Monday, November 17, 2008

When They Want More Than You're Prepared To Give

So, everyone who saw it loved Shannon's capelet. Which is great. I want people to like what I knit for them. It's an investment of time and thought and I have to feel a connection to who's receiving the item. Or I need to be able to at least (sort of) picture the person. I got a Thankyou card from Aisling for the sweater I knit for her baby. He's a happy little guy by the enclosed photos. I didn't know if she was having a boy or girl, but I know the rough size of a baby and they like soft things and the Mom is a knitter so will know how to care for the item... I basically need a profile in order to work from. Therein lies the problem. I need that profile to work from. Once again I'm being told that I need to have a table at Mosaic showing off my work and take orders. I'm "wasting" my talents and I should be paid for my work. But that goes against everything I do. I don't know who these other people could be. What's their favorite color? Do they like rustic or softened looks? Traditional or funky or a combo? Where are they from? (Ethnicly? Interest-wise?) What's their favorite time of year? What's their favorite fairy-tale? ... So many questions to make that one-of-a-kind perfect thing. I'll use Heather's present as an example: Her favorite color is black, followed by silver and purple. She loves the feeling of Bernat "Satin" yarn. When I came across 4 balls of Bernat Satin" in plum heather, I knew I had found THE yarn for her gift. But what to actually knit from it? Worked on other things, when I came across a pattern for "Godmother's Edging". Godmother as in Cinderella?: Heather's favorite fairy-tale! Perfect! A capelet pattern was being born. Began knitting the edging and looking through books, magazines, patterns to find a lace pattern to tie it together. Success again when I found a little girl's vest pattern called "Snow Princess", a little panel of lace between faggoting done in a sparkly white. Using the panel between Seed St, I renamed it "Princess Lace" and Heather's perfect capelet was born. She'll receive it tomorrow. How could I do that for a stranger? How can I explain that to Nat (she's so great with ideas and she's a graphic designer so although creative, she's not creative in that personal way that I go about things.) or Bernie. I don't just knit from a pattern for their gifts. Or if I do use a pattern, I tweak it to suit and be perfect. David's hat ,for example, is from Melissa Leapman's book "Exploring Cables", but I changed it from 100% wool to a more practical wool/acrylic blend, and though the baby pink was nice on the female model, I figured David would actually wear a hat in a nice cocoa brown. Voila, he's been wearing his hat and is quite enthusiastic about it. Success! Nat's hat was similar, although really only the colors were changed. The traditional Swedish colors of navy background and white design were done away with and a lovely soft orange design on a creamy background fairly screamed "I'm Nat's Hat!!!!". Oh I did substitute yarns again: 100% acrylic for the wool blend suggested. The idea is to give the individual their gift. Not just something in the store that a million other people may have got this month. Their gift that says "I thought of you while I did this.", "You're special to me.", "You matter." But how do you explain that to someone who sees a "neat way" to make money from it? How can the personal nature be conveyed to someone who doesn't already see it for what it is? I have to say, it actually hurts that what I'm about isn't understood. I always figured it was simple. I guess I was wrong. I just have to keep going. Somehow make things so personally theirs that there is no mistaking it. Or maybe not. Maybe I'm being over-sensitive to it. Maybe I'm the one not seeing the potential for success. Maybe...

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