Posts Tagged ‘gift’

24
Nov

8 Gifts Every Knitter Wants

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday, want

The holidays are hardly here and things area already crazy, am I right? I promise to stick with you guys through it all. Let’s not decide to make hats for everyone in our family this year, deal? Deal.

I always like to put together a gift guide around this time of year. I usually hold onto it longer but with the big sales coming up, you ought to be prepared. As I say every year, there’s no yarn in my gift guides. Yarn is a pretty safe bet (I recommend a luxurious, hand-dyed sock yarn) but it’s been done. Get that knitter in your life something else and they’ll really think you were paying attention when they were ranting about their notions bag. If you impress a knitter come holiday time, they might consider going through some excruciating Christmas knitting for you next year!

holiday gift guide

1. Knit and Let Knit Tote by Fringe Association
2. Pewter Knit Pendant by Furls Crochet
3. Pouch by Mary Buttons
4. Corozo grommet buttons from Fringe Association
5. Sheepish Notebook by Jill Draper Makes Stuff
6. Moving Mud glass stitch markers from Purl Soho
7. Stitched Away nail decals from Jamberry Nails
8. Oval knit stitch earrings by Jennie the Potter

Don’t forget, knitters love handmade gifts! When in doubt, shop local. You can’t miss!

Gift guides for knitters:
2013
Gift Wrap
2012
2012 – Yarn gifts

Gifts for knitters and makers to give:
Food GiftsHot Chocolate MugsGifts to Knit

Knitters, what’s on your wish list this year?

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13
Nov

The Knitter’s Tool Tin

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday, knits, notions, want

I must admit, I am probably the most neglectful of notions. I’ve lost just about every stitch marker, I can never seem to find my tape measure, and, though I once had over 30 tapestry needles that I was lucky enough to pick up (for free!) from a craft office that was spring cleaning, they’ve all gone to that magical land where that one double pointed needle hides in the couch cushion. Because of this, I rarely invest in anything. Many knitters own beautiful hand-made stitch-markers from Jennie the Potter, I could just throw a $20 bill in the trash because those will gone before you can stay wrap-and-turn. (More often than not, I use a paperclips because I won’t cry when I lose them.)

What I’m getting at is that when Sarah The Sexy Knitter asked me if I wanted to give one of her Knitter’s Tool Tins a spin, I felt like I’d really put it through the ringer. Actually, my first thought was that it had never occurred to me that I could have all of my notions together in a travel-sized case (with an adorable lamb on it!).  Could the answer be so simple?

knitter's tool tin

The Knitter’s Tool Tin really has everything one might need. And I’m proud to say that in the month and a half since I received mine, I’ve only lost two stitch markers. Actually, I started putting any other stitch markers (that still survive) into the tin for safe keeping and it’s seems to have done the trick. (Maybe those Jennie the Potter markers will one day be a reality!)

This seems silly to say out loud but having all of my notions together in a travel-sized case is a pretty brilliant idea. I keep everything I’ve collected in a big bag so it’s not really portable or organized or sense-making. Before Rhinebeck I didn’t have to think “Where’s my tape measure?” and “Did I pack scissors or are they under a pile of junk on the coffee table?” (let’s keep it real). I just threw the tin into my project bag and when someone at the house needed to borrow a cable needle, well, guess who was ready to help!

The Knitter’s Tool Tin comes with a 2 1/2″ stitch holder, a 2″ cable holder, a mini double-ended crochet hook (which is something I didn’t know I needed), a tape measure, 5 origami stitch markers (that Sarah makes herself, they’re very cute, hope I don’t lose any more), miniature scissors (safe for your carry-on), and 3 different sewing needles that live on a magnetic strip on the lid of the metal tin. It’s just a great little kit. I may buy another to leave in my purse or maybe two so I can leave one in the glove compartment of my car. The tins are $25 each and you can get one with a custom picture for $30.

I’m sure I sound like a complete scatter brain but I’m really loving this kit. Thanks for sending me this one, Sarah! They’ll make great stocking-stuffers for all of the knitters on your Christmas list. Just a hint. But really.

Do you have a tool tin for your notions?

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29
Apr

Help! A Very Special Knit

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday

In June, my grandmother will turn 90. She’s a really fantastic lady who’s taught me so much, a real maven of the DIY world in her own right. And she’s a hoot and a half and a real tough lady to boot. I’m starting to feel that urge I’ve felt so many times: I want to knit a gift for her.

