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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Selfish Knitting

On our way to the beach yesterday, Elizabeth and I got to talking about selfish knitting. I’d been feeling it for awhile, but this was the first time I’d actually put the right words around it: when it comes to making things for other people, I am tapped out.

For years now I’ve prided myself on my handmade gifts–and before I got into knitting and sewing, I did quite a bit of stained glass. (I’ve since given up that hobby since it’s relatively messy and potentially dangerous, at least for an absent-minded crafter like myself.) The gifts I made were often very time consuming, but it felt worth it once I figured out who my more appreciative friends were. I love my friends and I love their babies, and I’m sure someday I will feel excited about knitting for them again; but it doesn’t make any sense to make something because I feel like I ought to, and that’s just where I’m at right now.

Ultimately this has to do with my being kinder to myself. I can’t knit and sew my own wardrobe (an ambition I see as both a creative and political act) if I’m making things for other people. I want to be more like Momo on Ravelry, who has knit herself literally hundreds of gorgeous sweaters. (I’ll be good with a dozen, but you get my point.) I will no longer feel guilty for using my skills for my own benefit; and, frankly, if someone I know wants something handmade, I am happy to show them how to make it themselves.

So this embroidery is the last thing I’ll be making as a gift for a good long while:


It’s almost done (and long overdue–it was supposed to be ready for Christmas!)

In between finishing that up, I’m knitting myself a Pomegranate. (I’m wearing the sample in the Squam pic below.)


And while we’re on the subject of selfish knitting, I want to send a shout-out to my dear friend Anne, a longtime knitter who recently finished her very first sweater for HERSELF. May it be the first of many!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.