Knitting Advice: Christmas Carol Edition

For a while now I’ve been writing a column for Creative Knitting called Patty’s Purls of Wisdom. Knitter’s send in their questions, ala Dear Abbey, and I answer them. It’s full of all kinds of knitting advice, but here a few days before Christmas I thought I’d share a holiday edition.

Editors update: I now write my column on Modern Daily Knitting, called Ask Patty.

Knitting (Christmas) Advice

Here’s the heartfelt letter I received:

A couple Christmases ago, while preparing for a trip to visit in-laws, my husband goes to the store and returns all happy with himself. One of the items he bought was a knit hat with skulls on it. My heart dropped. What man married to a knitter comes home from Target with a knit hat! I keep thinking I want to knit something for him like socks, but how do I knit for a man who buys a hat instead of asking me to make him one? I want him to like knitted socks, but I also don’t want him to because he has size 14 shoes! Would you knit him socks or keep him on the no-knit list?

PS… We’ve been married for 5 years and I do love him.

Mrs. Not knitting for husband

And here was my thoughtful advice:

Dear Mrs. Not knitting for husband,

Ah, the “do I want him to ask, or am I happy that he hasn’t” quandary has plagued the knitter’s marital landscape for generations. Just remember, once you open those “I can make that for you” floodgates, there’s no closing them. That being said . . .

First let’s address the dreaded store-bought hat issue. When I was a kid, my mother used to say “intent matters.” Before we can decide what to do about the issue, we need to understand why your husband would cheat on your knitting with a machine-knit hat from Target. Did he, A: buy it on impulse (forgivable), B: not want to bother you because he thinks your knitting is something you do for you (admirable), or C: prefer the work of cheaply made mass-produced machine knits to your lovingly created hand knits (seek a divorce lawyer).

To get to the root of his thinking, start by leaving around knitting books and magazines open to men’s hat patterns, or perhaps even find a scarf pattern with skulls and innocently declare, “look honey, wouldn’t this look great with your hat?” If his response is A: with love in his voice: “You would make that for me?” – Then forgive him, he didn’t want to bother you. If his response is B: with shocked awe in his voice “You know how to make that, with the skulls?” – then forgive him, he didn’t know your mad skills. If his response is C: “I prefer the work of cheaply made mass produced machine knits to your lovingly created hand knits,” then . . . refer to C in paragraph 2, and I’m sorry.

As for the socks for size 14 feet (gulp) . . . start with slippers in super bulky yarn and then . . . we’ll see.

originally published in Creative Knitting Magazine

If you have a burning knitting question, send it in.

Questions like:

– What’s the best short row method for a scarf?
– What are the tricks to keeping your sanity when knitting lace?
– How do you avoid killing your spouse when he moves your shawl off the couch making your delicate stitches slip off the needle and your stitch markers tumble to the floor?

Please write them in letter form, just like the old letter’s to Dear Abby. We’d love to feature the full letter in the column, not just the questions, so have fun with it! Let’s all learn from each other and let’s start talking knitting! So e-mail your questions to:

E-mail Ask Patty (


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