I always see Knit alongs and suggestions for projects in January that are labeled as “selfish” knitting. Meaning, knitting that you’re doing for yourself can be seen as selfish. I’ve said it myself because that’s what it has been called, but I’ve decided I don’t like that adjective. It’s just knitting.
I realized years ago that knitting is a skill I learned and I learned it to make things for myself. I didn’t learn it so I could become a sweater factory for my friends. I didn’t learn it just so a friend’s baby could have a hand knit blanket. I learned how to knit (despite my mother telling me I didn’t need to spend money on another hobby) because I wanted to take my time to learn that skill. Just like I’ve taken cooking classes or driving lessons and I don’t get asked on demand to braise short ribs (although I’m really good at it). And whether I chose to give my knitting as a gift is generous of me, but I’m not required to knit anything for anyone. Let me say that again, whether I chose to give my knitting as a gift is generous of me, but I’m not required to knit anything for anyone.
A few years ago I decided to no longer put pressure on myself to make Christmas knits. The deadlines, the money, the pressure to make something for x amount of family members or friends took all the joy out of it. So sometimes I knit a sweater and my sister gets it in August. Or sometimes I’ve got the time and my Mom gets something for her birthday. Or sometimes when someone asks me to make them something I just say no. I’ve been told I’m mean when I say no to someone asking me to knit them something. I’m not being mean, I’m being honest. Whether it’s something I’m not interested in, don’t have the time or energy to do…whatever my reasoning is, I get to choose how to spend my time. Even if someone gets upset and then says, “but I’ll pay you,” again, I didn’t ask to do that for you, so if I say no, let’s just accept that I said no.
I know it’s the beginning of the holiday season and everyone is about giving and gifts. So give yourself the gift of not feeling guilty if you don’t want to knit gifts, or you just want to knit for yourself. That isn’t a selfish act. Knitting is a gift that we give ourselves and sometimes to others. It’s a skill not everyone has and I am so happy that I decided to learn.