Gifts for the knitter who apparently already has everything?
November 26, 2012 12:40 PM   Subscribe

I would like to get a good gift for someone who is an avid knitter. She's already got a set of just about every needle type I know of (bamboo, double ended, circular, etc) so I think needles are pretty much out of the question. I thought about some nice yarn, but since that's kind of project-specific it'd be a bit presumptuous. So what awesome must-have and never knew it kind of gear would you suggest?

Oh, and she's also got multiple bags/organizers so that's out, too. I'm usually wary about getting a hobby-related gift for someone deep into it since it's usually wrong in some way or something they already have.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE to Shopping (37 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Some sort of cute accessory, like a stitch marker?
posted by chaiminda at 12:43 PM on November 26, 2012

A ball winder and swift for balling yarn that comes in skeins? She may already have this, but it's a pretty neat set of tools that I enjoy having.

Stitch markers are a great idea too - I just have cheapo plastic ones and would love some nicer ones.
posted by misskaz at 12:44 PM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]

Is she on Ravelry? You could check out her profile there and see if she's got anything wishlisted. Do you know what kinds of things she generally knits? Some of the accessories I can think of are more useful with certain types of knitting than others (e.g., sock knitters, lace, etc.)
posted by katemonster at 12:44 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

So what awesome must-have and never knew it kind of gear would you suggest?

A small postal-type scale is this for me. I make a lot of socks, and it's the easiest way to figure out how to divide a skein of yarn in half equally.
posted by Lucinda at 12:46 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]

Is there any way to find out her favorite knitting store, and do they do gift certificates? I know it seems maybe a little impersonal to you, but being able to support a local favorite spot, that often has better, more interesting, but much more expensive fibers, is really wonderful. And yes, it's kind of project specific, so a gift certificate or store credit is great because that means when she gets an idea in her head that she wants to do right, in high quality materials, she'll have the means to do so, because of you.

What's your budget for this? Because there are some other more unwieldy things I can think of, depending on the types of projects she likes to do. Like if she makes lacework of any sort, she might appreciate a big, foldable board covered in stiff foam and thin, wicking fabric, to help block pieces. But that's more of a DIY sort of thing.
posted by Mizu at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

My sister is a serious knitter and, unless she gives us specific requests, we usually end up giving her gift certificates to her local yarn shop or online shops she particularly likes. It's also worth checking out her Amazon wishlist, as they've now got the universal wishlist feature and you may find something knitting-related (or even a knitting book she wants) on there.
posted by katemonster at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I would suggest a gift certificate to a yarn shop she likes, either a local one, or an online shop. Where is your friend located? We might be able to suggest a store.
posted by wens at 12:47 PM on November 26, 2012

A small pair of sharp scissors in a carrying pouch
Stitch markers (very easy to DIY cute ones)
Darning needles in a case
A yarn bowl
Some REALLY GOOD hand balm
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:48 PM on November 26, 2012

Seconding a ball winder or a gift certificate to her local knitting store. I'm a fairly accomplished and well-accessorized knitter, and either of those would make me very happy.
posted by ottereroticist at 12:49 PM on November 26, 2012

She does have a Ravelry account but I believe is basically inactive. There's stitch markers and stitch holders all over the house already, but they're basically cheap/plastic ones as far as I can tell.

Most recently she's completed a couple of sweaters (one baby) and a pair of socks, mostly wool. So nothing fine like lace.

*headslap* I completely didn't think of a gift certificate. There's a single awesome boutique store in town that she avoids because she's hinky about spending money on really nice yarn.

As far as budget, I'm willing do ~$200 if it's really, really cool.

(This is my wife, no idea why I made the question sound really impersonal.)
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 12:51 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

Would she like to move out of her fibre boundaries a bit? Crochet, nooking, spinning, tatting, felting ... you can find good books or tools for all of these fairly easily.
posted by paduasoy at 12:54 PM on November 26, 2012

And weaving.
posted by paduasoy at 12:54 PM on November 26, 2012

A yarn store gift certificate (either local, or a big online store like Knit Picks or Webs) would be great - no worrying about her tastes or getting the wrong thing.

