Thursday, September 8, 2011

Helpful Hint #16: When it comes to any handmade presents, adhere to the K.I.S.S. principle

I’ve recently had a spiritual awakening about all the yarn-related items I’ve gifted over the years…less appears to be more.

For instance, I’ve noticed that there is an inverse relationship between the complexity of a baby afghan and the frequency of its use. When I first began crocheting, a dear friend became pregnant. I wasn’t very proficient yet, so the most I could churn out was a shell-stitch baby blanket with alternating sea foam green and white stripes. Heirloom quality, it was not—if anything, it was one of my worst designs. However, when I went to see my friend a few months later, I was pleased to see she was using my blanket. You could tell it was actually being used and not just hastily thrown over the baby at the last minute before I came to the door. It was crumpled up, well worn, and the baby appeared to love it!

On the other hand, any time I knit or crochet anything more complex, the item—while people ooh and aah over it at the baby shower—doesn’t seem to be used on a daily basis. If anything, people tend to use larger, simpler blankets for their babies, ones that you just know are going to graduate into the baby’s “binkie” years from now when they are toddlers.

I’ve found that this is also the case with adult-sized items. My partner adores my first afghan and still uses it, even though it’s hands-down the WORST thing I’ve ever made. It’s cobbled together with Lion Brand Homespun. The squares are sewn together very badly, and I didn’t understand back then about leaving long tails to weave in, which means the squares are coming apart and ends are popping out all over the place. But this afghan gets way more use than my other efforts—like the one that my friends were keeping in a big garbage bag, stowed away somewhere, because they were “afraid of getting it dirty.”

So, the next time I need to make someone an afghan, I’m going with either a log cabin design (knitted) or plain old half-double crochet stitches—I’m going to aim for comfort over flash. I’d rather have my stuff crumpled up and much loved, rather than stored away somewhere. (A HEFTY garbage bag? HEFTY???)

1 comment:

  1. I try to focus on washable and colors that don't stain when I make baby items. I find they get more use. The same has been true for adult afghans. If people feel comfortable using them and don't fear abusing them they get out more.