Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Here's a scratchy sweater with no shape...enjoy!"

After reading my last post, I know some people are probably thinking about the 'kitsch' factor. I must say that I do think it's totally fun to make and wear zany things sometimes. I am one of those self-expressive people who still like wearing some odd nostalgic garment or accessory from the thrift store...but that's not something for the uptight or the average Joe. My Craftster pal Tess is a great example of a free-spirited dresser who likes wearing handmade articles without reservation. I love her Flickr photos. (Hi Tess!) So, there are times when an orange acrylic macramé owl purse with wooden bead eyes and beak might be appropriate for the intended recipient, but only because they themselves would buy one at a thrift shop and they would probably swoon if you made one for them that didn't wreak of 'vintage smells'.

I think the key is to know the market you're targeting. If you know your daughter has never liked turtlenecks, don't give her a crocheted dickie! Now, if you're thinking that you could ask someone if they would like you to make 'such and such' for them, you should consider that about half of the people you ask are going to tactfully lie to you and tell you that they would like one, just to be polite. Trust me...it could be packed up in their next shipment to Goodwill, or worse...it will sit in their drawer for the remainder of their life until one of their surviving relatives toss it in the garbage, not knowing from whence it came. How many painstakingly-made lace doilies do we see in the thrift stores for a dollar?

Before you craft for someone, view their blogs and virtual wish lists. Pay attention when they genuinely, out of no obligation, show their approval of something around them and try to note their style choices in their clothing and home decor. Can they wear wool without getting a rash? Will that color wash them out? Some people have very minimalistic tastes in decor. If you look around their home and they have very few trinkets, realize that it may pain them to have to display your lovely set of hand knit coasters. I myself live with an individual of that nature and trust me, you won't see a doily anywhere near our home. If you want to make someone a dishcloth set and can't find matching colors for their kitchen, go with neutrals. I would presume to say that most people do care if things match, otherwise you wouldn't see such a wide array of colored counter top appliances on store shelves.

My advice for gift-giving is to stick with simple, useful items in natural fibers. I'm not saying that I'll never again work with synthetics. Loving nostalgia the way I do, I myself have been hanging onto some fabulous vintage double-knit polyester fabrics in a variety of wonderful prints hoping that one day I might find the perfect pattern for them. Like I said in my last post...I will only work with materials that are pleasing to me. Yes...even polyester fabric can be pleasing to me! Now, something that I would never do with it is make it into a scratchy tied quilt and give it to my brother and his wife for their new baby. (Oh, the horror!!!)

Finally, when I give a gift I like to tell people that there are no strings attached. If they feel someday like changing their decor, their child grows out of it, or something else happens that makes it lose it's necessity, Pass It On! Donate it, sell it or if it's beyond repair, toss it. I will not show up on their doorstep three years later expecting to see them wearing it.

Did you need to read this today? I think I needed to write it...just to reestablish it in my own mind. Now I am at crafting peace.


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