10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter)

I recently wrote about gifts for the librarian in your life. That got me to thinking about gifts for knitters and crocheters. Knitters are often very generous at creating gifts for other people, but what about gifts *for* them? You may need to play detective a little to determine their tastes or to see what gadgets they already have, but I hope this list will offer some inspiration.

If you want to use this list for the knitter in your life I suggest bringing it to your local yarn store, as they are likely to stock some (or all) of these products. I haven’t linked to any specific shops within the post, but you can find a list of yarn shops in Dublin in this post. And if you are a knitter or crocheter, feel free to hint heavily by sharing this post with loved ones. So without further ado….

1. Gift vouchers

This is a controversial one, some people love gift vouchers, others hate them. Me? I love them, because it means I get to pick my own treat. If you feel that gift vouchers are impersonal, at least with a voucher for a yarn shop you can argue that you put some thought into it, rather than getting one for a shopping centre (which I also love, btw).

2. Luxury yarn

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) - Luxury yarnIf you don’t want to buy a gift voucher and you do want to buy yarn, I recommend buying one or two beautiful skeins of luxury hand-dyed yarn. They may seem eye-wateringly expensive to you, but (most) knitters will know and appreciate the value of such a gift. If you want some Irish dyed yarn Coolree, Dublin Dye Company, Hedgehog Fibres and Townhouse Yarns jump to mind, although there are others. I suggest checking to see if your knitter has particular colour or fibre preferences.

3. Wool wash

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) - soak wool washMost knitted items need to be handwashed rather than machine washed. But handwashing is a pain in the ass (pardon my French). Wool wash is a non-rinse detergent, perfect for delicate items. Brands that I’m familiar with include Soak and Eucalan. These can be used on any clothes that require handwashing and I often bring a bottle on holidays incase I need to wash any of my clothes in the sink. It’s also lovely to pop a drop of it in the water when soaking knitting, ready for blocking.

4. Blocking Wires

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) blocking wires

Blocking is a magic thing – magic! This is the process whereby you soak a knitted item and then pin it to the shape or size that you want. When it’s dry the fibres hold this shape. It’s kind of like ironing for knitting. You can block items without wires, but they are particularly helpful when blocking lace. [Image courtesy of Inspinknity]

5. Yarn winder and swift

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) yarn swiftHave you ever seen yarn in a hank? This is when the yarn is twisted lightly into a kind of plait (like in the photos above). Well you have to wind the yarn into a ball before knitting it. Just as blocking doesn’t require wires, winding doesn’t require a winder and swift – but it’s a hell of a lot easier if you have them. The swift is the yoke that reminds me of a washing line, which holds the yarn and spins around as you wind the yarn on the, well, yarn winder.

6. Knitting needle/ crochet hook sets

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) Crochet hook set from knitproA set of knitting needles or crochet hooks is more useful for a beginner, who may not have built up a large range of sizes already. Most yarn shops will stock sets in a pretty (and useful) presentation box. I’d advise checking first if your knitter prefers straight (no cable) or circular (joined with a cable) needles before investing in a set.

7. Interchangeable knitting needles

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) knitpro interchangeable needlesI use my set of Knitpro interchangeable needles pretty much exclusively. You may be familiar with the knitting needles joined by a cable, but did you realise that there are many lengths of cables, depending on the type of project the knitter is working on? Well there are! And interchangeable needles mean you don’t need multiple lengths in each needle size. You just choose your needle size and add it to the required cable length. You can buy sets of these in pretty presentation boxes, or you can buy individual tips and cables to expand the set. As well as Knitpro needles I’ve heard of Addi Clicks, although I’m sure there are others.

8. A yarn bowl

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) wooden yarn bowlI’m lucky enough that my father-in-law is a super talented wood-turner and made my my very own yarn bowl. I love my yarn bowl and use it all the time. You can find lots of different examples on Etsy or you could contact a local potter or wood turner if you were feeling particularly generous. Again, this isn’t necessarily a cheap option, but your recipient is sure to love theirs as much as I love mine.

9. Knitting related stuff

10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) Debbie Bliss mugA few knitters I know have expressed interest in these tea towels and mugs from Debbie Bliss, however I have to say I think they are a bit pricey. Having said that if someone else was to buy them for me, I would be absolutely delighted. I particularly like this London brick knitting needle holder.

I love tote bags and have ones from Loop London and Purl Soho in New York, these would also make great gifts. Most yarn shops will have some kind of knitting related paraphernalia, often locally produced, so just ask.

10. Stocking fillers

  • 10 Gifts for Knitters (curated by a knitter) Stitch markersButtons make great stocking fillers for the knitter in your life. I’m talking cute buttons, or unusual buttons, not a packet with 6 plain black buttons. I often see lovely handmade buttons at craft markets or in craft shops (and I am rarely able to resist them).
  • Stitch markers would make another nice stocking filler. You’ll find all sorts of handmade ones on Etsy or in your local yarn shop. My favourite ones are those made from wire. If you’re buying for a crocheter make sure you go for split ring markers.
  • Project bags are great for knitters who regularly have multiple projects on the go. Julie says they don’t even have to be actual project bags – any little drawstring pouch and sometimes toiletry bags are perfect!
  • Other bits of pieces that knitters “need” are called notions. These include tins or boxes to store stitch markers and needles and interchangeable needle stops. How about some tiny embroidery scissors, a cute measuring tape or needle size gauge thingy.

