It's not his fault. I don't blame him one bit. It is possible that no non-knitter, or at least no non-crafter, would get it. Last night when I showed him my SKP in progress, the one with all the cotton/wool blend yarn (that I picked despite that nagging part of my brain that told me it wasn't a good idea to substitute in a cotton yarn...) and all the ends that need to be woven in, and all the places where I have woven in the yarn and it's not staying woven in properly but popping through the rightside and generally making bumpy, ugly stitches, you know, that one? I showed it to him and said, "Don't tell me it will be fine, just look at this." And he looked and he said, "It will be fine. It's homemade."
Yes, BUT! I know what he means. It's homemade with love and attention and the best of intentions and no one should expect it to be perfect and the recipient will love it anyway. Okay, I get that. BUT. I want it to be known for being "Hand-Knit" not "Home-Made." This isn't kindergarten where everything is lovely because it's finger-painted with gusto. A better comparison, in my mind, is home-cooked food. What do you hear about home-cookin'? That it's great, it's wonderful, it's better than a restaurant, it's better than the freezer aisle offerings at the grocery store. No one (except my husband) ever says it's home-cookin', made with love, doesn't matter that it doesn't taste that good. You know? I'm going for great home-cookin' here! I don't want my quaint, finger-painted offering to be adored because I tried so hard!
So, two lessons learned the hard way here...DON'T use cotton yarn (even when it's 25% merino wool) for your first major project unless the pattern calls for it. If you don't heed lesson one at least remember lesson two, defy the pattern and make sure your yarn ends end up in place that doesn't matter, rather than the part of the piece that people will notice first!
Oh, and one more thing? Let your loved one's know that you are working on a hand-knit project, not a home-made project. They might not know the difference, but you will.