For my son’s birthday party, I knitted several of these little guys as favours:
I’m not sure what happened to my head, but I forgot to take pictures of the others. Probably something to do with rushing around trying to prepare for the party, and then giving them away to the boys before I thought about photographing them!
I knitted them because my son asked me to do them as favours, and I trusted his instincts on the matter. It struck me as each boy received their small favour, how much they really liked their gift. The boys immediately thought of a use for these little guys, attaching them to their balloons, and using them as very cute parachutists. It was a very happy moment.
Reflecting on this, I remembered the time that I taught knitting at the school, and how the kids actually wanted to learn how to knit, not just because it was the thing to do at school that day. The older kids were off doing another class while I taught the younger ones, and their disappointment at having missed out was palpable.
It’s such a contrast to my childhood. As a child of the ’70′s, receiving something hand crafted was unfortunately (and shamefully) not appreciated. I remember my uncle brought back a present of a handmade cloth doll from a trip overseas, and I actually cried with disappointment, and refused to accept the gift because I thought it was so ugly. Later on, I did play with it, but I never really warmed to it somehow. Plastic Barbie ruled the day!
My relatives were not knitters, so I was never given anything hand knitted. It’s a good thing, as I am ashamed to say it probably would not have been graciously received. Like the time I was allowed to request a treat as a reward for fulfilling all my chores and received… handmade doll’s clothes. Not the factory-made ones that I asked for, and coveted. I was crushed. For years!
I don’t think my childhood values were that different to those of others of my generation. It seems that times have changed though. My son’s most treasured possessions are toys and clothes that I have knitted him. He’s always asking me to knit him something, and he jealously watches hats and other items go out the door that are knitted for others.
Attending his friends’ birthday parties, and presenting a hand knitted gift (with some trepidation), it’s still a surprise to see genuine happiness and delight when the child opens his/her present.
While I am a solid convert to the beauty and quality of the handmade, my memories of childhood reactions to the handmade means that I don’t automatically expect others to appreciate what I do.
It still amazes me that my nieces love receiving the things I knit them, and the one time I sent something to one niece without including something for her sister, there was an outraged “Where’s mine???” (and possibly tears). Needless to say, I won’t be sending single items again!
I think it’s a good and wonderful thing that today’s children are growing up appreciating the handmade, and by the same token, true quality. It’s a small indication that perhaps their values will develop the changes of today, and it fills me with hope for the future.