I always feel like a bit of an oddball this time of year when everyone’s talking about their holiday gift knitting — and I’m blogging about what patterns you might choose — while I’m just not really a gift knitter. In my defense, we’re not a gifty family. Even in years when we’re together for Hannukah or Christmas (we have contingencies that are variously observant of both) we either don’t do gifts or we draw names and only have one person to find something for. And Bob and I established a tradition long ago of either buying something we both want/need for our home or taking a little trip or … nothing.
But even if we were a fervent gift-giving clan, I don’t think I’d be gift knitting. The pressure! I do sometimes knit for other people — like the hats I knitted my sister’s whole family for spring break, or the vest currently on my needles for my husband, above — but we’ve talked before about the fact that I’m what’s known as a “selfish knitter,” and I don’t apologize for it. For one thing, I’m attempting to make most of my own clothes, so my rate of production has mattered. For another, what motivates me to knit is wanting to possess the finished thing. Knitting something for someone without knowing if they even want it is hugely demotivating for me. And the minute I tell someone I’ll knit whatever for them, I no longer want to do it; once it becomes an obligation, the thrill is gone. I’ve happily and successfully knitted things for others, or given things away after the fact; and I’ve knitted things for other people that are languishing in a drawer somewhere. So I know both the joys and the disappointments. But it’s mostly just not what knitting is about, for me. I’m reluctant to use the buzzword “self-care,” but knitting is a thing I do for myself, on all the levels. I’ve had this idea for years that I could start a tradition of knitting one thing each year, one recipient, and cycle through my loved ones. Maybe I’ll try to think of Bob’s vest as the first of those! (To be clear, I have no regrets or complaints about this vest: I can’t wait to see it on him.)
As always, I ask these questions because I love nothing more than how different we all are, and love hearing all the differing perspectives and experiences. So that’s my Q for You today: Are you a gift knitter? And if so, what are you knitting?
Cheers and happy Friday, everyone!
PREVIOUSLY in Q for You: What sells you on a pattern?
Having discussed pattern ideas for quick gift knits (hats, fingerless mitts and cowls), let’s talk about the people you’re not knitting for! Not to mention your own wish list. We’ve got gifts for everyone and every budget at Fringe Supply Co., and I thought it might be helpful to break it down by price range, starting with the stocking stuffers above.
I haven’t made a proper Wish List PDF this year, but you could print out this guide and check off your wishes, then leave it lying around for your loved ones to find!
STOCKING STUFFERS (PACKAGE TOPPERS, GROUP GIFTS …)
o Stitch markers & removable stitch markers — $5-$6
o Lykke “Driftwood” circs, straights, DPNs, tips and crochet hooks — $6-$16
o Wooden gauge ruler — $8
o Scissors — $8-$11.50
o Enamel pins — $10
o Tulip tapestry and sashiko needles — $9
o Fringe Supply Co. memo book (with or without leather cover) — $10-$32
o Etta + Billie & Little Seed skin balms — $11-$15
o Repair hooks (set of 3) — $14
o Leather stitch marker pouch w/markers — $29
o Gift certificate
ALSO UNDER $30
o Fringe Supply Co. notebooks — $14-24
o Bento Bags (various sizes and fabrics) — $20-24
o Totes, assorted — $20-25
o Fringe Supply Co. canvas tool pouch — $24
o Fringe Supply Co. canvas drawstring bag — $26
(see also: Books!)
$50 TO $100
o Leather tool pouch — $64
o Field Bag (canvas, waxed canvas, “Hank” print) — $65-$75
o Mini Porter — $68
o Porter Bin — $85
o Town Bag — $95
(see also: Kits of all kinds!)
$100 TO $150
Lykke “Driftwood” needle sets:
o DPNs, small set — $100
o DPNs, large set — $125
o Interchangeable needles, standard tips – $125
o Crochet hooks set — $100
o Interchangeable needles, short tips — $100
o Straight needles set — $150
I hope that’s helpful! What’s on your list?
OK, trying to stick to my Monday brief about these gift knit suggestions being pulled from relatively new patterns (i.e., those I haven’t managed to get into the blog yet this year) means these are perhaps not the world’s quickest cowl patterns. You could certainly find faster ones out there (ahem) but these are situated comfortably on the fast <–> interesting continuum! For the previous gift-knitting installments this week, see Hats and Fingerless Mitts.
TOP: Mason by Julie Hoover is a simple stockinette funnel at chunky gauge with a little slipstitch colorwork for interest
MIDDLE LEFT: Flying Solo by Espace Tricot is written for two strands of shifting shades to create an ombré but could also be done in a single strand of worsted. This one I actually favorited and forgot at the end of last year, which is hard to believe since it ties right into the whole dickey conversation (free pattern) — pardon me while I cast on
MIDDLE RIGHT: The Shift by Andrea Mowry is the biggest commitment of the bunch, an oversized bandana shape, but seems like it would be so much fun — more slipstitch action
BOTTOM: Sten by Renate Yerkes is double-knit in contrasting shades of worsted for a two-sided cowl
I hope that all gives you some ideas, whether for yourself or others!
