There seems to be a general assumption that knitters make things primarily for other people. Perhaps because of the steroetypical mental image of the doting grandmother churning out mittens and sweaters and christening robes for their grandchildren, perhaps not. There is also a fair degree of criticism aimed at knitters who knit for themselves, which is rather unfair in my opinion. After all, most people who have creative hobbies don't do it to make gifts for others, they do it for themselves.
Probably half of what I make is for me, and the rest is gifts, intentionally or otherwise. (Sometimes projects just belong to someone else even if they weren't supposed to!) The biggest difficulty for me is balancing the time I spend on each kind of knitting.
My mother is certainly my favourite person to knit for. She likes lots of different kinds of knitwear, and is knowledgeable enough about textiles to be able to tell me exactly what she does and desn't like. She also has similar taste to mine in many things, which means that knitting things for her is fun and not a form of purgatory. (Dr Who Scarf, anyone???) Consequently mum gets most of my knitted gifts. In fact, I have an entire carrier bag full of yarn that is all destined to become mum projects!
My grandmother is a fun person to knit for as well. I haven't knitted much for her yet, but she's loved it all. The trouble with knitting for grammy is that she lives in the South, where it never really gets cold enough for proper knitting...
Various friends get odd things, when I feel like it mostly. I've got a couple lined up for the next few months, including the Holy Grail of yarnery - a crocheted wedding dress. That needs to be finished ASAP, so I'll be spending a lot of my Christmas holiday working on it. I'd like to have it completely done by the end of February at the latest so that the Mother-of-the-Bride has plenty of time to assemble and sew in the lining fabric. (My dressmaking skills are not up to improvising a dress lining, sadly.) And quite a few friends will barter with me. That's rather more satisfying, because I like it when people realize exactly how many hours of my life have gone into making garment x.
My little brother, dearly though I love him, will not be getting my knits. His taste in sweaters is even more boring than mine, he doesn't wear hats, scarves, gloves or mittens, doesn't use anything that requires a cozy, and would destroy a pair of socks faster than I could knit them. Perhaps someday if he decides he needs an ironic teacozy, I'll make him one. Although he was talking about a felted slipcover for his flatscreen TV...
And then there is my husband. Bless him, he loves my needlework. Wears all the garb that I sew for him, thinks my granny square cushion is the best and wants another one, is convinced that socks are too clever for words and doesn't mind the yarn stash. He'd love lots of my knits to wear all the time. Which is great, don't get me wrong. Socks? Fine - we have the same sized feet, so it's no worse than knitting for myself. And he likes hiking socks, so I can make them with worsted instead of fingering. Scarves? He wears the one I crocheted back when we were dating every winter and loves it. He doesn't really need another one. He doesn't wear hats, which is good because his head is enormous. He doesn't do gloves or mittens, although I keep finding patterns for colourwork mittens that he squees over.
No, the problem with my husband is the sweaters. He loves sweaters. He generates a lot of body heat, so will often be running around in winter with just a pullover while I'm shivering in a coat, hat and scarf, so he needs lots. Trouble is, he's a natural fibers man. I made the mistake of picking up some dress shirts once that were a poly/cotton blend and he wore them exactly once before ditching them in favour of some horrifically expensive 100% cotton ones. This would be fine if he didn't wear a L/E-L in sweaters - that much wool is expensive! Plus, it's really hard to find superwash wool in a worsted weight, and I refuse to handwash his sweaters, since they need washing so often.
There's just one other issue. I've married someone who seems to be the only spouse in the entire world of knitting who LOVES really complex Aran sweaters. This would be wonderful, if only I liked knitting cables! They are gorgeous to look at, but so tedious to knit. I showed him a very stylish sweater with a sigle panel of thin cables up the centre - "It's too plain, couldn't you make me one with lots of plaited cables?" Kudos to him for knowing what a plaited cable is, but yeesh!
Ah well. I love him dearly and wouldn't swap him for anything. I will knit him a sweater one of these days, but for now - he's getting a stockinette stitch iPod cozy for Christmas.