It’s not just a scarf


Or mittens, or a hat, or a throw.

When you receive a hand knit item — or any hand made item for that matter — you’re not just receiving a cozy hat or a loaf of banana bread. You are receiving the time, memories and emotions of the person who made it.

I’m a knitter and a finished piece is a diary of the time I was knitting it. I knit the scarf above for my cousin. I advised her on the pattern; she chose the color, ballet pink. I knitted it whilst I was recovering from hip replacement surgery. I would collapse on the couch after my physical therapy sessions and knit, cheering my body on to heal.

I’m knitting a scarf right now for DD’s boyfriend. He will receive the scarf knit by his perhaps future mother in law and will, of course, like it. What he will not know is that I chose the yarn whilst I was on vacation, visiting Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington State. There was a ferry ride involved and an Ethiopian dinner. I started knitting it whilst I was sitting in a hospital ER in Chicago. And now I’m completing it as I plan my move from a house I built and have lived in for ten years. I count stitches and rows and think about my unclear future which could lead me: anywhere.

He will enjoy it and wear it, but only I know exactly what he’s wearing: a meditation on change, fear and hope. And lots of love.

So please enjoy your handmade gifts and know they’re so much more than the amazing item itself. What gifts have you received that tell a story? Do you paint, bake or do a craft? What stories do your gifts tell?

All is calm and bright around here as December rolls on and people are engaged in Christmas parties and nonstop shopping.

xo Liza

Hello my lovelies! We’re approaching the big fiesta.  Hope you’re staying calm and bright. Now’s a good time to think about your plans and hopes for 2018. Don’t wait until the last minute. Please, write us below and we’ll read with great interest. If you enjoy being part of this wise, witty group of stylish, life loving women, enter your email in the box above so you don’t miss a thing.

20 thoughts on “It’s not just a scarf

  1. how true and lovely! I wish I had received by my aunt a note describing the principal emotions when knitting a piece for me. I also wish I had given a note to my mom and my dad, and then my boyfriend, and girlfriend , when I gave them the products of my knitting… Thank you Liza, as always. Much Light in change and adventure, in fear and trust!

  2. Everything you said is so true. I have crocheted many items for Christmas this year. Three blankets for DD, SIL, and granddaughter, two hat and scarf sets for grandsons, a scarf for DD’s MIL, a doily and coasters for three friends, a table runner for DD, and about 40 little Christmas tree ornaments to tuck in cards for friends and distant relatives. Out of the numerous cards&streets I sent, a few have mentioned receiving them and putting them on the tree. Others haven’t mentioned them at all. But one friend through a friend sent me an excited note to thank me and ask if I made it and how much she loved it. She didn’t have her tree up yet, so she said she put it on her desk where she works and writes so she can look at it throughout the day. That one note made my whole endeavor worth while. Some one appreciated my work and time and thoughts. I know my grandsons won’t care because it is clothes. My SIL would rather have a gift certificate, and who knows what my friends will think. I know my daughter will appreciate the handmade gift, because she makes things all the time and understands. But that one friend I met through another friend made the season so meaningful to me. Loved your article.

    1. Hi Eileen! And I loved your comment. So nice to hear from another crafter about the feelings we put into our work and how much it means to be appreciated. Wishes for a happy holiday season.

  3. When I had my 9th birthday, my mother made an amazing cake, an exact replica of my elementary school, including surrounding details such as the jungle-jim sets and pine trees, and invited all of my classmates (and most of their mothers) to a hayride (tractor driven by her, of course). Even as a 9-year-old, I recognized this as a true act of love that had taken her many hours to plan and execute.
    As an adult, I watched my mother-in-law, now deceased, crochet countless items for me and for so many others. To this day, I think back to all those hours that she invested in my beautiful tablecloths and know how clearly her yarn symbolized the fiber of love she always tried to wrap around her family.

  4. That is one beautiful scarf Liza. Your cousin is very fortunate indeed. What pattern and yarn did you use? I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

    1. Hi Christine, It is the “Broken Garter” scarf, free pattern online from Purl Soho. The yarn is from Purl Soho too. Merry and Happy to you!

  5. Lisa, have a joyful holiday season. I don’t comment often but enjoy your blog. You were so close to me on Bainbridge Is. when you were looking for a place to settle I told you about Shelton which is just down the road a bit. Would love to have you in the area.
    I’m a potter without a pot this season because of moving and remodeling. It was difficult to shop this year as there was no hands on love involved but next year I can show my love in a pot once again.

    1. Hi Karen! I remember you told me you were in this beautiful part of Washington State, away from Seattle. I was told to look at Port Townsend. A little too far from the airport for me…I think. Where are you moving? You must feel a bit lost without your equipment and your passion. Hopefully soon.

      1. Lisa, I bought an old cabin on Oakland Bay just outside of Shelton WA. I’m in the process of remodeling it. It is about 1000 sq ft … a bit of a downsize for me but my view in the mornings are spectacular! My garage is my new studio and my kiln will be in working order soon. However, I bought IKEA cabinets and now have over 100 boxes with parts to be assembled piled in my studio.. it is a challenge but I’m loving it

  6. Hello from another Washington state dweller (Seattle).
    What a wonderful gift and compliment to the receiver of any handmade item. That the giver took the time to slow down and spend time thinking of that person who will be receiving the gift, is the best gift!
    When I learned to crochet a few years back, my daughter taught me. Kind of a reverse teaching moment! Everyone on my list received a scarf that year. Funny, I never see anyone wearing those scarves. haha!

    1. Hi Joni. I love that your daughter taught you to crochet. And darn, as to no one wearing your scarves. You should make yourself the most beautiful scarf and wear it. They’ll suddenly realize how fab yours are and how fab you look, and start to wear them. Keep on crafting, whatever you do!

  7. Joni, I love what you said about someone slowing down and taking time to think of the person they are making the gift for. I always try to say a little prayer for that person too.

    My daughter made me a scarf the year she learned to knit. It was one of her first efforts, but I cherish that scarf because of that fact and make sure I wear it every year.

    Those who don’t appreciate and wear gifts made just for them are the ones who lose out on a very precious gift, not the one who gives.

  8. At the Botanic Gardens in this city, I found grandchildren gifts ( puppets, one a sheep, the other a bear). I kept thinking that I needed to find books to give along with them. Then, I decided to write the books and included my grandchildren’s names in the one designed for each. What a joy to write.

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