Yes, it is Wednesday, and yes, Wednesdays are reserved for WIP Wednesday posts, however… I finished my Hiro last night and haven’t worked any more on the second sleeve for my mom’s cardigan, so I have nothing in progress to show you. You can totally sneak a peek at Hiro, though I would recommend waiting until better photography happens, hopefully this weekend.
In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about what kind of gifts for those various holidays fast approaching that I might want, so I’ve pulled together a little gift-giving guide. (You can also read this as a “things I am excited about” list.) While I will not even begin to state this is a definitive guide—every knitter is different and therefore has different wishlists, or may be in a state of denial in which the proclaim loudly and repeatedly “I really don’t need anything!”—I’ve rounded up a few things I think would make an excellent gift to the knitters in your life.
The first answer is always, always a gift certificate to their favorite local yarn store, followed shortly by virtual gift certificates to web retailers such as WEBS, The Loopy Ewe, Jimmy Beans Wool, or Eat. Sleep. Knit. There’s way more than that. Flat out asking people for their preferred purchasing venues is not only okay, it will save you from having to eat the leftover fruitcake, or whatever punishments are meted out in your house (maybe you like fruitcake, that’s cool).
For newer knitters, or those who have expressed a vested interest in learning (something slightly more than “Oh, that’s cool, I should do that…”), Anna Wilkinson’s Learn to Knit Love to Knit is a wonderful resource. It’s even good for those of us who know how to knit but either like to have photographic refreshers of techniques we don’t use often, or who want simple, fun patterns at hand. The photography is fresh and hip and there’s a few projects I’m in love with (hello, Tartan Sweater). Any knitter of any skill level could find something to love in this book, seriously.
If you are more in the mood to gift a thing rather than the promise of a thing (I get it), there are some amazing books out right now. For the garment knitters, you really can’t beat Amy Herzog’s Knit to Flatter. Amy’s worked for many years to try and perfect the way people knit sweaters to fit a range of body types, and this book is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to free themselves from the constraints of just following a pattern (something I have become pretty much incapable of doing, ever). One of the great things, for those knitters just beginning to really consider knitting garments, is that Amy’s knitted and photographed every design on different body types, so instead of the theoretical treatises a lot of sizing discussions become (and even those are incredibly helpful), this book is a visual compendium of “this is how to knit things for your body type.”
Alice Starmore is one of those knitwear designers who continues to inspire many of us. Her publisher is re-releasing the hardcover of Tudor Roses, a collection of patterns inspired by the women of the Tudor era in English history. I’d preordered this on Amazon a few months ago and just this week received an email notifying me that it’s supposed to ship a whole month ahead of time, with delivery date of November 20 (one week!). The fashions may not be something that immediately seem wearable, but there’s mounds of inspiration to be found in any Alice Starmore book, trust me.
In a similar vein, Sandy Black’s Knitting: Fashion, Industry, and Craft is an incredible depository of utterly fascinating knitting history. Published by the Victoria and Albert Museum (yes, that one), Black has delved into the museum’s collection of knitted artifacts and knowledgeable sources to piece together a continuous history of knitting in the United Kingdom (it is specific to the UK, but does place events and developments in knitting around the world within the context). I was able to find a copy through my library system and if you or a knitter you know is enthralled with history, especially super-specific cultural history, this is a must have. The images are gorgeous and inspirational alone, but the history and the knitting trivia is to-die-for.
If you’re looking for that “wowzers” gift, my vote goes to a set of interchangeable needles. I have way more interchangeable sets than I ever need, and yet I still never have a pair of size 8 tips handy, so even if your knitter currently has a set, another set (…or two) can’t hurt, right? I’ve been using Knitter’s Pride Bamboo Interchangeables of late, though I totally have my eye on the ChiaoGoo Complete Set. The trick with buying an interchangeable set is to know the knitter’s style or preference. As a knitter with looser tension, bamboo works really well for me to grip the stitches without dragging them, but I also love metal needles for fiddly lace work or speed-demon knitting. (And the nice thing is that in theory, one could buy additional needle tips since everything is apparently knit on either size 8s or size 6s…)
What’s on your wish list? And if you’re feeling the urge to give, consider helping those affected by Typhoon Haiyan—Sarah at Knit York City is rounding up knitting-related charitable causes.