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For The Unselfish Knitter - Kar{e}tpostal Care Tags by Über den Traum

I admit it.  I am a selfish knitter.  I knit primarily for myself, and when I imagine that maaaaybe I could take the time to create something for someone else, it has to break all possible Barriers of Importance.

Like a shawl for my dear friend Christina's wedding:

See my blog post about the Dolce Vita shawl here.

Or a baby cardigan for my dear friend Eva's first sprout!

See my blog post about the Friedrich cardigan here.

When I first started using Ravelry (the buzzing online knit and crochet community), I immediately joined the group "Selfish Knitters and Crocheters".  First, the name was highly amusing... but second, I realized I really wasn't alone in my narcissism.  The group has 8726 members, and that is a hefty number for Ravelry!  Here is a hilarious snapshot of some recent discussion topics:

You see, there's a problem with knitting for others.  Some people are the greatest gift recipients in the universe and your heart overflows with warmth when their eyes light up while holding their new handknit shawl.  But then there are the others who simply don't understand the work that went into the item, and you can see that pretty clearly in their eyes as well.  In fact, Ravelry forums are filled with some rather shocking stories of how knitted gifts are received!

But I'm starting to see another side of it.  Making a gift for someone isn't any different really than buying one, in that they could just as easily not like what you bought, and you could just as easily have spent hours trying to pick it out.  I mean (and this is a more wide-ranging question) why do we need to care at all what someone does with an item once it has passed from our hands to theirs?  I have always loved the act of giving gifts, from when I was a kid traipsing through the mall trying to find the perfect scrunchie for a Christmas gift (yes, it was the 90s).  In fact I prided myself on finding good gifts, no matter how long it took.  I need to bring that giving element into my knitting obsession!

What better way to celebrate my new desire to be a more UNselfish knitter than to find a great gift tag for these future Charitable Acts?

One of the scariest things about giving knitted gifts is explaining in a simple way how to care for an item. Unfortunately, the most beautiful yarns of all are the most difficult to care for, and if the giftee is not a knitter, it's not always clear how to convey the right information.

Über den Traum, an Etsy store run by a mother-daughter team from Greece, has come up with a lovely alternative!  Their Kar{e}tpostal Care Tags are .pdf template printables which provide an array of whimsical hand-drawn images for different fabric care instructions.  Scroll down for a 10% off code exclusive for my followers!

After printing, you simply circle or check the icons that apply to your gift, and your recipient will be "in the know", NO EXCUSES.  And believe me, they will also enjoy the time looking carefully at the sweet little icons too, as there are little hand-drawn mysteries in each one:

Let me show you some of these icons in detail. For the temperature symbols, the images depict a variety of oceanic landscapes:

From the chilly rocky coast...

...and blustery European seas... the warmer diving waters...

...and balmy islands!

I love the low temperature iron setting, decorated with slowly flapping bunting, implying that not much heat is reaching them...

...the drying settings (watch out Indiana Jones!!!)...

...and the instruction to dry flat where a little cat  has decided to lay right on top of your blocking!

The fronts of the tags come with several colored notecard options, with or without lines, where you can mark the name of the recipient and more info.  However, you could easily also print the care side only and leave the front entirely blank or personally embellished.  (Where's my Dayana Knits rubber stamp??)

Photo from Über den Traum

Photo from Über den Traum

I only have a black and white printer.  I found the tags/cards to be to floppy on regular paper, but discovered I could buy firm card stock for only ~15 cents per sheet at the photocopy shop.  Simply print them out double-sided and there are lines to guide your cuts.

For those of you in North America, remember that the paper is A4 size, and you must check "shrink to fit" so that they fit on 8.5" x 11" paper!

This is my next gift, Balkan (a pattern by Brandon Mably) for my husband.

Despite the "gift wrapping" only the back and half of the front are done, don't get excited!  :)  But I wanted to wrap it up and see what it looked like with the care tag.  If you recognize the flowers, yes, they are from my blog header!  It's the two week window of Siberian Squill at McGill University.  Every year I photograph something in those flowers, last year it was my Rhea top.  It was definitely NOT warm enough to wear that this year!

See my blog post on the Rhea top by Marie Wallin, here.

Guess what?  Über den Traum is offering a discount to my followers who purchase this  card set!  

Visit their Etsy shop listing here and use the code DAYANA10 for a 10% discount.  The code lasts until August 2, 2014 and you will be e-mailed the .pdfs immediately upon purchase.  I hope some of you would like to try these cuties out!

Visit Über den Traum on Etsy


  1. Thank you, it's a very very good idea ;-)
    Best wishes,

    1. I'm glad you like it -- there are some other tags like this around, but these are definitely the cutest.

  2. These are an awesome idea! Thanks for the discount code. :-)

  3. What a fabulous idea! But more importantly I love how Balkan is coming along and how the contrasting yarn switches from lighter to darker. Love that. I can't wait to see it finished. It might just have to go on my To Do list.... but then again I want to knit for me!!

    1. YES, it is so enjoyable. I had to frog a whole good bunch of the front though, as I had missed a row far down and I couldn't stand it! I should have front and back blocked by the end of the week. I have to finish it sooner than later, or B. will not be able to model it in the heat!

  4. As a fellow selfish-knitter-at-heart who finds herself knitting for other people all too often, these care tags are wonderful! I especially love the tiny cat happily napping on top of the knitting - that's commitment to accuracy right there :)

    The Balkan is looking beautiful so far, I can't wait to see what it will look like when finished.

    1. I'm glad you like the tags, the cat is really perfect! I've seen other tags on the internet, but just the regular boring symbols.

  5. This sweater is going to be gorgeous. Good for you! It is a lot of work to put into a gift for someone else! Love the care tags, that is a wonderful idea!

    1. Thanks Leah -- he has proven to be an excellent recipient, otherwise.... no knits for you!

  6. Just bought the label with the care instructions. I had always put a ball band with the garment. These will be easier to read.
    quilterdawn on Ravelry

    1. Oh cool! The ball band inclusion is always a good idea I never think of. I think it's because I just throw them away... next time I won't.

  7. I began my knitting life, knitting only for others, mainly the sister. But now most of my knitting is selfish. Sometimes I do things backwards.
    Love the idea of those care instruction tags. My favorite is the cat laying down!
    Already the progress on your sweater is fantastic. Something about knitting for loved one, who will appreciate it, is priceless.

    1. "My Sister's Knitter" that's where it comes from!! /big revelation/ :D I agree, you knit your feelings for the person into the garment -- if you know they will appreciate it, none of the time is wasted!

  8. The care tags are really cute. Great idea! But possibly your interest in them show you've also got a bit of an unselfish knitter streak in you!

  9. I love the care tags! So true that many non-knitter gift receivers are not in the know. I am also in your boat in that I love to give gifts. Its something I enjoy immensely, even more than receiving. I love the look people have on their faces when they open something you've spent time picking out and it is simply perfect. I am also with you in that I do have a hard time giving knitted gifts to those I don't always deem worthy...or I will make them something small in maybe not the nicest yarns...Maybe I can take your mindset and not worry (too much) about what happens to my gifts after they have reached their new homes. Thanks for posting! --Jenna


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