It’s that time of year

Today marks three months until that day that can strike fear into the hearts and serious delusional thoughts into the minds of some knitters. Thoughts along the lines of “Sure, I can knit a blanket in three months!” (Nope, no speaking from experience here.) That’s right, my friends, it’s three months until Santa shimmies down that chimney and deposits lovingly hand-knit gifts into the hands of your friends and families everywhere.

Or if you’re me and you’ve recognized the relative futility of knitting for family members who live in FLORIDA, he hands over a lovingly sought-out card and it’s enclosed gift card to the book store of your family member’s choice. (I know some people think gift cards are tacky, but seriously, when it’s what they ask for…) This year, I will be knitting my mother a cardigan, but that’s because she specifically asked for it and we worked together to pick out the yarn and pattern, so it will be okay. My dad and my brother? …yeah, I don’t know either.

But this post, this post is not about what I will be making for Christmas, or what you can be making to give to people at Christmas. This post is about presenting ideas for you to give to the knitters in your life (or what to ask for if your relatives ask for gift ideas).

I always think that magazine subscriptions are a great way to go. Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, Verena, Creative Knitting, almost all of the major knitting magazines out there offer subscription services; you just have to pick one! A couple of overseas magazines offer digital subscriptions, too, such as The Knitter and Yarn Forward (you can get hard copy versions as well, but they’re a bit on the pricey side).

Magazines aren’t the only subscriptions you can join, either. Lots of fabulous indie-dyers do yarn clubs, so you or your giftee are guaranteed to receive some lovely, scrumptious yarn in the mailbox every so often. These can be really hard to get into, depending on the dyer, so scope out the rules and regulations of these clubs well in advance.

And speaking of gift cards, if they’re not taboo in your circle of friends, gift cards to the local yarn store are a great idea! If the LYS doesn’t offer gift cards, or you’re in a different city than the giftee and can’t easily procure a gift card in person, many online retailers, such as The Loopy Ewe, Jimmy Beans Wool, WEBS, Eat Sleep Knit, and Yarn Market offer gift certificates and can be delivered presto-chango to your giftee’s inbox (this makes them a pretty great last-minute gift, if you’re overwhelmed with all the holiday spirit).

If you really want to give people a tangible object, here are some of my top wish-list ideas.

Around the World in Knitted Socks by Stefanie van der Linden (Interweave, 2010). I desperately want this book, but I don’t have it (yet). However, Grumperina did a lovely, in-depth review at her blog, so I direct you there. While Grumperina showed photos of many of the patterns in the book (almost all of which make my breath catch just a bit), she did not picture one of my favorite designs, the Far Eastern Flair socks (at right). I love love love the sashiko embroidery.
• Add this book to your Add to an Amazon wishlist.

Toe-Up Socks for Every Body by Wendy D. Johnson (Potter Craft, 2010). Long known in the knitting world as a sock-designing whiz, Wendy published this book full of toe-up sock patterns earlier this year. I do have this book, and believe me, every pattern in it is stunning. It’s a wonderful follow-up to her Socks from the Toe-up, especially for anyone who prefers this method of sock knitting to the cuff-down method.
Add to an Amazon wishlist.

Needles from Signature Needle Arts. They are super pricey, but I feel like they’re worth it if you can find the wiggle room in your budget. I’ve got a set of the stilleto double-points, and they’re super sharp and deliciously smooth, making the yarn slide right along, no problem. But they’re also slightly ridged (fun fact: these needles make a noise if you rub them together, because of the ridging) so your yarn won’t slide right off.

3 AM Enchantments makes awesome project bags that you can buy from The Loopy Ewe. Project bags in general make great gifts, and if you want to make a gift for a person, they’re pretty easy to make, too!

What crafter couldn’t use more stitch markers, too? Etsy is a great purveyor of every kind of stitch marker under the sun. I recommend Scary Merry or Wee Ones. Entrelac is not on Etsy, but she makes fabulous stitch markers that work great for both knitters and crocheters! And I love my stitch-saver from 5 Element Knitr.

