Odd, Rude, or Both?

Have you ever had someone who, when you show her a garment you’ve made for yourself, she tries it on to see if it fits HER? My MIL does this, and it drives me nuts! Then when I do make her something, she doesn’t seem to like it very much.

And is it common (not to mention polite) for people to ask you to make them something that you’ve made for yourself? No one offers to buy yarn or to pay for anything–ever.

I suppose this is a mega display of poor Christmas spirit, but it makes me not want to wear my knitted and crocheted clothes in public.

My MIL paints, and I don’t go around asking for her paintings, nor do I hold her artwork up to my walls to see how good it looks there. I don’t ask for her stuff, period. If she wants to give it to me, I gladly accept it, but I don’t expect it of her. And I often offer to pay her.

I think from now on if people start asking me to make them something, my standard reply will be: “Are you going to buy the yarn?”

This happens to me all the time!! Last week I was wearing a poncho I’d knit and someone asked me if I could knit her one!! I told her, “If you pay me $50 for it.” Well, her response was “That’s too much”.

Let me tell you, that is NOT too much for this poncho!!!

I have fixed prices in my mind for things I’ve made and wear so that whenever anybody asks me, I can give them the price right there!! While I would LOVE to knit for others and get paid for it, not too many people have taken me up on my offer. Hand made things do take a lot of work and are MUCH better than what you find at your local store, but I think people just look at the price and not the amount of work involved!

Anyway, that’s what I do when someone asks me to knit them something.


What a beautiful poncho, Cindy! I’d say it’s worth at least $100! Maybe you should go up on your prices! :wink:

Good idea that–quoting the price to people (yarn + labor + headaches), but it’s difficult to do with family. Still, a worthy idea and one I’ll adopt in certain situations (but my prices will be over the top since I [U]don’t[/U] want to knit for strangers).

My MIL is also really gung-ho about me selling my knitted and crocheted objects. She mentions it a lot. Of course, she [I]drastically[/I] undercharges for her paintings and therefore doesn’t understand that I could never charge enough to make it worthwhile for me to sell my handmade items.

I’ll knit and crochet because I want to, not because I have to or because someone expects me to! Maybe I should tell her that!

She’s your MIL; she’s [I]supposed[/I] to drive you nuts. It’s in the job description.

To answer the title question, Odd? Definitely. Rude? Mmm… “rude” is as much a perception as it is anything. I suspect she doesn’t see it that way, so perhaps “oblivious” is a better way of describing it.

As for the requests… THAT’S rude. in more ways than one. To me it’s saying that your time is less valuable somehow or that what you have to do is less important. And that’s not OK. I think you’ll find that “Sure, go get some yarn you like that’ll work with this pattern and I’ll work it in when I finish [insert your priority queue here]” will derail most of those. The ones it doesn’t, if nothing else you’re not on the hook for the yam.

At $50, she was getting a STEAL of a deal, I’d say. The problem is you weren’t charging [I]enough[/I]. That’s a $200 + yarn job, easy.

My girlfriend knits/crochets for a living. She works through a local yarn store doing custom work, finishing and repairs. And she said recently that she almost never has any complaints about her prices. When we first met and she told me what she got for a Christmas stocking my initial reflex was “Wow! That’s a lotta cake for a Christmas stocking.” I was glad I didn’t say it out loud because then I worked it out by the hour and figured out she was probably making less than minimum wage.

It’s really a simple equation: Custom costs more. If you want an off the rack job that you can buy for $50, go to Stein Mart or wherever and get one. You want an original, be prepared to pay more for it. It’s no different than buying a Morgan 4/4 instead of a Honda Civic.

Heh… I think you’d be undercharging by at least half at $100… but I guess it depends on circumstances.

When Wendy knits for family/friends it’s usually because there’s some occasion for it. Once in a while somebody will ask her to work something in for them, but never without at LEAST offering to buy the yarn. I guess because everybody we know is aware that this is what she does for a living and we wouldn’t ask a dentist friend for a free root canal… or whatever.

IMO rude would be if she or someone said “that’s a lovely sweater, but why did you make in that color? It looks like baby puke!” Or “have you gained a little weight your new sweater is a bit snug?”

If she’s pulling the garment off your body to try it on that’s rude, but asking because she likes it should be considered flattering even if its annoying. If she didn’t like it she wouldn’t ask.

Strangers or even family who don’t knit don’t realize the amount of time, work and money is involved in a hand knit or crocheted object. They really aren’t being intentionally rude to ask. The rude comes in when you tell them what you’d charge and they say its not worth it. So my motto? Just say no.

Sometimes perspective is everything. I’ve been thinking about this since I first read it this morning and I can see where you’re coming from but I wonder if your MIL thinks you’re rude because

I don’t go around asking for her paintings, nor do I hold her artwork up to my walls to see how good it looks there. I don’t ask for her stuff, period. If she wants to give it to me, I gladly accept it, but I don’t expect it of her. And I often offer to pay her.

I think most people, most of the time, are well intentioned. On the other hand you know your MIL and people you talk to and I don’t and there are always people around who will make digs no matter what. From my POV, if I give something to someone and they offer to pay for it, it’s like a slap in the face. When I give a gift I expect nothing in return. I have not, however, walked in your shoes and if I did I might just have to agree 100%.