Things I can never have enough of:
- Project bags
- Stitch markers
- Blocking pins
- Little notions (tape measurers, tapestry needles, tiny scissors or nail clippers...) that always seem to get lost

Does she have any interest in spinning? A nice spindle, a few instructional books/DVDs, and a variety of fibers could make an awesome gift, if it's something she'd like to pursue. I learned to spin about 6 months after I learned to knit, and it gave me a whole new perspective on yarn and fiber.
posted by Gordafarin at 1:01 PM on November 26, 2012

Gift certificate to that boutique with the stipulation that she buy something she'd really enjoy, and not just stretch it out on their crappy sale yarn. She'll be like a kid in a candy store. Put it inside a gorgeous new knitting book for bonus points.
posted by barnone at 1:03 PM on November 26, 2012 [7 favorites]

Soak Boxes.

I'd go for one without the yarn (just some Soak and Heel combo thing). It would make a lovely stocking stuffer.

Also, nthing the recommendation for a gift certificate to your local yarn store.

Or, if your wife has any serious love for socks, a sock club membership would be a huge splurge gift. There are other yarn/fiber clubs out there, too.

For more ideas, check out the Yarn Harlot's guide from last year. Start reading from the bottom of the page- that's the beginning of December. There are plenty of ideas for all budget levels.
posted by Cracky at 1:03 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you got me a $200 gift certificate at the spendiest yarn store in town, I'd be in heaven.

This compact knitting tool kit is also all the rage in our local knitting circle.
posted by BrashTech at 1:07 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]

I would LOVE a nice wooden swift and a high quality ball winder, if she doesn't have one already. I think the only reason this would be unwelcome is if she takes special pleasure in balling by hand (some do) but you'd probably know if she does!
posted by telegraph at 1:12 PM on November 26, 2012

Nthing the ball-winder and swift. Preferably together! I also nth a gift certificate to either her local yarn store or an online store. (I like KnitPicks - they have affordable decent-quality yarn so she can get a lot of bang for her buck, as well as a bunch of useful accessories and books.)

A bottle or two of good-quality fiber wash like Eucalan or Soak would be nice. The Soakboxes are really cool - there's a style that comes with a bottle of Soak, a bottle of hand lotion, a skein of yarn with a pattern for fingerless mitts, and a matching bottle of nail polish.

As far as stitch markers, I have a few in this style and I love them. They're nicer than plain plastic markers, but not so precious that you're afraid to lose a couple. Plus there are no snaggy or dangly bits to get in the way.

And even though she has enough bags, I feel compelled to put in a plug for Offhand Designs' Daisy. I got it for Christmas last year - even though I have a bunch of bags already - and it's the best one I have.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:13 PM on November 26, 2012

Any interest in spinning her own yarn? My wife likes that more than the actual knitting.

Also, my wife and her mom have an Etsy shop. There's usually yarn bowls up there that her dad turns but they just sold a bunch at a craft show.
posted by theichibun at 1:19 PM on November 26, 2012

If she doesn't already have a ballwinder and swift, you absolutely need to buy her one of each. Any other suggestion given here will be less helpful to her as a knitter than that.

If she does have the winder and swift though... a gift certificate is a great idea. Here are some others:

* Even if she has every needle type that _you_ can think of, chances are she doesn't have a set of Signature Needles. They market themselves as the Cadillac of Needles and price themselves accordingly. I wouldn't spring for a whole set at all, but something like this gift set (which comes with a skein of uber lux yarn) would be appreciated by me, and would give your wife the chance to decide that Signatures are, in general, "worth it". The bonus of course being that if she _does_ like them, you can throw in a pair/set with her gifts for other occasions as well.

* I see you live in Tennesee. I don't know of any major fiber festivals near you (though there seem to be smaller ones). What about a trip to Vogue Knitting Live, Madrona, or Stitches? This will blow out your $200 budget, but it can be a weekend getaway for both of you, and she may appreciate that you're willing to devote your vacation dollars and time to something that she's really into.