It wouldn’t be the first time. I want to make things for everyone, we all do. I want to shower people that I love with hats and mittens and cowls. I want my stitches to do what my words can’t: explain in detail how much I love them, how much I appreciate them, how, even though I don’t always know what to say and sometimes I’m forgetful, that I couldn’t imagine life without them. Sometimes I almost feel like I have an endless list of people that I want to knit for, promises I make to myself for years down the road to complete even something simple. There are too many stitches and just not enough time. But I think on the occasion of her 90th birthday, my grandma deserves a little something woolly. 

grammy

I know there will never be enough time to make something adequate. I’ll be stressed out, I can see it already. Of course, my mind immediately goes to sweaters. I mean, this is a big birthday. But I really know that that might be pushing it. I’d like to at least have a fighting chance.

So I’m starting to think of other knitted things. Perhaps a scarf or a shawl? It’s so hard to decide. Nothing seems like enough. I’ve made socks before so I’d like to go bigger. But deep down, I’m dying to make a really nice, simple cardigan. Maybe one of you good readers will have the heart to talk me out of that.

What do you suggest? What have you made for someone important to you?

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04
Apr

Thanks, Mom!

Written by Sarah. Posted in FO, gift, hat, knits

Just before the holidays, I went out for fancy drinks with some friends. I had a great time and then something happened that happens to many New Yorkers. I left my hat in the back of a cab. Or maybe I left it on my stool at the bar. Or perhaps it’s floating around in the place where Tina rolled under the bed in my favorite episode of the Twilight Zone also known as the place where adventurous socks disappear to.

Now that wouldn’t be so terrible since that’s how life goes except for the fact that I had been wearing my Olivia sample every day of the season and now I’d lost something I designed and knit myself. I’d never lost something that I knit before, not that I can remember at least. I still have FOs that I made back in high school that don’t fit properly and itch like the dickens but I can’t bear to part with them. I searched all around and came up with nothing. I felt like a real schmuck.

I figured that one day I’d replace it. Maybe in the mean time I’d make something different just to switch things up. Until then, I had some other hats buried in the closet that would be good enough.

oliviamom

But then I got a great surprise. In the mail one day was my hat! Well, not my hat. Even better than that! My mom had knit me a brand new one! It was so perfect, even better than mine. I was so happy, I’ve been wearing it ever since (and being super careful about it). Of course, I always appreciate getting something handmade but it feels really exciting and special that my mom made something for me that I designed. And she’s a pretty great sample knitter to boot!

I definitely don’t knit for my mom enough. She knits for everybody. I really admire how much work she puts into a toy that’s going to a coworker’s baby. Knowing that she stressed over perfecting each stitch for me warms my heart as much as my head! I think she deserves a special knit, too.

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13
Dec

More Quick and Inexpensive DIY Food Gifts!

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, gift, holiday

Last week I shared one of my favorite gifts to make, the hot chocolate mug. I take gift giving very seriously but I have a limited budget  so DIY food gifts are my go-to. When it comes to giving food, you can’t lose and if you’re willing to put in a little bit of time, you’ll save a few dollars.

I’m sure there are still a few of us scrambling for last-minute gifts (as we decide those sweaters will be given Christmas 2014) so here are a few options for DIY food gifts.

food gifts

1. Homemade Extracts
2. Liquor Infusions
3. Cookie Ingredient Mason Jars
4. Chai Mix

A good rule of thumb is that anything in a mason jar makes a good gift.

What mason jar gifts do you give?

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05
Dec

How to Impress Your Friends With A Quick Gift that Doesn’t Break the Bank

Written by Sarah. Posted in cooking, DIY, food, gift, holiday, party, recipe

Holiday gifts are such a challenge for crafters. It seems like a no-brainer to make a gift but in the end it’s an expensive, time-consuming, soul-crushing experience. Sobs between sips of heavily-spiked eggnog, fingers crooked and bleeding after hours and hours of work. It’s not worth it. Sorry, family and friends. You’re all lovely people and you deserve great gifts but it’s just not possible.

My mom’s family is diverse and pretty large. I can’t afford to buy the kind of presents that they deserve for each and every one of them and I like to think that, since they are all grown adults, they buy themselves the things that they really want. I try to give everyone the same gift (so it’s equal) which presents another challenge. It’s really difficult to find something that they would all like and use or put in their homes. I refuse to give weird pieces of crap also known as “decorations” or “tchotchkies” because I don’t think I’d like to receive any. We don’t have the same taste and that’s ok, let’s just not pretend that we do.