Knitwear Design Workshop by Shirley Paden (Interweave, 2010) is at the top of my must haves as far as design-oriented books go. I had a chance to flip through this in person in Hill Country Weavers in Austin, and if you or your giftee have even the slightest interest in designing sweaters, you kind of need this book. Shirley goes through the most versatile sweater constructions, and this book is an incredibly useful tool for any budding designer.
Add to an Amazon Wishlist.

The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design by Shannon Okey (Cooperative Press, 2010) is in the same vein, although from what I’ve heard, Shannon goes a step beyond just helping readers learn to design knitwear, and delves even more into the behind-the-scenes aspects of being a professional knitwear designer. I haven’t had a chance to go spelunking through this book, but I’m keeping an eye out.
Add to an Amazon wishlist.

Brave New Knits by Julie Turjoman (Rodale, 2010) collects some amazing patterns from people all over the blogosphere. Melissa Wehrle, Connie Chang Chinchio, Norah Gaughan, Anne Hanson, Ysolda Teague, Wendy Bernard, etc. And the photography is all by the incomparable Jared Flood, who also contributed a pattern. Each pattern is prefaced with a bit of an introduction to the designer, so it’s really fun to read get even more information. If this isn’t already in your hands, it should be!
Add to an Amazon wishlist

How many of you are going to point out that you’re so amazing, you’re hand-crafting all of your Christmas gifts and started planning months ago? It’s okay if you do. We can still be friends.

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11 thoughts on “It’s that time of year

  1. After two years of almost exclusively handmade gifts, I’m not doing it this year. Very few, if any, of the folks on my list are slated for a handmade gift. Life is just too busy, and I’m simply too slow of a knitter for that sort of stress.

    I do love all of the suggestions on your list, though. This will make my shopping easier for my knit-minded friends.

    And for the record- gift cards are awesome. How is it tacky to give someone the option of NOT having to stand in the return lines in the weeks following Christmas with their unwanted, wrong color, incompatible gifts so they can, ultimately, be given a gift card or store credit? I consider it a gift of efficiency. :)

    • How is it tacky to give someone the option of NOT having to stand in the return lines in the weeks following Christmas with their unwanted, wrong color, incompatible gifts so they can, ultimately, be given a gift card or store credit?

      I’m with you, sister, but apparently there is a prevailing idea (it may be a regional/societal thing) that this is unacceptable for some reason(s).

      I’m glad my list can be of some help!

    • I’m using this essential cardigan and more of the Knit Picks Shine Sport, which I used for my Loop Entrelac Tank (actually, I’m using that same red color; my mom and I think a like!).

      I’ve been wanting to play with Sashiko embroidery for a while, I just haven’t been able to justify spending the money on a kit for another hobby I probably don’t have time for. :\

  2. Awesome post, and I can’t recommend the Toe Up Socks for Everybody enough for the sock knitter in your lives.
    The only time I’ve had an issue with a gift card is when it’s been the exact same thing I’ve gotten for every gift giving chance from the same couple. But honestly? It wasn’t much of a gripe because it was to a book store and I can never have enough books! But maybe switching them up every so often would be good too? It’s still nice to not know *exactly* what it is you are getting after all.
    I’m not hand making anything fibery this year. I’ve been busy making soap, but I won’t be knitting/crocheting for anyone. I like my fibery things to be stress free!

  3. Yeah…I’ve stopped doing handknits for Official Presents. The timing never works out properly, and then I end up either not giving anything, or giving something random that was obviously picked out at the last minute. So the handknit gifts arrive randomly, and if the recipients aren’t okay with that, then they don’t get handknits. Easy-peasy. ;)

    • I like your plan. It’s a good plan. I always have great dreams of making things for people, but then stuff comes up. :(

        • I keep having the desire to knit for babies, and yet not having any time whatsoever. Or feeling like I have no time. And then I feel like I can’t knit for one person’s baby and not another person’s baby, so yeah, no baby knitting happening here.

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