Knitted gift never used

How would you approach a family member regarding a gift you had made for a new baby, considering not only the cost of the materials (over $40), but your time involved to create a beautiful hand-made outfit, knowing that the outfit had never been worn, let alone tried on?

Would you confront them?

It’s a family member (SIL). I spent over 2 months knitting a beautiful sweater, hat and booties for her baby. Gave it to her upon the birth of her daughter, and a couple weeks ago (when I asked if she had taken any pics of the baby wearing it, so I could add them to my portfolio), she told me that she still hadn’t worn it! (I knitted it in a ‘newborne’ size. The baby is almost 4 months old - there is NO way it will fit now)

We are seeing them again this weekend… I so badly want to say something… but not sure if I should.

What would you do?

Let it go… They may think it’s too nice to put the baby in, being they spit up a lot, they may not think it’s good enough, they got so many other items they didn’t think of it… the list could go on. Doesn’t matter, it was a gift and what people do with a gift is their choice and you don’t have a say unfortunately.

It definitely would be nice if she showed some appreciation, but many people don’t understand what goes into something hand made. So let it go.

I know you are probably disappointed after all the love and hard work you put into your gift but that’s the downside of giving gifts sometimes.

I always try so hard to give something unique and special when I give a gift to someone but once the gift is given, I have to let go.

We can’t expect everyone to have the same kind of tastes as we do or even the understanding of what goes into a handmade item. The thought behind the gift is what is most important. You put your love and hard work into something and it hopefully it was received graciously. After that, it’s just gravy.

So if I were you, I would just let it go and not say anything.

Once a gift leaves your hands it is no longer yours, but the receiver’s. Perhaps instead of commenting on her not using the outfit you could offer to teach her to knit. Then she would truly understand all the work you put into it. For now, buy a doll that the outfit would fit and give it to the baby. Tell the mother you’d really like for the doll to wear the outfit you made for the baby. When the baby is old enough she will have a gorgeous doll to play with, and the doll will be dressed in love from head to foot!!!

As knitters, we have to realize that most non knitting people just don’t understand the emotion, love and hard work poured into each knitted gift! Once you can accept that, you will feel better! LOL, I’ve been knitting about 26 years. Soon perhaps I’ll “feel better”. So, do as I say, not as I do!!!

I agree with the others, just let it go. Newborns do seem to get a lot of clothing as gifts and grow out of them so quickly that some things may never get used.
It’s a shame after all that loving work that went into the outfit, but give your SIL the benefit of the doubt.

I agree with the others. What would you say?

There’s really no purpose to be served by confronting them. At best, you’ll make them feel bad for hurting your feelings; at worst, they’ll be angry that you had to gall to confront.

But the gift was given in love, and is now outgrown. Let it go. She may well cherish it anyway…you never know.

GRRR! Call me a b with a itch but i would probably mention to them that you loved making it and hoped they had got some use out of it. IF the say “no” haven’t used it yet i would ask them to try it on the baby while you are there (just so you can see it). If it doesn’t fit the baby tell them that you would pass it on to someone else if they didn’t want it cluttering up ther place. But for G*Ds sake make sure they don’t throw it out!!! I made a sweater for a friends newborn baby and it turned out WAY to big so im still waiting to see if they use it or not. The thought of them not using it makes me sick! IT was cabled with a fan lace pattern in between and it was hard to make. I want so badly for it to be used and passed down as i intended but im just not sure it will be. I totally feel for you, and everyone here is right, non-knitters do NOT understand what goes into hand made things. Good luck. OXOXOXOXOXOX Meg

For now, buy a doll that the outfit would fit and give it to the baby. Tell the mother you’d really like for the doll to wear the outfit you made for the baby.

Or a bear. I read a post on another forum where she’d made the BSJ so small it wouldn’t fit even a newborn, but she had a bear the right size and was going to give it to the baby.

i think that they think the gift is way too nice to put on the baby…and has probably been put away for “good”…perhaps you need to take it as a compliment?


Oh! Dolls and bears are great ideas!

I guess my problem is that I want to knit something else for my beautiful little niece, but I’m not sure if I should waste my time.

