I don’t know about you, but these last few weeks before Christmas are prime shopping time for a lot of us. Giving and receiving handmade gifts is pretty much the pinnacle of presents for me, but gifts related to making or knitting are a pretty close runner up. What knitter or maker doesn’t want more beautiful yarn, useful tools, and inspiring books? Could anything be better than settling in during those lovely lulled days after Christmas to cast on a new project (or three) using something you’ve just received? When you really want to pamper the creative people in your life (and that certainly includes yourself!) I think that any of the items on this list would do the trick nicely.
I mean it. Literally anything. This little shop is so full of gorgeous little things: I’m warning you, to see them is to want them. I am a huge believer in investing in beautiful tools whenever possible, and the brilliant minds behind Beyond Measure have an eye for the lovely and the useful. As their own tagline says, their inventory is made up of “beautiful things for folk who make” and you could fill the best Christmas stocking ever from Beyond Measure.
I think subscriptions make wonderful gifts, as you get to spread the surprise throughout the year. Ever since the very first issue, the day my Pom Pom Quarterly magazine arrives in the post is automatically a great day. This magazine is so aspirational and so inspirational. I love pouring over the photos and daydreaming about future makes. Meghan, Lydia and their absurdly talented team outdo themselves every issue.
There’s nothing like getting cosy, lighting a luscious candle, and settling in for a nice long knitting session: to me that’s the essence of relaxation. Kjerste of Wax & Wool makes the most beautiful hand-poured soy candles in apothecary jars. She has done some wonderful collaborations with yarnies, including the delicious-smelling (and sadly now sold out) candle she made for La Bien Aimee. Wax & Wool have a selection of Christmas scents in their Etsy shop right now which would make an ideal little pampering present for any knitter.
One of my favourite yarn stores of all time (and one of my lovely podcast sponsors, although this is not a sponsored post) started a VIP membership club this year for devoted yarn lovers. It’s a great opportunity to spoil an avid knitter this holiday, with goodies, a gift bag, special discounts, free shipping, a birthday gift-card, exclusive early access to the newest and most popular inventory, and much more.
This thoughtful, beautiful book from Phillipa Stanton is a wonderful way to nurture the inner artist in all of us. Exploring mindfulness, creativity, and emotion, it is an invitation to step back from our screens and engage with the beauty around us. I found it extremely inspiring and helpful, with easy exercises and thought-experiments to keep my creativity engaged in daily life. A brilliant gift for anyone who wants to flex their creative muscles in the new year.
I am such a fan of all the lovely cards and stationary Betty Etiquette puts out. They’re pretty, they’re hand-crafted, they are joyful and light, and they help me be more thoughtful throughout the year. A beautiful card in the mail can transform someone’s whole day. It’s a lot of payback for a little gesture. Everything on the site is wonderful, from the stationary to the prints, home & gifts section, and the make-it-yourself resources of supplies, books, and workshops.
A fresh new year means a fresh new planner around the corner: it’s always a joy to see the days stretch out before you and to start daydreaming about what’s possible. This special 2019 planner is especially designed for makers and artists. If you run a handmade business or are even thinking about it, I highly, highly recommend getting your hands on this one: I’ve gotten one for myself and have given it as a gift. Potentially game-changing and extremely inspiring. Now is the perfect time to pick one up, as it also includes a comprehensive and very helpful year-in-review section for 2018
I could have made this gift guide nothing but yarn, but I decided to hold myself back and just include one. I just adore Meadow Yarn, which is why I’m so honoured to have them as a podcast sponsor. (Although again, this isn’t a sponsored post!) They’ve always carried the most beautiful selection of yarn, but when they started dyeing their own —inspired by brilliant short stories Anj wrote herself—they took things to a whole new level. Each of the Yarn Fictions collections revolves around a compelling fictional world, and the deep, saturated, tonal colours are an absolute delight. I love the idea that when you give this yarn as a gift you’re giving a whole experience.
I have been all about baskets this year, and these baskets in particular ran away with me. First of all, I just find them so beautiful. The weaving, the hand-dying, the richness of the colours and natural textures…they make themselves at home in pretty much any interior. They’re also incredibly useful, whether you’re toting one along to the farmer’s market on the weekend, or stashing one beside the couch to hold your scrappy blanket project. And last (but certainly not least) I am deeply inspired by the story behind them. Big Blue Moma is a Canadian company, but the empowerment of craftspeople in Ghana is at the heart of everything they do. The women who make these stunning and useful pieces of art are paid a fair market price for their work. I love supporting other artisans and makers around the world with my purchases. Any of these baskets would make a thoughtful and generous gift to a beloved knitter (maybe even with a few goodies tucked inside!)
You can also get 10% OFF your basket at So Just Shop with code CURIOUS10
I’ve already mentioned this book and its gorgeous patterns once or twice on the podcast, but I’m just in love with it, and I think it would be a wonderful gift. Everything Emily does is exquisite and this book is no exception. Along with 12 fabulous knitting patterns, Knits About Winter offers sweet stories about Emily’s life as an indie dyer and some of the most evocative winter photography you’ll ever see. I might have grown up celebrating sunny Australian Christmases, but there is still something quintessentially Christmas about snow.
While we can never (ever) have enough adorable project bags in our lives, I love the fact that LouLeigh does something a little different by offering beautifully made and extremely useful needle and notions cases. It can be a challenge to keep all our crafty bits together and organised in the flurry of multiple WIPs and impulsive cast-ons. (I know it’s not just me.) Leigh is such a thoughtful maker, with an incredible eye for an adorable fabric and a commitment to being as sustainable as possible. She also sells brilliant patterns for her bags and cases, so that you can make them for yourself (or as a gift!)
Of course, I couldn’t let this gift guide go by without a little shameless plug for my own book. I’m very proud of it, and very touched by all the lovely things people have said about it so far. As you can probably tell by this gift guide, I am a big book lover, and creating a beautiful, tangible book of my own has been a goal of mine for a long time. I have had so many hours of joy curled up with a cup of tea and a lovely book of knitting patterns, considering all the possibilities and being inspired by the lovely photos. That feeling is something I tried to capture in this book. I worked hard to make it worthy of all the amazing knitters I know, and I think it would make a great present for anyone you know who enjoys knitting shawls. The six patterns are all achievable for intrepid beginner knitters, and also contain enough gorgeous details to entertain veteran shawl makers.
The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.co.uk
The Shawl Society Season 1 book on Amazon.com
I hope this guide has given you a few ideas to let you cross a name or two off your Christmas list. I feel honoured to be part of a community that is so full of talent and passion. I know what a challenge and adventure it is to head out into the great unknown of starting a creative business. That’s why it’s so wonderful to have an opportunity to support some of the fantastic independent businesses who are an integral part of our making and knitting community. I hope that you’ll remember small and local handmade businesses in your own shopping this year, too.