12 October 2007

Yarn Snob

So, here's the thing.

I call myself a yarn snob frequently. I don't like the feel of Caron or Red Heart between my fingers. I like wool, cashmere, silk, hemp, linen. Fibers that grew somewhere on the earth, not just in the bones of dinosaurs. I'm okay with this about myself. It means that I have less yarn that some people I know, because the stuff I like is expensive (though not as expensive as it was when I started knitting a lot in college -- the options have expanded wildly since then), it means that I don't tend to knit adult sized sweaters or blankets, and instead have fallen in love with the intricacy of a cabled sock, the delicate nature of a fair isle glove.

But suddenly, this label has been turned against me by a couple of people I care about. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. Because even though I'm a self-labeled yarn snob, I've always been very careful to specify that I'm a snob about what *I* knit. If you want to knit an entire house of sweaters out of Redheart, and that works for you, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, have a party! Please, for goodness sakes, don't let me get in your way. Knitting is about what we ENJOY, what we LOVE...and if you don't love it, then what the hell's the point? Alternatively, if you do love it, let no one in the world gainsay you -- least of all, little old me!

I've received no less than three hand knit gifts for the baby so far. Well, technically, the afghan that Joyce's mom made was for me, too, but we all know who that gigantic cabled beauty was REALLY for. So, acrylic afghan from Mary, acrylic yellow dress from Mary (picture is on the phanfare link from last post, I'll get a better picture as I put the clothes away and come across it again, promise!), and the sweet bootie and bonnet set that Ranee sent. If I were really a yarn snob, I'd detest Mary's presents and love Ranee's, right? (and Ranee, I'm sorry to use you as an example here, but you'll understand in a mo). But that's not the case. I LOVE EVERY ONE OF THESE THINGS without regard to the material they were made from. Why?

Because someone took time out of their busy day, their hectic world, to make something for me. For my little tiny person who doesn't officially all the way exist yet. Someone stopped and said, "I want to surround that little being with enough love and magic and miracles that they'll know how warm and precious and treasured they are from their very first moment on the earth." I don't give a crap what material you chose to express that sentiment with -- from the aunt who sent a Borders gift card, to the cashmere booties, I except and appreciate and adore every single expression of true love given to my baby. Even the frilly panted outfits that make my inner-quasi-feminist want to snarl (why oh why do women, even tiny women, still need ruffles on their ass? I don't understand it!) because they're not to my personal taste...the fact is that people thought of me, of Robb, of our little one, and they cared enough to try and help. What kind of a person would I be if I rejected those gifts?

So why am I ranting about this today? Because not once, but twice before the shower, I had someone that I love and adore approach me and say that they would have made me something, but I was such a snob about yarn that they didn't think it was worth it for them to waste their time, because I would hate what they would make. Because they wouldn't spend a lot on the yarn.

I was so flabbergasted both times something like this happened that I just couldn't defend myself. I don't think it would have done much good anyway. But it stung. It really stung. It has stung for a week. I keep going back to it, turning those moments over, wondering what, exactly, I did wrong to make my friends think that I loved their time and their effort so little. Or do they not value their time and their love enough, thinking that it's only the monetary value of the gift that's worthwhile, not understanding that the least of handmade gifts can transcend the most expensive of store bought ones? Is it their own lack of experience in this realm that makes them concerned?

I don't know, and it leaves me at a loss. I invite your thoughts. Tell your friends to come and tell me what they think. I don't get it. I really don't.


AlisonH said...

I'm hoping they read your post and understand better.

Kristine: I got stopped six if not seven times today, at least, by people exclaiming over my socks and wanting to know if I made them. I got to have you there with me at Stitches today in spirit. Most of those women didn't give more than a polite nod at the book or the shawls I was wearing and Water Turtles Karen was wearing--they wanted a good look and chance to admire those socks. Kristine rocks!!

I just thought you'd like to know that. You totally left me in the dust over and over and I hugely enjoyed that. You were there with us. Some people wear their hearts on their sleeves; today, I wore mine on my feet.

Karin said...

Kristine. It is nothing YOU said or did. They just used that as a stupid excuse to not make anything for the baby. It is their hang-ups that are getting in the way. THEY are the true snobs.

I hope you can move on from here and not let it bother you anymore.
And...(sheepishly asking) could I please nice have your address again please with a cherry on top?

Brynne said...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a yarn snob. I admit there is alittle guilt that comes along with it (especially when shopping with one who cannot affort anything but Redheart and similar brands) but I agree I love the more expensive wools and silks. So I am here to say to you (even though you have no clue who I am and I have no clue who you are) there is nothing wrong with being a yarn snob. We should all be proud of our "snobberies" especially when it's something like yarn. Yell it from the mountain tops! OK that might be taking it too far. but you know what I'm trying to get at.