Thursday, 13 December 2012

(Im)Perfect Gifts

Giving the perfect gift is an impossible goal. When it does occur it is happenstance: you cannot enter a mall, brandishing your credit card, saying, "The perfect gift is within, and I will find it!" Instead, you know something about a person and find a way to honour that.

This is a blankie for George.
George is my best friend's dad. He saw me crocheting once, and said he used to have a bunch of crocheted blankets that someone (his mother?) made, but they were all destroyed in a small house fire (everything was fine, except the kitchen and the blankets). I made him one last year, in the safest of colours and patterns - the reddish colour of last year's blankie was the colour their walls were painted.

He loved it. I don't think I've ever given such a successful gift. It's still on their couch a year later, still being used almost every day.

"This will never get burned," said George, seeing last year's blankie.
"Better the blanket than the house," I said, realistically.
"I'd sooner burn the house down and save the blanket."

A reaction like that gets another.

I love the colours, which look remind me old-fashioned treats: mock cream and chealsea buns. It's two strands of DK acrylic, held double, to make it go faster, and because they have a dog. Who would give merino to someone to a puppy? (More to the point: who would pay for the cost of the yarn?)
The ten-hook is the trick. Each stitch brings you a centimeter closer to finishing.

I didn't think George would like it quite as well as last year's blankie, which was a surprise, and just the right colour, but he loved it - or claimed to.

I'm less sure about the gift for my sister's fetus.

Well - that's the six-month size. I don't know what a fetus would do with a cardigan. The fetus will be my first niece and is so very wanted - I am so excited to meet her in a few months. But I am not sure my sister or her wife are yarn worthy. They got a shawl and a scarf, respectively last year, and beyond a "thank you," I never heard of the gifts again. That's fine by me - how every well-intended or expensive some gifts aren't wanted, or don't work - I just mentally crossed them off my 'yarn' list.

But the child is innocent - so far - and what kind of knitting aunt would I be if I didn't knit for baby?

So I chose a yarn which was rather too expensive, and darling buttons:

And it cost almost as much as I'd spend on yarn for a jumper for myself. But knitting for baby felt like I was doing something for it. It wasn't really a gift to my sister or her wife, who I am sure are inundated with baby clothes already, and if they weren't have the means to buy them themselves. It wasn't even really a gift for baby, who will be warm and dry and loved from the moment she is born, and will have clothes aplenty her whole life.

It was more of a gift for me, affirming (demanding) a connection with a creature that's far away in every sense. Happy Being-An-Aunt to me. In that sense, it was very successful. "Next year, I'll send a hat," I said.


  1. wow you are so talented! that blanket is amazing! do you still have the pattern? not that i have any idea how to crochet... haha

    1. Aww, thanks, Laura! The blanket was pretty easy to make - really! This is the pattern I used >>>

      If you're thinking about learning to crochet, it's pretty easy to teach yourself - YouTube is a great resource!