As a sixteen-year-old, my best friend’s mother sent me a hat and scarf I wouldn’t be caught dead in. Mind you, this was WAY before the knitted craze hit this again, so I was completely horrified. Curse you knitters! Can’t you find a new hobby like working retail for the discount?
My grandma used to create a huge basket full of gloves and hats all throughout the year and thrust them at anyone who walked in the door when she so much as smelled fall in the air. When I was really little it was great ransacking the box for a cool looking solid red pair. Or, look… shaded denim!
But as I got older I realized no one else had them anymore and they weren’t all that functional. Kids like to touch every crystal of snow in a five hundred foot radius; so knitted mittens were perfect – if you want frostbite. And you cannot argue there’s basically no small motor capabilities in thick grandma mittens. But who needs to use their fingers, right?
Once I turned that rabid age where I didn’t want those mittens, when the basket came out I’d try to hide. But my grandma had this in-your-face way of loving her grandchildren and she would seek us out in any corner of the house and demand we pick a few pairs, dropping the basket on our toes with a whack and smacking us on the back so we took a headlong dive into it. Once in a while, she would disappear to tend to something and I would tell her I’d put a few pairs in the car so they wouldn’t get lost.
I tried to whisper to my mother that I didn’t want any. I looked to her for support and shelter, but she would tell me just to take them to make grandma happy. This is like telling a kid to place a steaming pile of pig intestines next to their macaroni-n-cheese. Even if they didn’t have to eat them, they couldn’t enjoy their meal. I thought, “Eeewww! What if someone really cool came over and looked at the bottom of the closet and found these mittens and knew they were mine?!”
My brother had no problem snorting and rolling his eyes at the mittens, but not me. I had to choose between disappointing my mother and grandmother and sacrificing my sense of self. Either way, I was screwed.
FYI: There’s a bunch of knitting humor merchandise on Amazon.com. Did you know if you purchase from Amazon through my links, you help pay for my kids’ freckles? Thank you! They’re super cute.
Years later when cleaning out the closet I found 15 pairs of discarded mittens and tossed them in the trash only later to retrieve them out of guilt. Somehow I knew this woman would know or God would tell her upon her death that I wasn’t worthy of her love.
So I donated them to her church sale. That was acceptable to her because in her eyes you could sell your soul to the church sale to make money for them. I never understood how that huge bin of discarded mittens from all the congregation’s grandchildren would actually be depleted during the sale. I mean WHO was actually in need of more knitted mittens?
I have a feeling the minister tossed a few pairs each night to keep the peace. She was very clearly not a knitter but was quite diplomatic.
After this childhood trauma, I swore I would never force my crafts upon others. I had a hard time convincing myself that boondoggle at camp wasn’t a gateway craft. Creating potholders with bands of fabric was probably a pagan ritual and so knitting gifts would surely send me to hell.
Yet sometime after my third son, I tried to knit a blanket for his toddler bed. I lovingly chose the perfect yarn for my little boy and had dreams of becoming a crafter of fine fashion and functional gifts. Needless to say, I “crafted” a strip that was about four foot long and five inches wide before I could no longer identify what it was supposed to be.
I’d failed womanhood (not for the first time) so I donated the yarn to a crochet group and the blanket to science. This is the only place you can give away old “needles” and not worry about diseases, but you are probably feeding an addiction or beginning someone else on the destructive path of crafting. Better her than me I say.
Instead, I went for an obsession with a legal stimulant: sugar-filled flavored coffees because I consume the evidence of my addiction instead of thrusting it on someone else and coffee probably does make me a better person.
Her: Can you knit anything?
Me: Not a thing. Unless you want something that looks like a cozy science experiment.
There’s a bunch of knitting humor merchandise on Amazon.com. Go. Buy. Be at peace with your awesome hobby.