Who wears your handknits?

You know what’s a sad sight for any knitter thumbing through the racks at Goodwill? Handknit sweaters. Poor sweaters! With their tagless necklines and lumpy seams, the hours of love and attention that went into their creation reduced to $3.49.

Some have obvious shortcomings: lime acrylic, stiff fit, gimmicky patterns. Others must have clashed with their owner’s taste: allergic to wool, hates pink, looks plump in cardigans. Were they ever worn?

The plan to keep my sweaters from living out their golden years at Goodwill is two-fold:
1. Try and knit classic shapes in practical colors.
2. Knit sweaters for no one but myself, with one exception: hypothetical future children who are too young to have a say in their wardrobe. I think of it as efficient use of my precious knitting hours. Better to make mittens, socks, or a shawl for others…something that if they don’t like, they can hide in some tall boots or take off when they get in the door.  A sweater has to be the right color and style and fit to wear around all day, which is much too much responsibility when trying to make a gift.

I suppose the second exception to rule #2 is my mom. She and I are both notorious for handing over a gift and saying, “If you don’t like it just tell me and I’ll wear it.” Which means, “I bought/made this with both of our tastes in mind.” It’s really a very handy system. This Christmas I gave her a shawl made from handspun, which she kept. She sent me this picture last month of her all styled up. I wouldn’t have thought to put the cowl with the shawl – nice, mom!

Who wears your handknits? Do you gift many of them? And only certain articles or everything from accessories to sweaters?



  1. seeherknit · March 13, 2012

    Something I found in the Stitch N’Bitch book: if you are making something for someone who doesn’t knit, make a hat. I’ve only found one handmade sweater in Goodwill. It made me really sad.

    • foxflat · March 14, 2012

      I know…it’s the freakin saddest thing. I agree with Stitch N’Bitch’s advice.

  2. Régina · January 27, 2012

    While I think that my creations are not cringe worthy I still have learned that few people, especially knitter’s/crafter’s children, appreciate or care properly for hand-made things. And not knitting big ticket items for other people leaves me more time and yarn to knit for myself!

    • foxflat · January 27, 2012

      So true Regina!

  3. Julie · January 26, 2012

    It is always so sad to see hand knits in goodwill!! but I do find that it’s mostly the acrylic, 80’s sort of sweaters that are in ghastly colours and feel like… acrylic. It reminds me how important good yarn really is, since it affects the final fabric SO much. That shawl looks great on your mom!

  4. bethany · January 26, 2012

    Words of wisdom katie!

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