As you may have noticed, lately I’ve been knitting a lot for others, and while most of the gift-knits were surprizes, I have done a few items by request. Since I also post my work on Facebook, most of my friends get to see it and I often get comments in the vein of “I want one! Pretty please.”
I am more than happy to oblige, with a few conditions. Primarily, that I get to do it when it suits me, time-wise. This is usually a given, but I do suspect (though no one has ever said it) that my friends expect to get the things they ‘requested’ a bit faster than they usually arrive. For example, I promised to make the hat for Tajana, which I posted about recently, more than a year before it actually got done (and also, unfortunately, too late to be worn this winter).
My second condition, and one that is much more difficult to enforce, is the choice of yarn. Or rather, color. It is incredible how many people want black. Or some other extremely dark color (like dark purple, or dark brown). I could go on to them about how it is difficult to knit with dark colors (almost impossible in artificial light, unless you want to go blind in a record time), but honestly – my real reason is: I hate black! I hate everything about it: the fact that it’s devoid of life, the fact that it’s so conformist, the fact that in the winter it is the predominant coat color, making the season look even more bleak… I own very few black items of clothing (my winter coat is in several shades of purple!) and I have never, ever, knit anything black. Nor do I want to. So when people are making requests, I find it incredible that they are able to ignore the fact that almost all the things in my album are in lively, powerful colors, and that there isn’t a single black thing in there. Shouldn’t there be a bit more respect for that? Perhaps I’m being a color-fascist, but if you’re asking someone to put in hours of their time and effort to make something unique for you, shouldn’t you also take into account that the person making it wants to enjoy the process as well, and wants to like its outcome? It feels silly to call on artist rights, since I’m making things according to other people’s patterns and with yarn someone else made, but at least I’m the one that gets to say how those two things go together, no? Of course, I have no problem with people telling me their color preferences or coming with me to choose the yarn themselves, but I do have a problem with black.
Also, I don’t presume that everyone has the same style as me and that they should be wearing clothes that I like, but if they’re asking me to make them something on the basis of seeing my previous work, presumably they like what they’ve seen?
Do you know that urban myth about the first line of Ford Model T? “You can have any color, as long as it’s black.” (It’s actually not true, but still sounds great…) Well, here’s my version: “You can have any color, as long as it’s not black.” And if that’s one way to spread a little more color around and force people to be a little less conformist, then I’m happy to be called a tyrant for it.