Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Present Ideas

It's that time of year again - for knitters it's variously a fun and/or a stressful time. Yes, it's holiday knitting time! Honestly, I'm ambivalent about the whole prospect.

I used to knit for everyone - because I could and because I couldn't imagine anything nicer than a handmade gift. But then I realized that there were some people - smart, funny, kind, loving people - who just didn't appreciate the wonderfulness of a knitted gift. So they came off the knitted gift list. And soon, I wasn't knitting holiday presents anymore.

But then gradually over the years, I've dipped into holiday knitting again. For me, non-garments are the way to go. But your mileage may vary, of course. I still think a handmade gift is the best thing you can give someone. Here are some quick little fun projects that I've enjoyed making and giving over the years:

Beaded Bookmark (Ravelry link)

This is my new go-to teacher gift. Knock this sweet little thing out in an evening, enclose a gift card to a bookstore, and you're done! Fingering weight yarn and about 25 beads (added as you go). Easy-peasy. The pattern comes with a half dozen variations of the beading pattern.

Tiny Sweater Ornaments

Oh, don't get me started on these. Last year I made a half dozen of these. I gave these to some dear friends. They're fussy, but also awesome (the sweaters, not the friends). The cable is fun, but the pattern also includes a plain version. Fingering weight - another small project you can knock out in an evening or two.

Cable Hot Water Bottle Cover (Ravelry link)

My husband thought knitting a hot water bottle cover was absurd, but he doesn't have crazy-knitter genes. I loved this (and actually kept it for myself). Eschew all those high-tech polarfleece, electrical-corded warming devices! A hot water bottle (you can still buy them in any drugstore) with a handsome cover is like snuggling up with a warm, non-demanding companion. This pattern is written for bulky weight yarn, so it goes quickly. There are a bunch of patterns on Ravelry, but this one was my favorite. This would be a nice gift for someone who lives in a drafty old house, or a reader, or an older person (wait - that's me!)

Tiny Felted Hearts

This pattern isn't written to be felted and the picture above is pre-felting, but I ended up stuffing these with yarn and felting them. Then I added a ribbon and gave them as ornaments to the above-noted fussy but awesome friends. I didn't put eyes on them, but those amirugumi creatures always make me laugh out loud. Poke around her website - her patterns are delightful.

So there you go - some ideas for you. But don't feel like you have to knit gifts for people. Only do it if you enjoy the process (knitting should be a stress-reducer, not a stress-inducer!!) and if you realize that not everyone will get the wonderfulness of what you did for them.

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