Artisan yarn supplier meets vintage seafarer
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Laura poses a question of knitiqette...

Hi all,

Today’s topic is a question of knitiquette: what are the rules when you’re making something for someone else?

I am knitting a jumper (also known as a sweater). The back and front are done and I am partway through sleeve one. Normally by this point in proceedings I would have tried it on. But - as you may have surmised by the terms “back” and “front” rather than “body” – I am making it in pieces! How exciting! So there’s no trying it on, except in a half-hearted way holding it up against me. Plus, it’s not for me. So what good would trying it on do me?

Except I am wondering what will happen when it is finished. It’s very soft and squishy. Beautiful colour, too. And I’ve never made a ribbed jumper before. I think I might like to see what it looks like on a person (*cough* Me *cough*). Once it has been shipped to the other side of the world, it could be a year or more before I see it again! So is it okay to try it on before it goes?

The main problems I see are:

  • Bit rude. It’s not mine. It would be like giving a book to someone in your household then reading it before they get round to it. I often want to do this, because I choose excellent books, but that doesn’t make it okay and I wouldn’t do it. And anyway…
  • The recipient and I are different shapes. The best I can hope for is that I try it on and it is too short and a bit baggy. But then will I feel sad that it looks rubbish, because it “doesn’t fit”? Or be confident that it might be about right for the end user?

There’s a third potential downside. You gain lots of information from trying something on. Whilst this should be a good thing, here’s a scenario: suppose I don the finished jumper and I am very happy with it. I take it off, pack it off, wait eagerly for the lucky lady to get her parcel…and hear that the cuffs are a little tight? Do I think, hmm, I should have chosen a different cast-on for the sleeves after all? Or do I mutter “Send it back then, Fat-Wrists; it was fine when I tried it”?

That’s not going to happen in this case: it’s for my mum-in-law and she is positive to a fault. There is almost no way she will say anything that could be construed as even vaguely critical. I am quite confident that I could try it on, find it’s likely to be too big for her, ask her to put on a few pounds so that it looks better and she’d start the protein powder the same day. She’s a VERY good mum-in-law!

Anyway, today’s question is, clearly, what’s the etiquette? Can you wear something you’ve made for another person before they do? Is it fair? Ethics aside, is it even a good idea (too much knowledge can be a bad thing)? Should I send it off in blissful ignorance and blind confidence?

PS I don’t actually know how I’m going to stop myself, so I hope it’s a majority win for “Oh, yes, put it on! Put it on!” :/

Editor note: We coaxed Laura to try the sweater on - for sizing and adjustment purposes!


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