. Family health concerns, college worries, issues with friends, and enough small problems to take a noticeable toll. It's times like that, when you feel helpless. You do what you can, but the distance makes it difficult. All I wanted to do was jump up and give her a hug, but the distance made it impossible. I did the next best thing I could think of. I knit her a big shawl.

I wanted something feminine and lacy. I dug through my stash and found two skeins of Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in a soft pink color. The sparkles in the yarn were interesting. I'd find them in random places while I was knitting up the shawl. They gave the finished piece a lovely twinkling sparkle though, so I needn't have worried. It really is a pretty yarn. The pictures don't do it justice. It's pretty and soft and sparkly. Truly a lovely yarn.

Then the hunt for a pattern began. I found one I thought I'd like, but it frustrated me for some reason. There wasn't anything wrong with it, I just wasn't enjoying it for some reason. So I looked again, and came across the Trinity Shawlette by Anniken Allis. The pattern is for a pretty top down shawl. The wonderful thing about it, is that while it's technically free, it's part of an project called P/hop. Pennies per hours of pleasure. The simple explanation, is you knit the patten, and then you donate an amount (decided by you) to the country/currency's appropriately corresponding Doctors Without Borders Charity. I love the idea, and I thought it appropriate considering the original idea by hind my knitting a shawl was to give it to a dear friend. Donating to a charity in the progress, just added to the emotion behind the stitches.

The pattern was fun to knit. It was simple and easily memorized. The shawl came together pretty quickly once I had time to devote to it. Pretty soon I was washing and blocking it. It was much bigger then I thought it was going to be. Especially since I didn't do the suggested edging. I was afraid I wouldn't have enough yarn, so I just bound off after the seventh pattern repeat. Turns out I was right - I wouldn't have had enough yarn. It still turned out beautifully, and is big enough to snuggle into without being too big or heavy to wear while being out and about doing things.

I wrapped it up and mailed it to her with care instructions and my usual gift tag a few weeks ago. A knitter friend of mine once told me it was so much more satisfying to knit for other people. I thought it a silly notion at the time, after all, he'd only been knitting for a few months. Before the last year I knit mostly for myself, only making the occasional thing for someone if they asked, and even then only if I thought they'd appreciate it. Turns out, with the right person in mind, and the right pattern, he was a smart cookie. This shawl was a joy to make and so satisfying to send off to it's new owner. I should have made it for her sooner.

How do you feel about knitting for other people? For it or against it? Do you prefer to have a reason to knit for them or to do it just because you can? Do you have a go to pattern for gift giving? 

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