knitting

Hand-Me-Downs

Jaeger pullover ABC pullover cotton hat duckie pullover

What do you do with the lovingly hand knitted clothes your kids have outgrown? I just don’t have the heart to take these items to the consignment store or to donate them. Devan doesn’t have younger siblings or cousins who get to inherit his sweaters. (Click any photo to enlarge.)

cotton pullover heart cardigan hoodie from Grandma leopard suit

If you knit for the little people in your life, where would you like to see the handknits end up after they’ve been fondly appreciated and then outgrown?

Little Star Nigel’s design Rowan pullover skull & crossbones

It’s a dilemma. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

13 thoughts on “Hand-Me-Downs”

  1. If they are all wool you could felt them and cut them into squares to make a blanket. Don’t you have a very talented friend that does that with fabric…?

  2. This is a dilemma. I have passed on a few things to friends who have younger children, but several of Stewart’s precious knits have gone into the ‘treasure box’ (luckily stored at Grandma’s, as we have no room here!). Recently, I was digging through the box and lent a favourite sweater to Sweet Baby James’ mum – but she knew it was a lend only – not to go into the Salvation Army box once he had outgrown it. It is as much the memories as the knitting that makes me want to keep these things. However, we can’t keep everything… I just gave Stewart’s cotton Aran sweater to a friend – but it was a wrench. Good luck!

  3. Teddy Bears need clothes too. If you have stuffed animals, they can wear a few of the little sweaters that you don’t want to part with.

  4. You might see if there is a home for homeless moms that would love your hand me downs…many times the homeless are not remembered with beautiful things. Who knows? Maybe you will even plant seeds for someone to begin knitting!

  5. Holly:
    I know you can’t keep them all and you at least have photos, but…… I still have a sweater my mom knit me when I was 4 and I keep it on a big teddy bear. I have another in the drawer that I wore when I was 13. No way it will fit, but I fondle it now and then and it makes me feel like my mom is near when she has been gone for 5 years now. Keep at least a couple.

  6. That is a dilemma, it’s true. When my children are done with their things, I’ll have to just give them either to Salvation Army or some friends with small children. I don’t have room to save many things for grandchildren.

  7. I agree with felting a patchwork, though felted pillows and stuffed animals are more usable in my experience; Carmen’s experiences notwithstanding. Personally, i like re-sourcing. For example, that favorite blankie becomes a new book bag, sweater becomes matching cap & mittens. Those baby caps become water bottle tote, the “pack” part of a fanny pack. You don’t need to full/felt, but sew like for steeks; for the bags, line them. Best part, it works for cotton, & other non-wool items. I’m in CA, so I make a lot of organic cotton & soy items–even when it’s hot, babies need to cover up! And don’t forget making something for yourself, it’s your emotions that won’t let you give up the items in the first place! Lovely tea cosy & matching placemat for your quiet moments. Cover for your 1. latest read, 2. take-away drink cup (“coffee cozy”), 3. eye/sunglasses, 4. phone/mp3 player, 5. wallet/change purse/card case. How about a hooded scarf (when you’re caught w/o an umbrella). Man, I could spend all day on this. btw, all of these are good sellers at crafts fairs/fund raisers. Especially the coffee cozy and sunglass cover (make sure there’s a clip, so it doesn’t fall to the bottom of your purse/car pocket). Hope this helps!

  8. Good question! I have the same delema myself and there is no way I could personaly disassemble and felt any of my handknit baby/kid knits. I have all mine packed away with no clue what to do with them. I think I am going to pass them onto my possible future grandchildren. Some are gender neutral enough. I figure if Sarah Jessica Parker can dress her little boy in hand me down from her own brother then my grandkids can wear their parents handknits!

  9. I think a creative Idea is to make a blanket, using some of the small items and sew or neddle felt them on (like a collage) for a keepsake and useful item to pass on and use forever. ~:)

  10. I am a grandma now, and I wish I had kept at least a couple of the sweaters or other items that I knit for my own kids when they were younger. When my granddaughter was born, I very much wished that had the lace blanket that I wrapped around my daughter (her mother) when I brought her home from the hospital. It would have been lovely to be able to use that blanket now, for the next generation. I knit one particular sweater for each of my kids that I similarly wish I had kept. I am strongly in favour of giving some of the less-sentimental items to charity or other family members, but I also urge the new moms who are knitting for their children to keep some of those items as heirloom items. Faster than you can blink, you have grandchildren!
    P.S. Oddly enough, I did follow this plan for my kids’ favourite children’s books. I make the same comment about those! Save the best to use with the next generation, and share the rest! (I say this even if you need to buy some books to give to charity — which I also did, in order to salve my conscience!)

    1. I have kept some of the handknits and I finally did part with some of them. We’ll keep the special ones for Devan’s children. I’ve also kept some of our favourite books and Devan’s now reading some of my favourite books with birthday or Christmas inscriptions in them to me from my parents.

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