The value of a gift

About a month ago, when one of my knitting buddies brought up the early deadline for the Red Scarf Project, I immediately started thinking about my stash and what yarns and patterns I could use for this year’s donation. I knitted a scarf last year, as did a few others in our group, and I really wanted to do one this year. Sure, my knitting time is limited through the school year, but I felt that it was such a good cause.I started knitting, but it wasn’t long before I started hearing stories about how the Red Scarf Project needed fewer scarves this year. I was fine with that. I only had time to knit one anyway. Then, about a week ago, I read a blog entry that left me feeling really cold about the Red Scarf Project. And yes… It left me more than a little grumpy.

I doubt that the writer intended to make anyone feel like this, but it has left me feeling like the scarf that I’m making would not be good enough for them. They want quality over quantity (like the scarves that people sent them last year were trashy?). Would my scarf be acceptable this year?

My scarf this year is made from yarn from my stash with YarnHarlot’s free One Row Handspun Scarf pattern. The yarn came from my stash: two skeins of Steinbach Wolle Eroica (45% superwash wool; 55%) nylon and 1/2 skein of KnitPicks Gossamer, held together throughout. The result is tweedy, soft, and interesting. I got the Eroica at a sale. After a big mistake on the part of the LYS who sold it to me, I paid a couple bucks for the Eroica. The Gossamer was left-over from another project. The total cost of the project is less than five bucks. The knit time was broken up over a few weeks in the small bits of time that I had in between other activities, so I don’t know exactly how long it took to finish.

Is that good enough? I suppose that it really depends on the person who is accepting the gift.

My child (who will be college-bound in about 5 years) would think it was because she doesn’t knit and because she knows that love and precious time went into it. She would know that some people never get any handmade items at all and that she’s very lucky indeed to get such a thing. She would be thankful that someone knitted something soft and warm for her, and she would be glad.

A person who is less grateful might look at it and think, “Well, it’s not actually RED red, it’s not the most luxurious yarn in the world (not even close), and I can get a nicer scarf from someone else.” To some people, it might be considered crap.

Maybe I’m the exception, but I don’t know a whole bunch of knitters who happily produce low quality garments and foist them off on unsuspecting victims. In my experience, knitters are a proud lot. They work hard on their craft and would be ashamed to give away something that they, themselves, wouldn’t wear. The people I’ve known who aren’t great knitters (and I can only think of one that I knew years ago) know that they need to work on their craft and don’t give their work to someone who doesn’t understand where they are on the knitting learning curve. The rest are people who are hyper-critical of their own work. They have high standards and would never even dream of giving away something that had a hideously ugly mistake. Most of the knitters I know are very picky about the materials that they use and wouldn’t even knit with a yarn that they weren’t sure would soften up and be a joy to wear.

One Row Handspun ScarfAt the time I read that article, I decided to take the time while I finished the scarf and decide what I wanted to do with it. As one of my friends said, “Your scarf is nice and your yarn is not junk. And if you’d like to give it to them, your scarf is gift worthy. You just have to decide if they’re worthy to receive it.” So I wanted to take the time to decide. Maybe by the time I finished, I wouldn’t be so grumpy.

I finished the scarf today, and I’m still grumpy. I know that those who run the Red Scarf Project didn’t write the blog entry, but I don’t know if they share the opinion. So at this point, I’ll hold on to the scarf and wait. I’m sure that I will eventually find a group or person who will undoubtedly appreciate it.

5 thoughts on “The value of a gift

  1. Angeluna

    G, your scarf is lovely. It would work well on a guy. Someone would be honored to receive it. I think you should send it in. I don’t think the person that wrote that blog entry meant it to sound the way it did. She meant well. They received gorgeous scarves last year. I’m sure there are some knitters who ferret out their hideous leftover acrylic to do their charity knitting and that was probably the point she was trying to make. I do think that when we knit for charity, we should knit something we would want to receive. Your scarf certainly qualifies.

  2. brooke

    I think your scarf looks wonderful, and you certainly have the power to decide to whom it is gifted. I think your post is very well-written and thought out. It’s unfortunate that other’s words can make us feel like our hand knit goodies aren’t good enough.. but I think anyone would be very happy to receive your scarf. Maybe there’s a charity more local to you that would appreciate it? I wish you the best.

  3. Terri Lynn

    I agree with Brooke. Remember. all it take is one bad apple to spoil the bunch. Myself, my cup is half full, mostly full and running over. If you are busy loving one another and telling others about it, who’s got time to complain or get in trouble!!!!1 We found each other on Raverly!!!!!

  4. shirin schumacher

    I have Knit for Dr. Laura’s “My Stuff Bags”
    She would love your scarf. The children who recieve the bags are the little ones just going into the foster care system. She also sent bags to children in the hurricane. maybe you should look up their site and see if that is where your scarf should go.

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