A handmade sweater is a labor of love. A labor of love that deserves to be worn until it practically falls apart at the seams. And then it deserves to be darned and worn for a little longer. And then for another fortnight.
After writing this week about all the knitting in Harry Potter, I’ve become slightly fixated on the Weasley Sweater.
Molly Weasley, the mother of Ron, Ginny, Fred, George (and about a half-dozen other characters), sends her children a “Weasley Sweater” each year for Christmas. Her handmade sweaters are the butt of an annual joke to her kids, and, admittedly, the image of the extra-large Weasley family all going to Christmas dinner, sporting matching sweaters emblazoned with their initials is pretty funny. But, I always get little pangs of sympathy for Mrs. Weasley, who must have spent hundreds of hours knitting away by the fireside, listening to the Wizarding Wireless Network, making sure that her children stayed nice and warm in drafty old Hogwarts Castle.
First, ask if your recipient even wants a sweater. (Unless you’re 100% sure they will appreciate it, and really want to make it a surprise, always ask.) Mrs. Weasley has been knitting these sweaters since her kids were tiny, and now they’re expected (and kind of dreaded, like tax season).
Second, try to figure out what kind of sweater your recipient wants. Ron always gets a maroon sweater, not because he likes the color, but because his mother likes how he looks in maroon. If you knit a sweater for someone in a color they hate, it’ll never get worn. Which would be lame.
Third, think about where your recipient lives. I’m making a big, fluffy sweater for my grandmother, who lives in Wisconsin, where extra layers are always helpful. I once made a cabled wool pullover for my husband (which actually turned out really great), but he can almost never wear it, because Seattle never gets cold enough to warrant that much wool.
And fourth, think about if your recipient will actually appreciate all the time and effort that you put into the sweater. I limit my knit gift-giving to my family and my knitting friends, otherwise they just don’t “get” it.