All I Want for Christmas

If you’re reading this blog, chances are, you know a knitter. Perhaps you’re having trouble shopping for said knitter this holiday season since their interests are so…specific, and it’s a world you’re just not comfortable navigating. I mean, you know they always want more yarn, but you wouldn’t have the first clue what kind to get them. You know they always complain about not having the right kind of needles on hand, but what’s all that nonsense about “DPNs” and “circs” and what do you mean they come in different sizes and lengths?!

Well, I have compiled a list of handy tools all knitters can appreciate that should be much less nerve-wracking to acquire. They are all things we use a lot – which means we tend to run out of them, lose track of them, or just need lots of them, so it really doesn’t matter if your knitter already has these things – they could use more. No detective work necessary! AND, they’re all under $20, so even if your knitter somehow doesn’t appreciate these gifts, at least they weren’t a huge investment. I have provided links for your reference, but most of these items should be easy to find at JoAnn‘s or Michael’s or whatever big-box all-purpose craft store you have in your area. OR, you could be super brave and go visit a local yarn shop, which should have most of the things on the list, will have people available to help you find things (much easier to track down than those JoAnn’s associates), and you’d be supporting a local business.

  • small scissors $4.49 – There are many different types of scissors out there, but for knitting purposes they really don’t need to be large. In fact, the more compact the better. These are folding scissors!

  • makeup bag or pencil case about $5 – A nice sturdy makeup bag or pencil case makes the perfect notions bag for carrying around all the tiny tools that go along with knitting. As long as they are big enough to hold a stitch gauge – typically 2.5 in x 5.5 in – they should be able to contain all the essentials.

  • tape measure $1.99 – I like to keep one of these in every project bag, ’cause when you gotta measure, you gotta measure NOW.

  • sewing needles $3.99 – Sometimes we have to sew things onto our knitting, like buttons, that are just too small for the larger yarn needles. A good variety pack should cover all bases.

  • support gloves $16.99 – Many crafters get aches and pains in our hands and wrists. I had some support gloves that only covered the wrists and back of the hands, but since my pains were more frequently in the knuckles of my fingers I really wanted some that covered my fingers, and now they make them! They come in small, medium, and large, so you will have to have some idea of the size of the recipient’s hands before you buy them.

  • coil-less safety pins $5.28 – When we need safety pins, we REALLY prefer them to be of the coil-less variety, because those pesky coils can snag on yarn and could even cut through some delicate fibers.

  • emergency crochet hook $2.49 – This is a bit different from the hooks that crocheters use (though those could work too). These are typically shorter and frequently double-sided with two different sizes on each end. We use them to pick up dropped stitches when we make mistakes, so it’s another one of those things that when we need it, we need it IMMEDIATELY.

  • needle threaders $3.49 – There are many varieties of needle threaders out there, but this style is the most versatile. It can be used to thread yarn onto darning needles, guide thread onto sewing needles, or to strand beads onto yarn.

  • row counter $1.99 – We need one of these for almost every WIP, so depending on the knitter that could be anywhere from 1-100 row counters required. I’m only sort of kidding.

  • T-pins $2.99 – These are by far my favorite type of pins to block with. They are so much easier to grasp (and find!) than straight pins.

  • colored pencils about $8 – Something every designer should have on hand. The larger the set, the better.

  • knitter’s graph paper $12.00 – Another must for designers. Why does it have to be “knitter’s” graph paper? Well, knit stitches are not square, so if we chart a design out on regular graph paper, it will look distorted when we knit it.

  • stitch markers – anywhere from $5 -12.50 Most of the things on this list are pretty utilitarian, but stitch markers are one area where a little bling is preferred. They’re like jewelry for our knitting! I do still like them to be as functional as possible though, so I prefer the type that are just closed rings with a bead hiding the seam – they don’t dangle and get in the way of the knitting, but they add just a touch of sparkle to what could otherwise be a very boring set of tools. Handmade is probably the way to go for these, so let me direct you to a few Etsy shops:

Purple Goddess Design (really cool colors!)

fripperies & bibelots (they come in tins!)

Canon Hand Dyes (fancy square markers to match Amy’s lovely yarn!)

I’m giving thanks a day late this year.

While most people will be out participating in the bloodsport that is Black Friday, I will be knitting. There is a Black Friday KAL in the Canon Hand Dyes group on Ravelry, and I am planning on making two pairs of socks. One pair for me, and one pair for my boyfriend.

I am extremely thankful that I will be able to knit these socks, because a few weeks ago it wouldn’t have been possible. All of my sock-knitting needles were in the computer bag that was stolen. That meant I couldn’t knit socks, hats, gloves, or any other small circumference item that required small needle sizes. When I posted about the theft in the forums on Ravelry, other knitters really GOT IT. I received a lot of moral support, which was very appreciated, but a few people went above and beyond words of comfort.

Two separate people messaged me offering to send me some of their needles! One had a stash of DPNs she was planning on getting rid of, and another had some circular needles she hardly used that were perfect for Magic Loop – a technique for knitting small circumferences in the round that I have never tried, but REALLY want to. Between the two of them, those wonderful Ravelers have replaced every single needle size that was lost, and I CAN KNIT SOCKS AGAIN!!

As if that wasn’t amazing enough, one day a surprise package showed up in the mail containing a set of 2.25mm Signature DPNs – which is the super expensive brand of needles that were stolen! Amy Lee Serradell, the talented dyer of Canon Hand Dyes, had sent them to me!

So, out of gratitude for the wonderful people who have restored me to full knitting capabilities, I will be knitting socks out of Amy’s yarn. One pair will be knit on the lovely Signatures from Amy, and the other will be my first attempt at Magic Loop using the circular needles.

My boyfriend requested his socks to be knit with the Aragorn colorway, which is a self-striping yarn in black and a woodsy brown. The smaller skein in black will be used for the heel and toe of the sock so the striping pattern doesn’t get interrupted.

Mine will be knit with a self-striping Canon Hand Dyes yarn too, but I’m having trouble deciding on a color…

From left to right:
Canon Hand Dyes William Self Striping Sock – “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” – King Lear
black heel/toe skein
Canon Hand Dyes William Self Striping Sock – Zombie Hello Kitty
black heel/toe skein
Canon Hand Dyes Lewis Self Striping MCN Sock – “The course of true love never did run smooth” – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Canon Hand Dyes Oscar Self Striping – “I will believe that there are unicorns” – The Tempest
gray sparkly heel/toe skein

On the far left is “The prince of darkness is a gentleman” which is a lovely blend of deep blues and purples with a black stripe, and I have a black heel toe skein next to it that I could use. Next in line is Zombie Hello Kitty which looks exactly like you would think a zombified hello kitty should.

There’s the light green zombie flesh with a healthy amount of blood, striped with a super dark green. I’ve seen socks knit with this color using black for the heel and toe which turned out great, so that’s what I would do too.

After that is “The course of true love never did run smooth” which is a lovely gradient stripe that transitions from black to red to pink and then starts over again with the black with only a few rows of each color. There’s a black heel/toe skein to go with that.

The last two skeins on the right are “I will believe that there are unicorns” which is a pale gray striped with light purples and pinks and came with a gray heel/toe skein. It’s a sparkly yarn too, cause you know, UNICORNS.

I will be casting on at midnight on Friday while the rest of the population is busy re-enacting scenes from Fight Club in the aisles of Best Buy, so you have until then to vote.