On Friday I mentioned that I consider my niece Olivia to be knit worthy. (I say knit worthy but if you don’t knit, replace it with whatever craft you do! The same principles apply.) The phrase can be found around the crafty interwebs, for example the Selfish Knitters and Crocheters group on Ravelry uses the phrase quite a bit. But what does it mean? What does being craft worthy mean for us the crafters and for the recipient? I asked this question on Twitter and I got a bunch of responses from people. I wrote them down and here’s what the general consensus looks like:
- A knit worthy person shows appreciation both for the knitter’s previous projects and their gift. Amber from Last Yesterday said that she loves to knit for her mother because her mother oohs and ahs over all of her projects. It does feel great to match up the right project with the right person but it’s a step that should be given careful thought. Sure, Great Aunt Matilda could use a shawl to keep the chill off her spine but if she’s said that your work is crap does she really need one made by you out of cobweb mohair? Does she really need a handmade gift from you at all?
- The recipient should have an appreciation for the time that went into their gift. Again, the person who disses your work as being “something you just made last-minute” most likely isn’t the best person to give a handmade to. Trading crafting skills with other crafters was also mentioned; they will most likely know how long and hard you worked at your craft and appreciate it accordingly.
- Does he or she want or need the item I want to make? Several twitter people responded that they make gifts that their recipients asked for. Giving a beautiful child’s sweater to someone who has no kids isn’t a good idea. Also, carefully think about the materials you’ll be using. If your friend isn’t the type who will hand wash his hiking socks, perhaps you need to think about working with a different yarn.
- Friend of the blog, Ewenique, said that she only crafts for people who are hug worthy. I think that’s a great way to determine who to make for if you’re not a serial hugger. Other people say they only knit for very close friends and immediate family. I don’t do free crafting for strangers and I don’t like to charge my family and close friends–that’s the balance I’ve struck between commissions and gifting. Figure out what your balance is and stick with it.
The ways to get kicked off the knitting list seem pretty crystal clear: no word of thanks, not using the item and not properly caring for it. Not only is not saying “thank you” in poor form, telling the crafter how awful the item looks is just uncalled for. It’s okay to set up boundaries, especially when it comes to something as personal as our craft. Not everyone we know really understands and appreciates our craft–and that’s okay! It’s also okay to not make for them. There are plenty of thoughtful gifts that are commercially available to give to them.
Another frustration people have expressed is not getting a fair offer from others. Non-crafters sometimes underestimate the time and money that goes into our products. If you feel like what you are offered is too low AND you are willing to take the job on, carefully explain why you need a better offer. Underpricing is something that I see all the time happening on Etsy stores. It’s not rude or egotistical to ask for a fair price! It’s doing right by you. If the person rejects your counter offer, don’t take it personally. It isn’t fair to your skills to agree to knit a lopi sweater in expensive yarn for only $10 if you really want to charge more. Yes, we craft and make because we need to, because we have that drive and desire. BUT! It doesn’t (always) mean we will do it for free, particularly if we’re trying to make a business out of our craft.
Good people of the world! Value your craft! Ask for a fair price or exchange of services! It’s okay to demand a sincere thank you from those we have blessed with our handmade gifts. And for those who undervalue our creativity, step off! For those about to craft, we salute you!