So I like to gift them with food. Everybody likes to eat and generally everyone cooks or bakes at least enough to get by. Buying food gifts can get expensive (gift baskets, fancy chocolates, liquor) so I try to keep everything DIY. I’ll be the first person to tell you that DIY gifts do not mean free or cheap but when it comes to food, you can keep it relatively inexpensive while staying fun and thoughtful. Besides, DIY gifts are like a present for the gifter as much as they are the giftee. Making gifts is fun and rewarding even when it’s exhausting and all of your hair has fallen out.

hot chocolate mug

Last year I put together these hot chocolate mugs. They were really fun and adorable and probably cost less than $5 for each mug. If you cut the marshmallows as I suggest below (using a biscuit cutter that’s just slightly smaller than the opening of the mug), you’ll be able to sip the cocoa through the marshmallow the way you would with whipped cream. It’ll be like a cloud keeping it hot and yummy. This is my favorite part.

While packaging everything up in this “I thought of you and hope you enjoy a cozy evening courtesy of me!” kind of way is lovely and gifty, the key to this present is the marshmallows. People that have never made marshmallows before think that they are witchcraft. They’ve never given any thought to where marshmallows come from (marshmallow trees?). They will be very impressed with you.

hot cocoa gift

Here’s how to do it!

What you will need:
Cute mug*
Cellophane gift bag
Ribbon
Gift tag
Biscuit cutter (that is just a little smaller than the opening of the mug)
Peppermint marshmallows
Hot cocoa mix

Directions
1. Make your marshmallows. While they’re setting up, put together the hot chocolate mix.
2. Line the mug with one of the little gift bags. Pour in hot chocolate mix to fill about 3/4 of the mug.
3. Now that the marshmallows have set, use the biscuit cutter to cut them into circles. Dust them lightly in confectioners sugar and place two or three over the hot chocolate mix. Close the bag and secure with ribbon.
4. Add a gift tag with instructions for the cocoa mix and maybe even include a recipe in case they want more.

Ta da! Merry Christmas!

Next week, I’ll be sharing a few more quick and inexpensive DIY gifts so stay tuned!

What’s your favorite DIY gift to give? How do you gift food?

* The mugs are the most expensive part of the gift. You can pick up adorable Christmas themed mugs at the dollar store or you can go all out and buy a hand-thrown piece on Etsy. Let your budget be your guide. (I used these CB2 mugs because I loved that they came with a little spoon. I believe they’ve been discontinued but here they are on ebay. $3 per mug! ) But this mug will become your relative’s new hot chocolate mug and when you see them next Christmas they will say, “Every time I drink hot chocolate in that mug I think of you!” Awww! Choose wisely.

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25
Nov

Knitter’s Gift Guide

Written by Sarah. Posted in gift, holiday

Shopping for knitters is simultaneously the easiest and hardest thing to do. We love yarn but we’re very particular. We could always use more needles but interchangeable sets aren’t cheap. We’re always searching for new patterns but with the enormous variety of books out there, it’s tough to pinpoint which might be right.

I tend to advise against buying a knitter yarn (unless they ask for it) as a gift. Usually, we’re all on yarn diets. Of course, no one has ever given me a skein of yarn that I’ve refused. And it’s easy for non-knitters to become sheepish, dizzy, and dumbfounded at a LYS. But around this time of year I like to put together a guide for what knitters really want, those little things that will let them know that you really thought hard about them.

 

holiday

1. Yarn Pyramid print from Fringe Supply Co.
2. Pebble tape measures from Leif
3. Knitter’s Graph Paper Journal
4. Wrapper tool pouch from Fringe Supply Co.
5. Dovetail Alpaca from Areawear

And, don’t forget, knitters always appreciate gifts that are handmade, local, and/or independent!

What gifts would you love to get this holiday?

ps. Last years gift guides here and here! And gifts to knit (if you dare)!

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30
Sep

WIP: Holiday Knitting Already!

Written by Sarah. Posted in DIY, gift, holiday, knits, socks, WIP, yarn

I don’t have big plans for holiday making this year. I know that I just don’t have the time for it. But I did want to make one or two gifts. I mean, come on, what’s the point of being a knitter if you don’t make a gift? I figured a few gifts would be manageable (Christmas is still a few months away, right?) until I found out that Chanukah is the same week as Thanksgiving this year.

So now I’m a little stressed out. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!

I feel like hand knit socks are amazing gifts. They’re warm and lovely and they look really complicated like you spent a long time on them but they’re actually pretty quick. Something about giving a gift to keep your toes warm makes me really happy.

