We’ve all got one or two on our list — the friends and family members who seem to have everything. Every year we agonize over the perfect gift for these people (some of whom are inordinately talented gift-givers themselves, which just makes it worse). Since I’m always better at solving other people’s problems than I am at addressing my own, allow me to make some suggestions for the tough ones on your gift list.
The stocking stuffer for your sister-in-law (also great for Yankee Swap gifts at work, or book group gifts): Lavishea lotion bars! These delicious-smelling items are non-greasy, so you can moisturize without worrying about your knitting. They come in lovely scents, like Lavender, White Lily & Amber, Coconut Lime Verbena, and Yarn (which smells like almond croissants, in case you were wondering). Perfect for stashing in your knitting bag, Lavishea bars will keep cracked hands at bay this winter with the power of shea butter.
Similarly, our kilt pins (available in two sizes, and either silver or gold finish) make great stocking stuffers for your Scottish uncle anyone who likes a statement piece of jewelry. The pins are elegantly simple on their own, but you could personalize this gift a bit by adding a few beads or charms in the recipient’s favorite color or style. Kilt pins can be worn on the lapel, as a brooch, or can be used as shawl/scarf pins when you want the attention to be on the knitted item.
Kids can be challenging to shop for at the holidays — most seem to have so many toys already! We just got adorable “Top This!” hat kits that come with a multi-color & texture ball of yarn, plus a plush animal that goes on top. You could knit or crochet one of these up in an afternoon for a young child, or use it as a learn-to-craft item for an older child — the rewarding final touch of a cute puppy/kitten/giraffe on top should help fuel their enthusiasm if the going gets tough. For kids who aren’t into hats, the Top This! kits can also be knitted or crocheted into little blankies with a friendly critter at the corner.
And in case fingering weight yarn is more your thing, consider our newest color of Malabrigo Sock: Light of Love. For anyone (teenage or otherwise) who loves pink, this yarn is the answer. It would make wonderful socks or fingerless mitts. Or give the skein to your favorite knitter to let them know how you feel about them.
Your friend loves to shop local, and always enjoys gifts made by local artisans. In this case, the answer is a ceramic yarn bowl by Devenney Pottery. Devenney Pottery is a husband & wife team based in Jefferson, Maine (Hi, Joe & Mary!). They make amazing ceramic items, and their yarn bowls are no exception. My cupboards at home are filled with their mugs, and they also happen to be two of the kindest, most lovely people I know. If you take home one of their yarn bowls for your friend (or for yourself!) you can feel good about supporting a pair of talented local artists.
Finally, the Big Ticket Item. This is the gift for the crafter who has it all, the knitter who wants to try something new. We only have three of them this holiday season, and they’re going to go fast: Schacht Cricket Looms! These 15″ Cricket Looms come with everything you need to start weaving, including yarn, instructions, and project ideas. I’ve been thinking of getting one so I can weave placemats for my mom. It’s a great starter loom, doesn’t take up much space and, at under $200, is a great way for someone to try their hand at a new craft.
Thinking of gifts for everyone can make this time of year feel overwhelming and stressful. Above all, the most important gift you can give your loved ones is the gift of your time. Take a deep breath and remind yourself to be present. Sometimes it’s not about a physical gift, and sometimes people really do already own everything they need or want. For these folks, consider giving a donation in their name to a cause they care about — the Heifer Project allows you to gift a family with a sheep! Or if education is more their thing, you could always give on their behalf to a non-profit like Few For Change. (Ask me about Few For Change whenever you like — my partner Brooks is a board member and I support their work wholeheartedly.)
May your holiday season be stress-free, and full of love, light, and tasty food!
“3 Summer Tops for Staying Cool Despite Rising Global Temperatures”
But while I may one day write those posts (seriously or in jest), I think I have to instead share with you a realization that struck me yesterday: THANKSGIVING IS NEXT WEEK. I know, I know. I was shocked, too. Because right on the heels of Thanksgiving, we have… Holiday Gift Season.
I wanted to make all of my gifts this year. I still might make all of my gifts, because I haven’t actually bought (or made) anyone anything yet. (Sorry, Mom!) My only hope now lies with the hero of quick knitted gifts: Super Bulky (yarn, that is — there isn’t actually a caped crusader named Super Bulky, alas). Super bulky is the procrastinator’s best friend, and also happens to be ideal for our chilly Maine winters. Here is a rundown of a few items I’m considering for my nearest and dearest — maybe they’ll work for yours, too.
This is the Big Chunky Comfy Hat by Erica Kempf Broughton, and it would be divine in Malabrigo Rasta. Add a pompom (homemade or store bought), and you’ve got the hippest hat north of Brooklyn. Any hat done in super bulky will knit up in a couple of hours, and look wicked trendy. Always wanted to learn to make a pompom? Come in this week and say the magic password “fluffy” tell me you saw this post — I’ll do a little free tutorial for you. Pompoms also make fun holiday ornaments and keychain embellishments.
The Drop Stitch Cowl by Abi Gregorio will always be at the top of my gift list. I recently had one of the best experiences a knitter can have — I saw my sister wearing a Drop Stitch Cowl that I made for her 3 years ago. She still has it! And wears it! And loves it! She will get more knit gifts.
This cowl is easy, and great for showing off luxurious solid color yarns, or subtle tonal skeins. I could see this as a one-skein wonder in Berroco Macro, but it would work nicely with any of our super bulky options.
The Azel Pullover by Heidi May is at the top of my to-knit list. Ideally, I’ll get to cast on later this week, and should be done before December 1st. It comes in adult sizes, you guys. This cozy item is not just for adorable, ridiculously stylish children. Paired with boots and jeans or leggings, this is a great gift for teens and adults alike. While a slightly bigger time investment that a hat or cowl, the Azel Pullover is still one of the fastest knits out there, and is super simple — great results with minimal effort. We’ve been suggesting Plymouth Yarns Encore Mega and Encore Mega Colorspun for an inexpensive and machine washable project.
It’s not too late to knit gifts for your loved ones (or for yourself, if you’re an overachiever and feeling calm about the holidays). Grab your size 15 needles and a skein or two of super bulky, and settle in with a good movie — you’ll have a finished item before you know it!