If you have any further suggestions leave them in the comments please and I’ll add them to the post.

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10 Gifts for Librarians (curated by a librarian)

The other day on Twitter I spotted a link to a list of gifts for librarians. Well of course I clicked through but as often happens I was underwhelmed with the list I found. So I decided to create my own list. I already have a Pinterest board that I pin library related stuff to and I also looked on Etsy, which is my absolute favourite place to look for quirky, unique and handmade gifts. So without further ado….

1. Vintage Library Card Catalogue from Prosser Bros Vintage

ProsserBrosVtg Vintage Library Card CatalogueAnd I mean a real, actual card catalogue. I want one. I want one so bad. If you love the librarian in your life this is what you will get them.

2. A vintage glasses necklace from Vector Cloud

Vector Cloud Vintage Glasses NecklaceVector Cloud don’t have this necklace in their shop at the moment, but you can do what I did and ask Amelia to make a custom necklace for you. I *love* mine.

3. Leather Book Necklace from Nicopapergoods

Nicopapergoods Leather Book NecklaceSwoon!! Have you ever seen anything so lovely? It’s a real actual book, with a lovely leather cover and blank pages inside – as a necklace. Stunning.

4. Love Your Librarian Womens Pullover from Alison Rose

AlisonRose Love Your Librarian Womens Pullover,I want one. That is all. They also do the same motif on a tote bag, a women’s tshirt and a men’s tshirt. But I really love the look of this jumper, as I don’t really wear tshirts.

5. Stitching in the Stacks from Cooperative Press

Stitching in the StacksI’m a knitter and a librarian. This book was written for librarian knitters just like me. The book is available as a print book or a pdf.

6. Embossing stamp from Exlibris

ExLibrisShop Embossing seal or round stampIf you own a book it’s nice to put your name on it, provenance of books is very important as every librarian knows. This stamp allows the recipient to emboss their books with their very own ‘Ex Libris’ seal. Fab! (‘Ex libris’ means ‘From the library of’ in latin. You’ll find it written inside a lot of antiquarian books.)

7. Vintage Inspired ‘From the Library of’ Personalised Self Inking Stamp from Rosso Stamp Co.

RossoStampCo Vintage Inspired From the Library of Personalized Self Inking StampIf you don’t want to shell out for an embossing stamp, why not get an ‘Ex Libris’ ink stamp. There are lots to choose from on Etsy and this one is personalised with the recipient’s name.

8.Library Card Notebooks from Meow Kapow

MeowKapowShopHow about these cute library card notebooks? There are a lot of versions on Etsy but I particularly like these ones because the pages inside are blank.

9. Personalised pencils from Nevina & Thom

NevinaandThom customised pencilsIt’s not nice to write on books in pen (library patrons are you listening!?), so why not get the librarian in your life some personalised pencils. This is also a nice idea for archivists, who also use pencils daily in their work. Myself and a librarian friend got these for our archivist friend and boss and I’m pretty sure she liked them.

10. Old Books Scented Soy Candle Frostbeard Studio

Frostbeard Old Books Scented Soy CandleEvery librarian loves the smell of books. Fact. I think it’s in out genes or something. I haven’t actually smelled these candles but I love the idea of them.

PS. Caroline from Libraries and Labyrinths has also suggested fabulous faux book covers for e-readers from the British Library.

If you have any further suggestions leave them in the comments please.

Christmas Cowls

Christmas CowlsIt seems a bit – odd – to be blogging about Christmas presents after Christmas, but there you have it. In the last two weeks running up to Christmas I decided that instead of making ornaments  as gifts it would be much quicker to knit something else. The quickest thing I’ve ever knit was a cowl for my hubby. Then I remembered that I had three balls of chunky Garnstudio DROPS Andes in cream that I had bought to make a hot water bottle cover for myself, as well Chunkylicious cowl that I made for Knitmas.

Christmas Cowls 004So three cowls for three friends were knit, using the cream as the base with splashes of red in different places to make each one individual. For the middle cowl in the photo I simply cast on 75 stitches and knit in the round alternating between red and cream. The edges roll nicely on this one and I hope the alpaca wool blend will be nice and toasty for the recipients.

Christmas Cowls 010Inspired by some of the gorgeous wrapping on Pinterest I decided to wrap my presents in brown paper and tie the packages up with yarn, both of which I already had at home. For gift tags I used some Christmassy card I had in my stash and cut them to vaguely resemble luggage tags. Then I used a hole punch to create a hole at the top and looped the yarn through the hole before tying in a bow. I’m really happy with how they turned out.