* There are lots of indie dyers who do yarn-of-the-month type clubs -- so many that the choices could be overwhelming. If I was buying for someone, I'd choose one of Sundara's Yarn Clubs (ideally the Luxury yarn one but that's closed. I have knit with and loved her Fingering Silky Merino though).

* If she does show an interest in becoming multicraftual, as opposed to getting her all of the gear for a new hobby that she might not enjoy, I'd recommend gifting her with classes. here in MN we have the Weavers Guild of MN, which offers classes in things like weaving (duh), yarn dyeing, and spinning. They provide all of the equipment and you spend a day or two (or a handful of evenings) learning the basics and making a beginner project. It helped me decide that I don't like dyeing yarn, but I do love weaving.

* And I know you say she has lots of bags, but if she's the type to have lots of projects going at one time, then she might appreciate more bags. And if we are plugging bags, I will put my plug in for the Tom Binh Swift line of bags. They are well made and well thought out -- lots of pockets, no velcro, neat clips that you can use with their modular mini-bags, etc.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a knitter who is usually on a budget and I would love it if someone gave me a gift certificate. One year I got a total of $200 in gc's from Knit Picks, which isn't exactly luxury yarn, but it's nice enough and I was able to buy a lot of stuff and I was super happy. But if she doesn't have one already, I have to say that I really do love my ball winder and swift. I bought them for myself but I would have loved them as a gift. Also seconding the Tom Binh Swift bags. My husband gave me one a few years ago and it is my favorite.bag.ever. I carried it for two straight years after I got it, which is saying a lot because I'm sort of a bag hoarder.
posted by upatree at 1:27 PM on November 26, 2012

I know I'm the nth person to say this, but it really can't be overestimated how awesome it is having a ballwinder and swift in the house. No more waiting a million years at the yarn shop for them to wind enough yarn for a sweater or untangling hanks of yarn at home over the back of a chair. So. Fabulous.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:34 PM on November 26, 2012

Yeah, the gift certificate sounds like the right choice, then. I'm in general opposed to gift certificates, partly out of a selfish desire to have the fun of choosing exactly what I'm giving. I finally realized that, especially with hobbyists, a lot of the fun for *them* is in the choosing, so it's not that I'm being lazy or abdicating my giftgiving by giving them a gift certificate -- I'm sacrificing my own pleasure in favor of giving them the joy of shopping and deciding for themselves with no guilt about how much it costs.
posted by katemonster at 1:35 PM on November 26, 2012

I'm a knitter who has never invested in a ball winder and swift, and I would be absolutely thrilled if someone bought them for me!

Another idea is a subscription to Interweave Knits magazine, plus a gift certificate to a yarn store or a homemade certificate to buy the yarn to make whatever project she chooses. I would love that too.
posted by apricot at 1:38 PM on November 26, 2012

You could get her a gift certificate for custom yarn at Yarnia!
posted by funkiwan at 1:46 PM on November 26, 2012

It's really, really difficult to buy yarn for others, so I'm n-thing a gift certificate. Maybe wrap it up in a small knit-themed tote bag with some SOAK and a few stitch markers inside? You can find plenty of suitable tote bags on Etsy - you can also find knitting-themed jewelry there.
posted by kariebookish at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2012

Many smaller/fancier/indie yarn companies have a "Yarn of the Month" (or every other month, or quarterly) membership club. It sounds like your wife likes to knit small, well-constructed things, so she might really enjoy something like this:

I am not as in the loop (hardie har har) as much as I once was -- perhaps if this is something you are interested in other Mefites can chime in with some other club suggestions.
posted by stowaway at 1:54 PM on November 26, 2012

Knitting book publisher here. In addition to the local yarn store gift certificate, how about a copy of a really classic, awesome knitting book for under the tree? The Principles of Knitting weighs about a million pounds and is AWESOME, for example!
posted by at 2:12 PM on November 26, 2012

I was also going to suggest a beautiful knitting book! Either one with gorgeous photography and styles that really suit her preferences, or a great reference book as mentioned above.
posted by Kololo at 2:52 PM on November 26, 2012

I think non-fiction books a really fraught area for gift-giving, unless you are also an expert in the area. People have a tendency to get me books about things I'm very interested in that are extremely basic and uninteresting to me—I guess the really basic books seem appealing to someone who knows nothing about the subject, and getting a more advanced book that would matches my interests and tastes is beyond their scope.

