Friday, November 16, 2012

Giftmas Knitting Part III: Gifts for Knitters

Do you have a knitter in your life? Stumped on what to get them this holiday season? Afraid you'll disappoint them with your yarn selection? Fear not. Here's the KnotMagick Top 10 list of things to get your friendly neighborhood knitter (even if you know nothing about yarn):

10. Gift cards
While this might seem like a generic, flake-out type of gift, it can be quite thoughtful IF it comes from the right place. While some knitters prefer to buy their yarn from places like Michael's or Joanns, a better option would be to find their shop of choice--be it a local yarn shop or an online retailer. Not all knit shops are created equal, so by purchasing a gift card for their favorite place, you're ensuring they have access tot he supplies they need, rather than cheap stand-ins. Still in doubt?,, and are all popular sites with knitters.

9. Travel Survival Kit
If your knitter is anything at all like me--or any knitter I've ever met--then she probably has trouble keeping tack of her notions. Stitch markers fall between the couch cushions, the cat makes off with the tape measure, and gnomes steal tapestry needles in the dark of night. Why not get her a cute kit from an Etsy seller, and support small business while you show your appreciation for all of those handmade socks?

8. Blocking tools
In the world of knitting, blocking is frequently one of those little chores many avoid. It's also a place where budget-consious knitters, like myself, can save a few pennies by skipping the fancy tools and McGuyvering a solution--like using old towels or a spare bed as a blocking mat. But when company comes, or the project is just too stubborn for the soft surface or a towel, sometimes something a little fancier is required. Those foam puzzle pieces that are used as floor mats? Great for blocking big projects. Sock blockers help keep socks in shape and give them a longer life. Blocking wires create a nice edge on shawls, and some good T pins are a necessity.

7. A Knitter's care package
Put a basket together with a book of nice patterns, 1-3 balls of yarn, some nice needles and other notions, and maybe some chocolate, a container of tea, and some hand cream. If you're not sure where to start, locate your nearest yarn shop, arm yourself with the recipients favorite colors, yarn brands, fibers, or any fiber allergies, and ask the nice person behind the counter for help in making your selections. Unless they have a severe wool allergy, you can never go wrong with Malibrigo.

6. A yarn club susbcriptionYarn clubs run on 3-12 month cycles, depending on the program, and usually include a specialty yarn, a pattern, and a handful of other goodies that are shipped directly to the knitter on a monthly basis. If you know the knitter's favorite Etsy shop or indie dyer, then this is a great way for her to sample new yarns at relatively low cost, and since packages arrive for several months in a row, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

5. A great knitting bag
Women love bags. Men know this. So why not get her a really nice one that's made with her knitting in mind? Knitpicks has a great selection, but don't forget to check Tom Bihn and Jordana Paige, too.

4. Classes
Every knitter has a skill she or he would like to expand on, so why not help them do that? Pick up a class schedule from the local yarn shop, and go over it with your knitter. Do they want to start knitting with beads, or just learn to tackle a sweater? What about dying? Spinning? Cover the cost of the class and, if possible, materials. Your knitter will tank you. 

3. Swift and ball winder
How about an umbrella swift? These save time and hassle when winding a hank of yarn into a ball, but can be a little pricey for the broke knitter.

Ball winders also save a lot of time and headaches, but if you have to choose just one, I'd go with the swift.

2. Spa day
This doesn't have to be expensive, though a day at the local spa would be nice. It could be something as simple as a night off, a nice shoulder massage and some aromatherapy. Knitting can be hard on shoulders and wrists, so those are key areas for massages. Alternatively, manicures--be they professional or just mother and daughter at home on the couch--are always appreciated.

1. Uninterrupted knitting time
Take a page out of the kid's book and put together some coupons, good for things like shoulder rubs, or blocks of uninterrupted knitting time--not less than 2 hours. No cooking, no cleaning, no childcare--just time to sit back and relax with a ball of yarn.

Hope that helps with some of your gift-giving worries. If you have any other suggestions, leave a comment below. :)

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