Made By Hand

I have always enjoyed crafty things (really, it seems like always - I remember hook latch rugs at a young age  morphing into cross stitch and so on and so forth). The major problem with this is that one only has so much room for hand made items in their own house before it's just ridiculous. So I put a moratorium on my craftiness and allowed it only for gift making. Because who doesn't love a hand made gift?

And then, several years ago (really, it was close to 20) I was prepping for the wedding of my then best friend and she chanced to see me working away at something (which had, in fact, been intended as their wedding gift) she commented on how she couldn't understand why I enjoyed that and besides what did I do with it because didn't I know that no one likes hand made gifts? They're just a burden. So I tucked that away and instead bought the towels off her registry. My mother enjoyed the gift I had been putting together, though I'll admit to wondering then if it was simply because she'd enjoy anything from me and not because there was any value or merit in the gift.

That faded, somewhat, over the next several years and I gradually allowed myself to make gifts here and there for folks who I thought would appreciate them - usually just baby blankets, as that seems to be the only socially acceptable time to give someone something hand made. Until six years ago when my then best friend (different person, though it seems same mindset) commented on how terrible hand made baby blankets were because they were drafty and you couldn't return them and honestly, why did people think they were a good idea? So I tucked away the blanket I'd been working on and got her something off her registry instead.

And it's been only here and there, when I've verified with the putative recipient that a hand made gift would be welcome, that I've bothered from that point forward. Because really, no one likes to give a gift that's unwelcome.

But it makes me sad. I really, really enjoy the process of crocheting (or whatever other crafty outlet I've decided on) and find such joy in giving someone something that came out of my time and love (especially over the two and a half minutes it takes to go online and buy something and have it shipped to their house.) I can see the other side, we still have picture frames (not hand made, though) from our wedding that I have no idea what to do with - many have been regifted, many more were returned, and I remember wondering why someone would bother spending money on something like that and how I would have preferred a gift card or check. So I can, sort of, see the other side. But that was to do with crystal picture frames...not something that someone actually spent time creating.

Regardless, as the weather starts to turn cold, I find myself wishing for a project to work on in the evenings if we decide to watch TV. But really, I don't see the point in just making something with no recipient in mind, and we don't really need anything ourselves.

I guess I need a different hobby.


michellewillingham said...

Make some things for your son. He'll love them.

I made a baby quilt years ago, when I was learning how, and gave it to my daughter when she was small. She still sleeps with it every night and she told me one day, "Mom, this is my favorite blanket. When I hug it, I feel like I'm hugging you."

I'll bet you could make a scarf or hat for your son and he'd adore it. :)

I also have some home made crocheted dish scrubbers that my cousin made. They're wonderful for cleaning counters because the rough yarn is great against spills and so forth.

Jen said...

Your friends are nitwits for not liking handmade gifts.

For the record, I love the blanket you gave Molly and we do use it. She hasn't singled out a favorite yet, but she does like to poke her fingers and toes through the holes in the blanket you gave her.

And thank you for the time and thought you put into such a lovely gift.

beth said...

Michelle - I probably will end up making more for him, though he needs more stuff like Midas needs gold. :) Still, his favorite blankie that he totes anywhere I'll let him is one I made him, which makes me incredibly happy.

Jen - I totally didn't think twice about Molly's blanket because as a crafty person yourself, I figured you'd be good with it. :) I'm glad she enjoys it! (And honestly, poking my fingers through the holes is half the fun of a crocheted blanket in my mind.)

Gwynne said...

There are definitely two kinds of people in the world....those who get it and those who don't like hand made things. My step mother found a nice home for the quilted thing I made for her, in the hall closet with the boots and umbrellas. :-(

Lynellen said...

you need to try crocheted socks again. for son and you.