How do you all handle requests? I'm running into trouble saying yes too often when I really want to say no. I hate repeating myself so if someone asks, can you make that in whatever color, it makes me cringe but I usually say yes and put the project I really want work on on hold. My mother is the worst offender by the way. It's so hard to say no to my mother, impossible actually. So give me some words to protect myself.


AKQGuy's picture

"Sorry Mum, but I don't want to inherit that from you, lets pick something that will look great on us both"?
In all seriousness though, I offer to teach people how to knit so they can make it themselves. Or in the case of a few point out that they already know how to knit. But that just may be my snarly part of my personality. I'm also not above stating that I have a back log (I really do) of projects that I need to get to. Including another sweater for me thats been on hold for over a year that I'm hpoing I'll get to do after the new year.
Remember that others are rarely going to ask you to do something that you really want to do. I often hold out for intriguing projects that I can learn from. Knit items that you want to knit, items that keep it fun for you since that is why most of us knit.

BrentGC's picture

Well...I don't know how any of this will come across, and my experience, since I'm new to knitting, generally comes from other situations in life.

My first word to That's the easiest, especially if done with a bit of humor, but being confident in your no.

If that doesn't work, then just explain that you're so covered up, that you can't do the proper job on their project that you really want to, right now.

And...if that doesn't work, just take balls of yarn, especially that "cheap acrylic crap" (Nobody hit me please, I use acrylic!!), and wrap them up and stick the wrapping in their mouth until you're ready to do their project. That should get the message across.



Bill's picture

saying No gets a bit easier after a while...
If you think about what you have to give up if you take on the's easier to say no.
...and you should be able to explain to your mother that you're overextended. You may have to complain about exhaustion, your health suffering etc...before you say no...

teejtc's picture

"I'd love to, but I'm afraid I have such a overwhelming backlog of projects that I really can't take another one on right now."

akkamaddi's picture

That is good, but only say it to a friend, family, or someone you like, as it establishes that you are open to taking requests. If it's someone you really don't want to do work for, start with, "I'm sorry, but...". That leaves your openness to requests more vague. If it's someone you don't know well, a bit more assertive is, "I can't. I'm afraid I have...". Starting with a negative sets that tone on the topic of requests.

akkamaddi's picture

I work in I.T., in desktop support, so I get asked to do free home computer work for total strangers quite often. I say almost reflexively, "I'm sorry, but I don't do side work." I have said that to department heads, but I've also been burned on bad situations. It gets easier to say, believe me.

I've only had one knitting request, which ironically I had to say no. It was my aunt asking for a wrap like I made my mom. Little does she know I have one scarf done for her and my uncle (the Tunisian knit) and another in progress (the Row Home Windows) that I want to get finished before it gets cold. That was awkward. I will end up making something for her later, though.

Just be polite, but say no. If you give a reason first, it cuts off argument. "I'm sorry, but I have five projects going and promised eight more in the queue, so I can't for the next few months." There are also websites dealing with inter-office etiquette and co-worker interactions that have very good (and lengthy) advice on how to say no. Google "How to say no in the office" or something similar, or even just "how to say no".

scottly's picture

You all have been so helpful. Knitting is how I relax and center myself and as much as I love to accommodate others I would really like to keep knitting just for me. I think you all have given me a wonderful way to decline in nearly every situatiuon. Thank you!

chipsir's picture

I usually quote a very high price and so far that has put people off. If it doesn't, then I have made myself some tidy cash to buy more yarn lol. The other thing I found works is to tell them to buy the correct yarn in their colour choice but correct weight and content. People generally are to busy to go to a yarn store and get what they need. I have a sister-in-law who is famous for the "what is family discount" and I say to her "the same discount you offer on your cottage rentals". I have yet to knit anything for her. I agree with others here that a firm polite "no" is best and will stop any further requests.

Kerry's picture

I would say "no, but I'll teach you how to do it".

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I usually tell them - as Quinton [and others] do - that I have a lot of projects in the queue and am more than busy enough knitting for myself and gifts. That usually does the trick. As for family members, I have offered to teach one sister to knit the item she wants but she's never actually set aside time to learn. If all else fails..."No" is what they get as a last word on the subject.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

rmbm612's picture

When your avocation becomes stressful, time consuming, under a deadline, an obligation, or something you don't want to do, its not longer a hobby. Its work. I have an occupation and I want to keep the two separate. A simple, polite, "No" is all that needs to be said.

scottly's picture

I've been practicing. I just declined to remake a hat I'd made for a relative who'd lost the original. It was a crochet piece, no pattern and I haven't picked a crochet hook in years except to correct a knitting mistake. To make matters worse it was out of acrylic that horrible fun fur stuff. I didn't know any better at the time. So I said, sorry but I can't.

Bill's picture

...and it "does" get easier...

bobinthebul's picture

I do like the "No, but I'll be glad to teach you to do it" response! But if you've accepted to do something for someone else, and thhey want a hideous color, then the old Turkish proverb "Zevk ve renkler tartışılmaz" definitely applies: "You can't argue about taste or colors." :) (On the other hand, you *can* argue about fibers, especially when they want something in a fiber that just won't work well for the project.)

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Good point about taste and colors. Although, on the flip side, that could be used as incentive to get the project done quickly.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Tom Hart's picture

And there's the Latin chestnut: "De gustibus non disputandum est." (Concerning tastes, it must not be disputed.)

For me it's got to be something that I'm OK with having my name on. I won't do something in a colorway that I think is bad. If someone were to insist on a hideous colorway I'd tell them that I learned to knit off YouTube and they can too. It's just not that hard if you really want to do it.