Thursday, April 9, 2015

Gifts With Strings

We got back from our daughter's on Tuesday afternoon. It was a great visit and I enjoyed looking after my grandson on Monday only I came home not feeling well. Either my neck is out of alignment or there's a problem with my inner ear because straight ahead and side-to-side are fine but moving my head up and down is REALLY dizzying. Apparently sewing takes a lot of up and down but...

... thankfully knitting is fairly straight ahead. My go to knitting project lately is triangle shaped scarves. They start with one stitch and add one to each end of every row until you get to the size you want ending up with a long, narrow scarf that wraps wonderfully around the neck. They're gifts. I don't need nearly as many as I'm knitting.

I would guess that you - like me - have probably received gifts with strings. Gifts that aren't really gifts because you're supposed to bubble wrap them and keep them for posterity and hand them down to your children and your children's children and their children and record these treasures in the ledgers of your family history... only they are not really treasures. I turn down those kinds of gifts. I'm just not into strings.

Being offered gifts with strings made me really think about giving gifts with strings. Did I have expectations? Were they valid? I did and they weren't and I'm changing. Now, I don't give gifts - especially handmade ones - to people who won't appreciate them and when I do, I give the gift completely without expectations around its use and permanence. Sometimes that attitude is hard to maintain and that makes sense when there are emotions involved but I try very hard to make the giving my only part and I have a chat with myself if my feelings are hurt which - thankfully - rarely happens.

The scarf above is knit from a cotton blend. I chose a natural fiber because I'm not sure the recipient even wears scarves and - while I did do some research into the color - if grey isn't her thing, she can over-dye it. The string... the one hanging down... is staying that way so she can either tuck it in or pull it out to change the edge or to turn the yarn into something else. She has choices and...

... choices are important. A gift shouldn't become a burden. I hope that everyone who gets one of my scarves feels the love and encouragement that went into the making of it because I thought about them the whole time I was knitting. I hope they wrap themselves up in the hug, fully embrace it, and then do whatever they want to do with the scarf. YES YES.

How do you feel about gifts... with strings... and gift giving?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - knitting straight ahead

The most important gifts you can give are your love, time, and attention. Slow down, take time to smile and enjoy loved ones... life goes by way too fast. 
- Carla White


  1. Beautiful scarf, and nicely written, Myrna.

    I've always tried to select gifts carefully and give them with no strings attached, but there is one gift (and I didn't even give it) that took me way too long to let go. My dad, who turned his love of woodworking into a lucrative business after retiring, designed and crafted a clever riding toy for our grandson, his first great-grandchild. Our daughter donated it to the neighborhood garage sale once her kids outgrew it. I was heartbroken, as I would have been happy to store it so it could be ridden by the next generation of little ones. Every time I ran across an old picture of a toddler on that toy, I was saddened all over again. Now our son, at age 36, is expecting his first child, and upon hearing the news, I thought how fun it would be to let his little guy play on that toy. I realized that I had fallen into the trap of nostalgia gone wrong, and now I just celebrate that my dad got so much pleasure from seeing kids riding on his gift, freely given. I've let it go - and will never attach strings again.

  2. You're so good with wise words. I too love to knit. It's my second passion after sewing. I also like knitting shawls and usually buy what I call 'gourmet yarn', only because I love how it feels sliding through my fingers. Gifting these shawls is really hard because I fall in love with each one and my dresser drawer is now bulging. However, if someone really shows interest and appreciates how special these shawls are I am happy to let go and give them away. I think I've enjoyed the gifting as much as the making. But, you're right - it's hard to let go.

  3. Well spoken sentiments, everyone. I have learned over the last several years that those who don't "make" really do not understand the feelings associated with made items. From quilts to scarves these gifts have emotional strings for me, not necessarily the recipient. As a result I rarely give a made gift. The last quilt (to a family member) went un-thanked as did a smaller gift for the DIL of a friend. No more. On the other hand I have a friend who cannot sew or knit anything. She loves everything I give her. Right now she is battling an aggressive lung cancer and is using the quilt I made just for her to keep warm during long chemo treatments and recuperation at home. That makes it all worth it, that is the reason I still gift to certain people and that is the reason God gave me the talent to do this.

    So sorry you are having this discomfort Myrna, if I may guess I would suspect some cervical vertebrae or surrounding supporting muscle strain. Heat application frequently helps the muscle strain issue. I make microwave heat bags by folding a hand towel in half, sewing up the sides, sew in a few channels, stuff those with rice and close it up. 2 minutes in a microwave gives you warm moist heat for the discomfort. TAke care.

  4. So sorry you can't sew, Myrna! Your dizzy problem might be BPPV caused by otoconia (ear rocks). The clue is if your eyes waver around when you look up a certain way. Not fun. I've had it on and off for years and it's quite common. There are positioning maneuvers that can help but you'd need to see a doctor about it.

    I so know what you mean about giving gifts to people who don't appreciate the work that went into making it or alternatively they are afraid to use it and put it away "safely". Neither will get another handmade from me!

  5. A very good read this morning. I don't give things I've made for that very reason. But it's just as hard with other gifts sometimes. I have my mind around what I'm giving and why and it doesn't always work out that way. I've had lots of problems with vertigo through the years. I also have problems when my neck goes out. Take care of yourself. And - what pattern did you use for your triangle scarf. The design around the border is beautiful.


Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.