Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

The generation of tomorrow


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.


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

14 thoughts on “The generation of tomorrow

  1. I’m glad to hear how well the little monster chunks were received! I can just imagine them floating around your house with balloons 🙂 Thank you for sharing your hope for today’s children as well as your stories of proof of that. I hope that my children appreciate handmade gifts as much as yours do when they finally come around!

  2. When I was younger, factory-made was the more difficult to get thing, therefore it had more cache. Now, factory-made is cheap and everywhere, but handmade is in specialty stores and apt to be expensive if purchased. Plus, it is unique (not everyone has something like it). So I can see why it would hold more interest. 🙂 Especially the beautiful things you make!

  3. I read your post earlier this morning, and just now my oldest daughter discovered the little coin purse I made last night for her little sister. She received her own (bought) coin purse for Christmas, but now wants another one, because hers ‘isn’t home-made’ 🙂 She loves her hand-knits, the skirts I sew, the hats I ‘improve’ with wild embroidery and the little broches I make with needle-felting. She has already planned her outfit for first day back at school, it includes several mum-made items – I feel so lucky, being asked to make stuff, and then honoured by her wearing it. Next step is to have her make her own stuff!

  4. As a child of the 60’s, I only had the Barbie & Sindy clothes that the dolls arrived in, everything else was hand knit/crocheted by Me! I had no patterns and very little yarn and as the eldest of 4 children, there was no spare cash around to indulge my passion. Undeterred, I approached all my friends Mums requesting old jumpers & cardigans and patiently ripped them out and knit from the ‘curly’ yarn. (A lot of which was NYLON …. YUK.) It was such a treat as a 16 year old to be able to buy my own yarn, that wasn;t curly and most certainly. wasn’t NYLON!

    Glad your son and his friends appreciate the lovely things that you make!

  5. I think that the whole world culture has shifted. In the 50s it was important to have all the same thing. Houses looked the same, lawns looked the same. But kids these days are told that it is important to be unique. So unique gifts are becoming part of their identity.

  6. My daughter got a handmade Barbie dress for Christmas (from her aunt) and wasn’t particularly impressed with it, which was such a shame because it was a nice dress and apparently horribly fiddly to make. The factory-made stuff was more her style, even though it felt like it was made of paper. I think this just means I’m crap and guessing what kids like!

  7. I agree….I teach and the students are always begging me to make them something or teach them. I will be doing an afterschool class next month….about 5 years ago I made scarves for all of my students (I’d had the for 2 years) and many of them still talk about them and wear them…

  8. While I did have a very talented knitting mum and enjoyed her gifts, I’m sure I didn’t appreciate what she made me as much as my two teens do. Hey, maybe we’re raising them right, huh? Happy (belated) birthday to your sweetie. Mine is today and she’s having a wonderful day.

  9. Even through I was crafty as a child, “handmade” and “homemade” for me was synonimes of cheap. Every time I recived a handmade gift from my mom I was disappointed, but it was even worse when I was sent to someones birthday with a handmade gift because I was extremly ashamed. On the other hand I liked to wear handmade and enjoyed knitting/sewing/embrodering etc, I guess the problem was that I expected a more “valuable gift”. Nowadays handmade is exclusive, valuable and far from being cheap. My guess is that back in the days we cherished money (and the things that we got in exchange for money), it was a more materialistic world, and now we cherish the time and effort that has been spent because we generally lack time more than anything, besides very few people have the skills to make something homemade.

  10. I grew up in the 80s and 90s and had a lot of handmade clothes and dolls clothes. It was mostly to save money, but my Nanna and Mum really impressed me with the idea that things were more special this way. They were infinitely customisable, and I was always involved in the process, raking through the sewing scraps pile and making executive decisions. School dress up days were only limited by my imagination, and I would decorate my basket of treats while Mum sewed my red-riding hood cape. I still have the dresses my Nanna sewed for my bear, with the special little ‘Handmade by Nanna’ tags that proved that she was the Real Deal. (‘But where did you get these? Are you famous?’)