Knitmas is approaching and my annual anonymous gift parcel is about to be sent off and many care packages sent out regularly as my favourite hobby. I’ve considered what makes an ideal care package for a knitter and I wanted to share all this with you.
When considering a gift for a knitter, cook, or crafty person, should it fuel her/his creativity with supplies or pamper her/him with something custom made? I opt for a bit of both. Creating a care package is something done from the heart with care and consideration. You choose items to include as if you were in a field of flowers hand selecting daisies for the kitchen table. The items do not all need to coordinate on their own because the fact that they cater to the recipient’s likes makes them go together.
My formula is to give one part handmade (Handmade with Love), two parts supplies (Yummy Yarn and Practical Tools or Book/Pattern, like mine), and one part something else entirely (Non-Knitting Treats).
Handmade with Love
One way to decide what to make your friend or what supplies to give is to evaluate whether she already has a vast stockpile of supplies. Ravelry also makes it easier because you can sneak a peek at a friend’s Queue to see what she wants to make then either make it for her, buy her the perfect wool for the project, or gift her the pattern to make it herself. Be weary of this as your only resource though as some Ravelers don’t keep their Queues updated so look for trends in her Stash, Queue and Projects. You may just see she has Queued or Favorited a dozen cowls or scarves and that’s a shove in the right direction for something you could make her.
Woolly treats in amazing colors and decadent textures, a coveted gift for any knitter or crocheter. I strongly urge you to look into your own local wool and hand-dyer options. This is a partial list of lesser-known hand-dyers based on my location in Ireland:
Smudge Yarns shown below
All wool from and processed within Ireland/Scotland/Britain. Fair trade. Hand-dyed in Passage West, Ireland.
The sheep and the mill are within 10 miles of one another in the Irish countryside. Undyed, just the natural beauty of the sheep.
Dublin Dye Co.
Hand-dyed and very soft.
The in-house yarn from This Is Knit in Dublin. Hand-dyed. Cashmere sock is a great value for shawls.
From a spare measuring tape to a set of pencils and a graph paper notepad, there are countless tools and helpful things to make a knitter’s day a little easier. Here are a few of my favourites:
The Knit Kit
TSA compliant foldable scissors, crochet hook, stitch markers, stitch counter, tape measure, thread cutter, point protectors, and darning needle, $19.99 from Amazon.com
Lightweight rip-stop pouch with yarn guider loop and loop to attach to your seatbelt or beltloop so you can knit anywhere, from KnowKnits.com
Interchangeable Case, Zip Pouch, or one of the other amazing handmade knitting & crochet organizers – keeping fibre lovers organized, from Madbird on Etsy. Or even a Novelty Zippered Pocket Pouch that looks like a hot dog or ice cream.
A Book or Pattern
Of course, this is a great chance to introduce your friend to a new knitwear designer or cater to a different passion, like baking or popular mechanics. Here are some lovely books anyone would love to receive. I chose just a few that include patterns that have a classic aesthetic with versatile appeal. And these are books I have!
Bake Knit Sew: A Recipe and Craft Project Annual by Evin Bail O’Keeffe (me!) Seasonal approach to crafts. Includes 13 baking recipes, 7 original knitting patterns, 5 sewing projects, 3 tutorials, and over 80 pages of detailed instructions and full-color photographs. It is also available from Ravelry digitally so you can give a last-minute gift. Bake Knit Sew is available in paperback and ebook versions from select retailers (full list).
The Knitter’s Bible Stitch Library by Claire Crompton or a good knit/stitch dictionary
And maybe a little tasty something too. For expats, go with a nostalgic candy or cookie from the homeland or even hand write a couple recipe cards for classic recipes and include an ingredient that is needed.
I am sharing photos of a few care packages between me and friends so you can get ideas for your own holiday parcels of thoughtfulness and joy.
This package was from BonnyAlma to cheer me up during my recovery. She included yarn, two local books, a different kind of knitting needle than what I had, a keychain, a sweet treat, a stuffed owl, and a magazine, plus a stunning bracelet. Each item in itself would have been enough of a treat, but together it gave me a warm tingly loved feeling, which is just what anyone needs when they’re going through a tough time.
Of course, birthdays are a great excuse to send a care package, like when I sent this next one to Suzi, a knitter, crocheter, theoretical physicist, and kid at-heart. It was important to embrace whimsy and color, but also warmth and practicality since she lives someplace with a biting winter chill. I sent four different skeins of yarn, a hat and glove set from Lands’ End (washable and sturdy), and a Wham Bam Thank You Lamb neckwarmer I knitted for her. There were also non-woolly items! A hand-sewn drawstring project bag I made from yellow and purple flowered ladies handkerchiefs, a Phaidon Wallpaper Guide to Edinburgh, Barry’s Tea for a taste of home, assorted candies, and a Bath & Body Works Anti-Bacterial Moisturizing Hand Lotion in Midnight Pomegranate. This was a combined graduation/new job/moving gift so it had to be big and the knitting group helped make it happen. I even tracked down a cute congratulations card and we all signed it! Wait, I can’t find the photo now.
My friend Marseille received this for her birthday. Marseille collects dolls so that was the underlying theme of the collection. Russian nesting doll tea towel, little jar, notions box, and ice cube tray (which everyone needs, right?), Japanese doll knitting doll, two skeins of sock yarn, and two skeins of a yarn to test knit the tea cosy in my Bake Knit Sew book. LB helped by including a special drawing. They’ll be another post about the tea cosy, don’t worry.
Then, of course, there are my annual Knitmas parcels. I have written posts about them (2011, 2012, 2013), offering more detail, but last year I received a beautifully curated collection of treats (shown below).
And if you really want to create a luxurious parcel to make a particular knitter feel very loved and appreciated, there is the box of joy:
Now it’s YOUR turn! For your knitter friend, you could give a combination of supplies to encourage and inspire. I find it’s nice to include yummy yarn, practical tools, a book or wall calendar, and non-knitting treats (such as gourmet chocolate, candy corn, tinned pumpkin puree).