Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Give the kids what they want

Whenever there is a child to knit for, the instinct is almost always to make them a sweater. Don't get me wrong, there are some adorable sweaters out there. Vi made this sweater for her granddaughter. The cables look like owls and you sew little shiny buttons for their eyes.

But let's be honest: how many times have you labored over a sweater for a little person only to have them complain, "But it's itchy!" or "Thanks, but I'd rather wear the $5 sweater from Target because it has my favorite cartoon character on it." I understand this situation because I have been on each side of this phenomena. As a child, I notoriously rejected handmade goods. "No, I don't want real macaroni and cheese, I want the powdered crap from the box!" "Thanks for laboring over this handmade sweater, grandma, but it's really itchy and pink and I'm a tom boy so I usually wear this hoodie everyday."

And don't even ask my mom about the Cabbage Patch kid fiasco.

During the Cabbage Patch kid scare of 1983-1984 when these dolls temporarily disappeared off the face of the earth during their height of popularity, I asked Santa for a Cabbage Patch kid. This is a terrible thing for any child to do to a parent. My faith in Santa hung in the balance and my mom and her friend decided that they would make Cabbage patch dolls for their daughters. Yes, that's right: hand sew a doll from a kit. And guess what? I didn't like it because it had short hair and "drips on it's nose." Typical.

So, give the kids what they want, and save yourself a little heart ache. Unless you are steeled against the sting of rejection, or compelled by the grandma/grandchild laws of nature, don't waste your time and energy on a child's sweater. Whitney had the right idea. Have to knit something for a four year old I'm not even related to? Here's a kitty, Kate to be more specific, made with pink and purple just to seal the deal. While the Knitty pattern calls for Lamb's Pride Worsted, Whitney chose to use Blue Sky Cotton.

But even this strategy isn't foolproof. Vi also made her granddaughter a Duduza doll. She was enthusiastic and immediately started playing fetch with the family dog with her new handknit. And how did Vi handle this insult? She's starting a hot pink blanket for none other than said granddaughter.

How can this be, you ask? The answer is simple. Have you ever seen Vi's granddaughter? She's adorable. It makes me want to knit something elaborate for her right now, even though I'm convinced she'll throw it on the floor of her closet.

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