Considering that my efforts wern’t appreciated the first time around…

I do like the ‘doll’ idea. Just not sure how I would ask that the outfit I made for the baby be given to the doll…

Just come right out and say it. If you pussy foot around the idea she will not understand your need to have the outfit on the doll. I have found recently that the direct route gets you there faster and easier. Good luck!

Wait until your niece is a toddler and is taking longer to grow out of clothes. You could knit her a sweater that she would use all winter long. The ironic thing about babies is we want them to grow up but at the same time they grow so fast during that first year you seem to be swapping out their clothes for bigger ones constantly.

As far as the first gift is concerned your SIL probably thought it was too nice for a baby to spit up and poop on. I know when I received beautiful handmade blankets for my two babies (before I learned to knit) I thought they were just too special for a baby to ruin. I still have them and will pass them on to my kids when they have children of their own. I know it seems silly not to use them, but I just couldn’t stand to see them get stained. I also have a blanket that was made for me as a baby by my great grandmother. I know that my parents did not use it because they felt it was an heirloom, but I felt so special that it had been made for me that I brought both of my babies home from the hospital in it. Maybe your niece will do the same.

How about if you selected some patterns and let the mom choose which one she liked? That way you could avoid knitting up something that wouldn’t get worn again.

I know what you mean. Last Christmas I knit my stepmother a spa set, because she said she wanted one. 2 months later, I saw she had bought a set and mine was still wrapped up and shoved behind the towels (not carefully as though trying to keep it nice).

I won’t confront her about it, but needless to say she will NOT be getting handknits from me again. If she asks me, then maybe I will mention this…but then again, maybe not. I’m not good at confrontations. I will not accept any requests from her though. That train has pulled out of the station.

I can hold a grudge for a VERY long time.

As others have said I would not mention it, once a gift is given it leaves your hands. I would just assume she thought it was so beautiful that she didn’t want anything to happen to it and she is keeping it safe;)

But I would not knit anything else at this point. Perhaps when your niece is older and you can give it directly to her but for now I would stick to knitting things for folks who want and appreciate your talent. If your SIL is not a knitter she may truly not understand the work and effort that went into it.

If you have any other family members planning on babies I would suggest it be passed on if they’re not planning more.
I don’t have a problem giving conditional gifts, especially if I created them.

I would wait until the kid is old enough to say she wants to wear the item her aunt made before making another and give it to her instead of the mother. (The risk is she won’t want to wear it.)
Even if she doesn’t side with you you can make a joke about having to wear gift sweaters from the crazy old aunt no matter how much they don’t like them so they know you notice the stuff you make isn’t being used.

It’s quite possible they didn’t use it because it’s handmade. My sister had to tell her son to let his wife use her crocheted afghans, she made them to be used not put into a museum.

Isn’t that frustrating? You spend lots of time knitting a beautiful gift for someone and they don’t use it.

It’s a risk we take as knitters and I am in the school of thought that says once you gift it, it’s no longer yours.

The bear/doll idea is very cute, but it’s not really your place to decide what they do with it. Unfortunately it’s not yours. I really really do understand what you’re going through, but it’s a gift.

What if you’d bought them a diaper bag and they never used it and you knew they didn’t. Would you ask for it back? Most likely not.

I would probably ask if they had ever used it and when they say no, mention that it is for your neice and you really wanted it to be worn. I like the idea that someone else gave about letting the mother pick out a pattern she likes for the next outfit.

Just because they never put it on the baby doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it or treasure it. I once crocheted a shawl for a woman - and in 12 years never saw her wear it, nor heard that she had worn it. It was in a drawer in her spare room. Then she died; and at the funeral I was told she had requested to be buried in the shawl -“because it is the most precious gift I’ve ever been given”. She had never worn it because she wanted to save it to be buried in!!!

(and yes, I wept)

My feelings would be hurt as well. Actually, something similar happened to me. I knit two really cute cardigans for my friend’s daughters. They came out perfect and I loved them. I can remember quite clearly the look on my friends face when the kids opened their gifts…she was clearly disappointed. I don’t see her too often, but I would bet my last dollar that those girls never wore the cardigans. I wanted to say something, but just had to let it go. I wasn’t going to spoil a relationship over it. I just chalked it up to the fact that some people just don’t realize handknit items are a lot of work and a lot of care has been put into it. Needless to say, I will never knit any gifts for anyone in her family again. I just buy store bought gifts that she likely returns for store credit.