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites / Gift Knits: Fingerless mitts
Next up in this week’s short series of quick gift-worthy knits: fingerless mittts! My favorite snack-sized knitting. Mitts are beloved by all (or at least most!), although they can be a little more knitting than yesterday’s hats, due to there being two of them and all. But if you have a little more time—
TOP: Giving Mitts by Jenny Sauselein — look it’s right there in the name! I absolutely love these striped unisex cuties [UPDATE! And I somehow failed to notice they’re written for Lettlopi, so if you’ve got assorted balls for Solbein/Steekalong swatching, this is the perfect use for them!)
SECOND, LEFT+RIGHT: Log Cabin Mitts by yours truly — but really, what could be more perfect? They’re addictively fun to knit, the perfect use for leftovers or mix-and-match skeins, and lend themselves to an endless array of solids or color combinations (free pattern)
THIRD: McKenna by the Berroco Design Team are super-simple cable mitts at bulky gauge (free pattern)
FOURTH: Weekend Walking Mitts by Dianna Walla are a little bit more of a commitment at DK gauge but still cabled only on the back of the hand, this time with a helpful foldover top and a bit more of a wow factor (For superbulky gauge, see Dianna’s Chuckanut Drive)
If you’re really pressed for time — like Christmas Eve knitting — the cutest, quickest mitts are Hannah Fettig’s 70 Yard Mitts.
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites / Quick Knits: Hats
With gift-knitting season upon us and my having a backlog of eye-popping knitting patterns I haven’t squeezed into the blog yet, I decided to do a sequence of New Favorites alternatives this week: recent killer accessory patterns that also knit up quickly and would make great gifts. Starting today with hats, the ultimate unisex gift. These patterns have enough going on that they’ll be fun to knit and make an impression, but not so much as to slow you down too much!
The particular beauty of hats — or any small-scale gift knits, really — is that it’s a chance for you to have fun rotating through different techniques while you’re at it. A definite win/win—
TOP: Tamitik by Shannon Cook shot straight to the top of my hat list when I first saw it on her Instagram* — cute, simple and bulky is a perfect gift-knit combo
MIDDLE LEFT: Diamondback Hat by Mary Jane Mucklestone was on her needles when I saw her in September and it gave me instant cast-on-itis — rhythmic 2-color stranding at worsted gauge
MIDDLE RIGHT: Adam by Rachel Atkinson is a fitted cap in DK on 8s with gorgeous knit-purl patterning
BOTTOM: Pabst Blue Ribbon by Thea Colman is a striking use of cables on a simple cap at aran gauge (see also: Wild Dandelion)
You guys, I picked these thinking “slip-stitch, colorwork, knit-purl texture, cables,” something for everyone, and didn’t realize till I saw the photos together that I unconsciously assembled a collection of diamonds! But then isn’t that the ideal motif for a gift knit?
(Disclosure: Shannon has since sent me the pattern.)
PREVIOUSLY in New Favorites: Wearable superbulky
Hello, Friday! It’s an exciting day over at Fringe Supply Co. — we’ve got a new Stowe Bag Kit from our friends at Verb, a kit for bags so pretty that photos can’t even convey the hand-loomed khadi, naturally dyed, sashiko-stitched gorgeousness. The kit is available now in three different color/fabric combos, and we do have limited quantities of them — it would make a beautiful gift either in either kit or bag form. And it just so happens Jen at Grainline is hosting a Stowe sewalong on her blog in December!
BUT WAIT, there’s more! We’ll also have this week’s Town Bag update at 9am CT. That one’s a little tricky due to overwhelming demand, so take a second to read the notes on how it will work. And if you don’t get lucky this morning, we will have more next week! We’re doing all we can to catch up with demand, and are grateful for your patience and determination in the meantime.
We also passed the six-year mark this week, and I marked the occasion by updating our About page, if you’re new-ish here or would like to know more about the history and mission of Fringe. We’ve come a long way these past few years! And I’m so eternally grateful for your support.
Now how ’bout a little Elsewhere:
– This story of a quest to make an American flannel literally brought tears to my eyes (thank you, Sarah!)
– And back to awesome
– A holiday garland I can get behind
– I’m officially not alone in my love of the dickey as all-day wear
– This week in Podcasts I’d Like Time To Listen To: Thread & Ladle
– Same goes for Gretchen Rubin on Love to Sew!
– The “Wiksten Kimono Jacket” is now the “Wiksten Haori” — cheers to Jenny for undertaking that (see also: Jamie & The Jones) and to @little_kotos_closet who was instrumental in both name changes
– Do you have a charitable knitting/crochet project? You might be able to win yarn for it
– Currently loving hats with a bit of mohair mixed in: exhibit A and exhibit B
Have a cozy weekend, everyone!
PREVIOUSLY in Elsewhere: More comfort, more gauge range, and a spot of macramé
For this winter round of Closet Rummy™, I wanted to see if I could come up with 30 combinations I’ve never precisely put together before — always exploring just how endlessly recombinable things can be — and for my own ease of use, this time I organized them by weather. So they sort of go from outfits for really cold weather (with a light sweatshirt/sweater or other long-sleeve top layered under a cardigan, for instance) to moderately cold to not terribly cold, like those times it will be 78 degrees on a random December day. There are definitely some new ideas here — as well as several new or new-to-me garments — but seeing this has me feeling good about my shortlist of things I want to make, and what those will do to change things up a bit! For details on any of the garments pictured, see the closet inventory (not all of which got used here).
PREVIOUSLY in Winter 2018 Wardrobe: Winter closet inventory