As for people saying, “That’s too much!” Finding out what it would cost to own a hand-made item may be something of a shock. Lots of us couldn’t afford custom-made anything. Rather than saying, “Oh, I wish I could afford it,” they make some other remark to save face, maybe. I don’t know these people and I could be completely wrong.

As a MIL myself I try to let my SIL know that I appreciate him, that he is a good father, that he makes my DD smile. This reminds me that I need to make the effort again soon. Thank you for that.

Sorry to be unclear. I don’t offer to pay for [B]gifts[/B] she’s giving me as [U]that[/U] would be insulting. What I meant is that when someone in my family wants some of her artwork, I always buy it from her (even though she tries to give it to me to give to them). I only left out a [U]few[/U] [I]minor[/I] details!

I completely understand that she appreciates what I make, but I still think it’s rude for someone to grab something up you’re showing them and try it on while saying, “Oh, darn, this doesn’t fit me!” in a sad, disappointed way.

Of course it doesn’t fit you, silly! I made it for ME!

I think it’s the presumptuous insinuation that rubs me the wrong way. No doubt she thinks she’s being funny, but I’m not amused.

As I said, I’m not grabbing up her artwork saying things like, “Oh darn, this won’t fit over the buffet table.” I don’t say things like that because I don’t ASSUME everything (or really, anything) she paints is for me!

My niece asks me to make her something whenever she sees me knit. She’s pretty much the only one to have asked for something, besides my other nephews and nieces who asked for blankets, but understand they won’t get them right away. I’ve also became her favorite aunt after I started six months ago, and I’m going to teach her how to knit soon.

I haven’t had someone try on something I’ve knitted that’s for myself. At least, not yet. Then again, I’m tiny so it probably wouldn’t fit many people anyway. :stuck_out_tongue: I knit to my body shape and my size and no one else’s. This way no one can steal anything I’ve knitted for myself. And if I’m knitting for them, I do the same thing. I make sure it’s custom fit.

It sounds like MIL’s idea of personal space is way different from yours. She sounds like what I think of as “gushy-grabby,” someone who just goes on and on has to physically touch things. It’s unfortunate. Family situations can be really tough. Odd, rude? Both.

I call mine my HIL (horror in law) …

I am so lucky, my husband loved my mother as his mother-in-law. I on the other hand had not had a mother-in-law since we married. His mother passed away in a collision with a freight train that had stopped on the tracks. It was an unmarked crossing because it crossed a road in a trailer park on the other side of town from where I lived. So for my entire 38 years of marriage , I have never had a mother-in-law.

Really, though, if that’s the only thing I have to complain about with my MIL (and that’s pretty much it), I’m pretty fortunate.

Thanks for all the feedback!

Really great replies and they seem to cover just about all sides.

For myself. I only knit for me unless I am asked to knit something and then they must buy the yarn. It heads off most of the requests.

Maybe a sit down with MIL and explain how you feel when she does these actions??? Good luck~

Right now I am knitting furiously on a baby blanket for a cousin’s daughter due in February. But I am seriously thinking of giving it to Project Linus ( I have made blankets for them in the past). Have already sent her four pairs of booties I made as well as a neckwarmer for the cousin in the same package. All I got was an email acknowledgement that it came and wasn’t opened yet over a week ago and no other mention! Not that I did it just to be thanked BUT… I also suggested checking thrift shops and consignment stores for baby clothes as they were so expensive. I have received in a mass email cousin sends to several people that they were going to Kohls to look for baby clothes. No mention to me of things I made. I am seriously thinking I will never make anything for anyone again.:knitting:

Well one sock monkey don’t stop no show. I might be tempted to never knit anything else for THAT person, but shutting down operations totally? Mmmmno. Most people appreciate hand crafted items, and I’m not gonna let one rude an unappreciative <expletive> mess things up for those people.

Borealowl: So sorry to hear about your really bad experience. That’s awful!

Do you think maybe they’re sending a thank you note by snail mail? If not, I think I’d be tempted to e-mail them saying something to the effect of “If you don’t plan to use the items I sent, please return them. I know of others who appreciate the hard work that goes into handmade items and will gladly use them.”

Then I’d wait to see what they do. It might just jar them into a polite response–or they might send everything back in a hissy fit, but at least you’d get them back!

As for sending the blanket to them: No way! I’d donate it or give it to someone else!

As for making handmade items for other people, I wouldn’t quit altogether (as mojo said), but I’d certainly be more selective about who got said item. In fact, I’d probably question the intended recipients closely and see if they appreciate handmade things.

borealowl, I hate things like that happening. I agree with the others, that person doesn’t need handmade items, but others will appreciate them.

My two cents and alternate opinion-

Some people get busy and don’t send out thank you notes quickly especially with a baby. I didn’t get some out to my MIL once within a week when my kids were a baby and toddler and she sent me a scathing letter. I know I should have done it sooner, but it’s not like I was sitting on the couch eating bonbons.

Kohls is not an expensive store and some people just like to have new stuff for their baby. Apparently the thank you is important so give her a call or email. I would donate the blanket, too.