When I was 29 (almost two decades ago) I quit smoking—one of the hardest things I'd ever done. I rewarded myself by knitting as much as I wanted to. Up until then I'd been too broke to justify nice yarn, but when you stop buying smokes, money goes a lot farther.

New knitters are so eager in their gifting, aren't they? It's a wonderful thing to watch: their first wonky scarves going to mothers or grandmothers, their first hole-ridden hats going to dads and brothers.

The right kind of person wears whatever you make them. A great friend will receive a felted pair of slippers the size of the Grand Canyon and immediately tear off her shoes and proclaim them just the right fit. A beloved sibling will put on the neon-blue muppet-like sweater and not take it off till the spring thaw.

But not everyone is worthy of being knitted for.