Luckily, socks make great car knitting and there will be plenty of opportunities for that in the near future (Rhinebeck!). Also luckily, Jon got me a subscription to Yarnbox for my birthday so last week I received some beautiful of Candy Skein yarn. Everything about this yarn is perfect for socks.

fruit loop socks

I love solid colored fingering weight yarns! Especially for cables. I was trying to find a pattern slightly more challenging than Hermione yet easy enough that I could put down for a few days and not get lost. Also a big must was doing a pdf or web-based pattern because I need something I can carry around on my phone. I don’t like fumbling around with books while I’m in the car.

When I went over my Ravelry queue, I found the Froot Loop pattern by Kristi Geraci. I can’t believe I haven’t knit this pattern sooner. It’s really really easy without being boring but it looks really gorgeous and the cables are super satisfying. It doesn’t require a cable needle so it’s the best for knitting on the fly. (I’ve knit cabled socks on the subway before. It gets messy.) It’s basically just exactly what you’d want in a sock.

The pattern knits up so quickly, I’m not nervous at all about finishing in time for the holidays. Socks, you are the best! (Sorry, sweaters, nothing personal.) Now I just need to keep my sanity until Thanksgiving.

Have you already started your holiday knitting? Do you have big plans or are you staying small?

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24
Sep

FO: Hamsa Embroidery

Written by Sarah. Posted in apartment, art, DIY, embroidery, gift, life, photos

I promised last week that I’d share more of that sneak peek I posted. I hope you enjoyed the WIP photos! Suspense is over!

When I was dreaming up something special to make for Jon’s brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law in honor of their upcoming nuptials, I had lots of Judaical themes in mind. I really loved making a piece of art for my friend’s wedding last summer and I wanted to do something like it again. (What can I say, I want to make things for every occasion!) While I originally wanted to do some sort of phrase in Hebrew, I thought that a hamsa would make a really beautiful wall hanging and a perfect gift to give at their Moroccan-style henna bridal shower.

hamsa embroidery

 

The hamsa is a hand symbol that is meant to protect against the evil eye. It’s popular in Middle Eastern cultures and I love that, since it’s so old, it spans across different religions. Jon’s family is from Israel so the hamsas can be found in just about every room of his parent’s house and now my own apartment. I really liked the idea of giving a gift that was kind of a good luck charm, a symbol to help protect their new life together. Traditionally, hamsas appear with an eye in the palm but I also added the heart. I’m not a superstitious person but I’m pretty sure that love is the key to keeping away any bad energy!

hamsa embroidery 2

I sketched out a few different hamsa designs before deciding on this one. I wanted something a little modern and simple yet true to the roots of Jewish art. The woven gold parts remind me of the artwork at the temple that my family’s been members of for fifty years. (It’s kind of an earthy, 70s folk arty looking place.) I picked up a fat quarter of some pink fabric from Purl Soho. It was a nice change working on something that isn’t white or beige!

I was also really inspired by this Nepali embroidery tutorial. I was dying to incorporate painting with the embroidery. Adding fabric paint really accentuates the three dimensionality of the stitches and adds even more layers there. It was a fun experiment that I definitely want to try again!

hamsa embroidery 3

Of course, I also included a lot of chain stitching. Really, it’s my favorite embroidery stitch. It’s just so perfect! I also found that using chain stitch to outline the satin stitching worked best. I’d read that using split stitch would do it but it really wasn’t as big and defined as chain stitch. See, chain stitch is the best.

Since I leave everything until the last minute, I didn’t have a frame when it came time to photograph the piece. You’ll have to forgive any wrinkles, etc.  I can assure you, though, it looks really stunning on the wall!

What’s your favorite embroidery stitch? Have you incorporated paint into your embroideries? Do you have any hamsas hanging on your walls?

ps. Have you entered The Crash giveaway yet?

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13
Sep

Guess the WIP: Embroidery Edition!

Written by Sarah. Posted in art, design, DIY, embroidery, gift, instagram, life, photos

Shall we play a game? There was another piece I finished recently that I kept pretty hush hush.

Here are a few shots!

embroidery hamsa

It’s pretty easy to narrow down what’s going on with embroidery. But the piece is very special and of my own design. I really love photographing embroidery. Something about the way it stands up off of the fabric really fascinates me. I can’t explain it. Do you know what I mean? I think I feel the same way about cables.

I can’t wait to show you more but you’ll have to wait until next week!

Don’t forget! Holla Knits Fall/Winter 2013 collection comes out Monday!

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