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Gifts for Crafters: A (Mostly) Helpful Guide

I know I've already talked about what to give people (or not give them) if you're a crafter.  There are few things better than making something with your hands to let someone know that you want them to have something special.

But there are a few things better than that, and I have to say that being on the receiving end of that love and talent is one of those great things.  So today, we're going to talk about what to give yarncrafters!  And when I say "yarncrafters" or "crafters," I really mean any person who does anything with yarn--weaving, crocheting, Knooking, loom knitting, maybe even needle point.  I just don't have the time or space to write that out every time, so we're going to say "crafters" and every time you see that word you can just replace it with "Amy," who is your weaving friend who should get a really amazing present this season. 

So here's my list of suggested gifts for yarncrafters.

Yarn.  This one can be a bit tricky.  You want to make sure that you get the right yarn--right fiber, right brand, right colors, etc.  This seems like a no-brainer gift, but you actually need to be pretty careful.  If you only see your aunt crocheting with blue acrylic blends, would a couple of skeins of brown alpaca annoy her--or blow her mind with how great and unexpected it is?  It depends on your aunt.  Know your crafter.  Think about his or her preferences, and make note of phrases like "I hate working with cotton yarn!/I love Vanna's Choice!/Did you know they can make yarn from cat hair?"  Take a surreptitious cell phone picture of a yarn label if need be.  Proceed from there, and  proceed with caution.  If you're concerned about how much yarn to buy a person, get more.  (And go ahead and keep the receipt with the gift, just in case.)

Gift certificate.  If the yarn-buying process seems a bit intimidating, go with a gift certificate to a local yarn store or a gift card to a big box craft store.  Part of me wants to encourage everyone in the world to hit up their local yarn store (LYS) and support local businesses and buy beautiful things.  But another part of me understands that sometimes yarn stores aren't close, and sometimes those great big stores have just what you need.  Either way, fund your yarncrafter's yarn-loving endeavors.  Whenever I hear people talk about their purchases, it doesn't seem to matter if they've spent $10 or $100--either way, they'll feel a little sheepish (no pun intended) about spending money on it.  So make some folks happy and give the money to spend on themselves.  There could be a gift in it for you later in the year.

Yarn crafting tools.  I'll be honest, this is tricky.  I thought about writing "needles," but don't do that.  Just don't.  Needle preferences are so personal!  You've got metal, aluminum, wood, straight, circular, tiny, long, multi-colored, plastic, interchangeable, double pointed and on and on and on!  This is why I said "gift certificate."  I feel stressed trying to pick out needles--even when I know what I need!  You couldn't pay me to buy some for a crafter with pre-existing preferences.  But tools in general? Awesome.  Tape measures can be cute now!  I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't used any links so far.  I probably won't link to many businesses.  I feel like the list is more effective this way, and I don't want to write a list that doesn't apply to your crafter.  I could do a whole post on adorable sheep tape measures, but if  your crafter thinks those are dumb (gasp!) then I didn't help.  Just use Google or etsy to help you and start searching for some kind of amazing things.  Or check out a craft store and beg for help from some kindly, knowledgeable soul.  Yarn crafting tools include:

  • stitch markers
  • row counter
  • needle cases those millions of wayward needles
  • needle gauge
  • scissors
  • tape measure
  • cases for holding these little odds and ends

Which brings me to my next one: project bags!  Does your yarncrafter already have a project bag?  S/he probably needs more.  This is because most people have more than one project going at any given time.  Project bags keep your project, needles, and pattern all together and safe.  They protect your handiwork from the rest of the snagging, dirty, sticky stuff that's flying around in purses, car floors, or homes.  People with pets and/or children especially need project bags.  I love mine.  All of them.  Anything can become a project bag as long as there's no Velcro, so don't feel limited by just the craft aisle of the store. 

The Knook.  Yes, I realize it's a shameless plug (and a link) but this is the Leisure Arts blog after all.  If you've noticed a crocheter wistfully checking out a lot of knitting designs lately, the Knook might make a great gift for him!  There's even a kid's version!  You could wrap up a Knook set with a couple of pattern books and yarn, and give a really great gift.  I love when gifts are all packaged together.  It doesn't take that much extra time, but it's a really thoughtful gesture and looks really great when you open it.  If you put everything together in a project bag you could win Christmas.  Man, that's an awesome gift.

 Books.  Have you looked at pattern books lately?  They are gorgeous.  Does your person love baby gifts?  Afghans? Socks?  Amigurumi?  Crazy complicated Fair Isle projects?  There are books for these things.  Dozens and dozens of books.  Find out what your yarncrafter likes (again, you're going to have to be stealthy and actually pay attention when s/he is talking about yarncrafting) and look for books on that.  Then buy them and give them as gifts.  Watch the ensuing joy explosion.

DIY.  For whatever reason, most crafters don't always get a lot of handcrafted stuff themselves.  I listened to a knitting podcast last year where the two hosts shared their favorite Christmas gifts, and high on both of their lists were the knitted gifts they'd made each other.  One girl knitted a hat and one girl knitted a pair of socks.  If I remember this right, they both cried.  It's a rare thing to get a handmade gift, period.  It's an even rarer thing when people assume you'll just make anything you want for yourself.  If you could sew that project bag, or crochet a tiny gift card holder, or make some slapped-together felt ornament to top your gift you could probably make your yarncrafter's whole holiday.

 I hope this list was at least somewhat helpful!  It's the time of year where there are tons of lists like this all over blogs and podcasts, but I guess I just wanted to join the fray.  Also, my birthday and Christmas are coming up and I've been reading and hearing these lists, so I've got the gimmes like crazy.  All this thinking about stuff I want made me want to articulate some things other crafters might want.  Like I said, I thought it might be unhelpful to link to specific etsy shops because sometimes I click those links and while those artisanal hardwood crochet hooks are beautiful, they can also be pretty pricey and not quite everyone's (project) bag.  So start brainstorming (if you haven't already)!  Think about your budget and your gift recipient and his/her tastes and take it from there.

Good luck and happy holidays!

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