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In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) signifies the official start of the holiday shopping season. In the spirit of keeping the holidays a little more handmade and small business and a little less mass produced and corporate, I’m sharing several holiday gift guides today.
Great Gifts for Yarncrafters
There are so many great gifts out there for yarncrafters that I hardly know where to begin.
Books are great gifts for yarncrafters, but with so many options out there, it can be hard to choose.
- Cooperative Press has a great selection of amazing books, including some only available for pre-order. They will be having all kinds of sales and giveaways for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so check their website for details. Beyond Knit and Purl by Kate Atherley looks like it will be fun.
- For newbies, check out my lists of must-have beginner books for crocheters and knitters.
- New releases are also good options since they may be overlooked by crafters busy shopping and crafting for others. My top picks for crocheters are Crochet Stitches VISUAL Encyclopediaby Robyn Chachula (reviewed here) and Crocheted Softies by Stacey Trock (to be reviewed on December 10). My top picks for knitters are Knit Local by Tanis Gray (reviewed here and even better when paired with a skein of locally produced yarn) and Knitting Stitches VISUAL Encyclopedia by Sharon Turner (reviewed here).
CRAFT magazine posted a Craft Kits gift guide for 2011. Here are some of my favorites.
- Learn to spin with a drop spindle kit from Maine Woods Yarn and Fiber.
- Start dyeing yarn with blanks from KnitPicks and one of their many dye kits.
- Crochet amigurumi with a kit from Fresh Stitches.
- I’m selling a Beginner’s Guide to Tunisian Crochet kit with hooks in my Etsy shop.
Classes are so fun! Not only can you learn new techniques and projects, but you get to meet more people who share your passion for knitting and crocheting.
- Support the Local Yarn Shop near the recipient by signing up for classes on-site – perhaps as part of your Small Business Saturday shopping!
- There are still available classes for Vogue Knitting Live 2012 in New York City.
- Make a vacation of it! All Things Fiber Camp is an all-inclusive vacation for yarn crafters and the John C. Campbell Folk School offers great weeklong and weekend classes. (I’ll be teaching crochet classes at both locations in 2012 and beginner knitting at ATFC.)
- Edited to add: For Thanksgiving and Black Friday ONLY, if you email your All Things Fiber Camp registration to [email protected] and follow up with a $100 deposit by December 2, you can take 25% off registration!
- If you are anywhere near New York City, the Lion Brand Yarn Studio offers over 100 classes each month!
- Online classes are available at Craftsy and Crochetville.
Most yarncrafters are always on the look out for new (and more) yarn. Buying yarn for someone else can be daunting though.
- Look for tips for color and yarn weight in their Ravelry project pages.
- Or pick up something unique, like a handspun or hand dyed yarn, or something that isn’t available in their community, like small batch yarn ordered online.
- Check Ravelry’s Black Friday Yarn Sale thread in Needlework on the Net for weekend sales.
- I’ve had the pleasure of being introduced to some wonderful yarns from several small companies this year. You may want to check out A Stash Addict, Bitsy Knits, or Chopped Tomatoes Design Kitchen. Other yarns that I’ve admired from a distance but haven’t yet tried include Candy Skein, Funky Monkey, and Swoon Fibers.
- A gift certificate to a LYS is another option, if you are worried about making the final decision yourself.
- And, of course, I wrote about my favorite yarns here if you are still looking for ideas.
Hooks and Needles
Crochet hooks and/or knitting needles make great gifts, especially if you pick out something special.
- Interchangeables: The Denise Interchangeable Crochet Hook Kit is great for standard crochet, Tunisian crochet, double-ended crochet, and knooking (knitting with a crochet hook). I’ve heard good things about the Knitpicks interchangeable knitting needle kits, too.
- The Tulip Etimo is a great comfort crochet hook, and Fresh Stitches recently did a weeklong Ultimate Crochet Hook Review. Check it out if you are looking for crochet hook ideas.
- Try square knitting needles from Laurel Hill or Kollage. They are comfortable to use and great conversation starters.
- For really unique crochet hooks, check out Citadel Jewelry or visit Dee Stanziano‘s new blog, Dee’s Hooks & Stitches, dedicated to her hook collection.
Show Your Appreciation
Making things by hand is a labor of love. Show your appreciation with a set of This Took Forever woven labels from Sublime Stitching and maybe you’ll get a homemade gift in return :).
Does your favorite yarncrafter have a wishlist? I rely on the Add to Amazon Wishlist browser button to keep my wishlist organized in one spot. (Hint: If you are a yarncrafter hoping people will get you awesome holiday gifts, maybe you should do that, too! You can even add patterns from Ravelry so that non-members can see them from the pattern purchase page.)
Enjoy the last gift guide, and feel free to share your favorite gifts for yarncrafters in the comments!