When you look back on a lifetime and think of what has been given to the world by your presence, your fugitive presence, inevitably you think of your art, whatever it may be, as the gift you have made to the world in acknowledgment of the gift you have been given, which is the life itself.... That work is not an expression of the desire for praise or recognition, or prizes, but the deepest manifestation of your gratitutde for the gift of life.
Many years ago Meg Swansen suggested that we knitters sign our garments. I was enchanted by pictures I saw of her initials inserted into the "seam line" of her Russian Prime Sweater and I vowed to sign all my work from then on.
Inserting initials and dates can become a game in itself--not unlike trying to find the name Nina in Al Hirschfeld's caricatures (Hirschfeld used to hide the name of his daughter in his drawings--usually there would be a small numeral beside his name to let you know how many times he played this trick).
A friend of mine who grew up in a very large family with little money or attention cried when she saw John's name knitted into the sweater I made for him---having a garment that is so very much one's own touched her deeply.
In Homespun Handknit, Janet Russell wrote: "I usually knit the name of the recipient into the hem of the cap, since this small extra effort is guaranteed to turn him or her into a jelly of gratitude."
And aren't those very old Swedish sweaters with the date and the owners' initials prominently set front and center just absolutely adorable? You can see a modern version here. Or the many wonderful mittens with a name or a date knit in. Somehow they are the memorable ones, so clearly can I visualize the knitter and the recipient.
Here's a gallery of some of my signatures:
On the sleeve--the birds do occur anywhere else in this sweater
Right under the armpit because I nearly forgot
At the nape of the neck
Go ahead. Deviate from the instructions--add your own stamp to your knitting. Stand proud, honor your life, your "fugitive presence," and know that for decades to come people will appreciate this small act of independence.