Unless you know a specific title she wants, you might end up getting something that's not her style, or too basic to be interesting, or something that only duplicates the information from a book already in her library.

I've received a couple of books that got donated to the library (a really simplistic basic manual/reference, and a book of really ugly patterns) as well as a cherished book that a crafty Secret Santa gave me after stalking me on Ravelry, seeing that I'd favorited a couple patterns from one book, and very subtly and seemingly naturally asking me about which patterns I liked from the book to make sure I'd be interested. :)
posted by BrashTech at 3:21 PM on November 26, 2012

Thanks for all the responses! I'm going to hit up the local boutique place tomorrow and see about getting a gift certificate.

I had thought about pairing it with a book, but her complaint is normally that they're geared towards beginners or are simply small collections of patterns. The Principles of Knitting seems like it may be the reference-quality style of book worth checking into, though.

Thanks again for everyone's response, there's a few I'll have to research further.
posted by PantsOfSCIENCE at 3:43 PM on November 26, 2012

Yarn Harlot does a Gifts for Knitters series that's pretty comprehensive if you'd like more food for thought.

Asking folks at the local yarn store for recommendations is a good idea as well, they'll probably be thrilled to help.
posted by momus_window at 5:05 PM on November 26, 2012

Not expensive, but might be a useful addon--I absolutely ADORE my abacus stitch counter bracelets from Hide and Sheep. I don't actually wear them, but I looooooove them for counting.
posted by xyzzy at 6:17 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is a famous knitting writer named Elizabeth Zimmerman, any of whose books are very fun for someone who likes good no-nonsense writing. It's possible she already has EZ's books though.

A nice brand of needle is Addi Turbos, they are great circular needles, shiny metal (if you have noticed what type/size she has), very smooth to work with.

A fun little thing is the Debra's Garden Needle Gauge Pendant. (Many knitting stores sell these; those links are to the Debra's Garden site, but you can find these at other stores.) It's pretty enough to wear as a necklace, especially in the lighter colors, or to have on your keychain etc, but it's also a functional needle-measuring device. It's an unusual thing, and the knitters I've given it to have been very charmed by it. Look around their site, they have several fun little things like this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:46 PM on November 26, 2012

A little late to the party, but I just saw these Holiday Knitting Kits from Brooklyn Tweed, and thought of this question. I find the packaging and the yarn really appealing in these kits.

I'm a fairly experienced knitter and I'm usually very specific with my husband about what I want, gift-wise, but any of these kits would be a pleasant surprise.

(I had the needle gauge Lobster Mitten linked to on my wish list for years and no one bought it for me, so I finally gave it to myself last year for Christmas! So handy to slip into my little knitting kit and much nicer than most other needle gauges.)
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:41 AM on November 27, 2012

I have been knitting for some years, and as I have progressed in my knitting, my preference for knitting books has shifted to books like The Principles of Knitting or Knitting in the Old Way: Designs and Techniques from Ethnic Sweaters, and away from pattern collections. Basically, books that are encyclopedic references or explain principles so that I can knit in my own way. Of late I've been trying to acquire knitting reference books from non-U.S. countries, as they reveal differences in preferred or standard techniques. Perhaps a future gift could be Big Book of Knitting, which was originally published in Germany.

(Elizabeth Zimmerman, while a good read, can be a bit idiosyncratic for some - I would probably leave this as something for your wife to discover on her own.)
posted by needled at 7:17 AM on November 27, 2012

Another knitter chiming in here. I love getting gift certificates to local yarn shops! Those are always good.

This year I have hinted exceedingly strongly to my husband that a project bag and some stitch hoodies from this Etsy shop would make me very, very happy. I've seen her stuff in person, and it's all really well-made, very pretty, and man do those stitch hoodies look useful!
posted by sarcasticah at 5:11 PM on November 27, 2012

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