Gift giving season is here, which means that gift knitting season is also here! I’ve been knee deep in gift knitting myself, with a goal to knit hats for all of my friends for an upcoming girls weekend! Since time is at a premium these days, I opted to go easy. I knit 6 hats in super bulky yarn using the easiest ever hat pattern (courtesy of Loopy Mango’s My First Hat project!). I modified the pattern here and there, using a slightly smaller needle and slightly more stitches – the result was quick and satisfying hats that are super cute. Each is topped with a fur pompom. I think my girls are going to like it. The best thing about these hats is that I was able to reach my gift knitting goal without any stress – just pure knitting delight.
This last point is key when it comes to gift knitting – at least I think it should be. You should knit gifts for people you adore, and you should feel awesome about making something with your hands, with love and appreciation for that person. It’s not pure knitting delight if you’re worried that the recipient won’t appreciate their gift, or if you’re stressing about whether or not you’re able to get it done. Not only do I think you should pick yarns that are delightful to knit (either to look at or that feel wonderful on your fingers), but pick projects that won’t burden you with tons of time. Pick projects that don’t have tons of yardage requirements or aren’t totally fussy. Cowls, hats, mittens and socks (yes socks, keep reading if you’re struggling to believe me) are my go-to gift knits.
When it comes to unfussy knitting projects, I can’t say enough about Loopy Mango projects. They are delightfully simple, with their beautiful yarns speaking for themselves. As mentioned above, I knit a bunch of their My First Hat for my friends this year. Last year, I made tons of Her Beanies using Merino No. 5. I also just made a gift (ahem, for myself) of the Stockinette Scarf using their new Mohair So Soft. All of these are knit on big fat needles, with thick yarn. They go fast! They are so soft and come in delightful colors that make the recipient feel joyful! With these sorts of gifts, it’s relatively easy to substitute other super bulky yarns, like Malabrigo’s Rasta or Cascade’s Spuntaneous. In some cases you may need to add a couple stitches, but with projects this simple, these are easy modifications. (By the way, if you’d like these patterns, they are free with purchase of yarn when you buy from a little yarn store like Wool & Grace! Make sure to mention you want one at checkout!)
Similarly simple is a new, free hat pattern from Baah yarns called Beat the Chill. Knit up in Baah’s sublimely soft Sequoia, this simple beanie is shown topped with a fur pompom (just the way our Wool & Grace knitters like it), and allows this gorgeous hand-dyed yarn to speak for itself. This project also happens to be a wonderful option for Madeline Tosh Home!
One more hat I love to knit is Beloved Aran. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been reminded by our knitters that this hat is loved by all of its recipients. I’ve made it in Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran, Lhasa, Katia’s Cotton Merino and Cascade’s Luminosa. Really, just pick any heavy-worsted weight yarn to knit it up. It’s especially delightful topped with a pompom. I’m at a point where I can knit up one of these in a night. How’s that for satisfying gift knitting?
I like a good gift cowl because I love wearing cowls. They protect your neck and chin from the cold weather winds but they’re less likely to get dragged through my coffee as I struggle to caffeinate thoroughly for the day. Last year’s Half & Half Cowl from Churchmouse Yarns was a great quick knit that used the likes of Stratus for a chic and fuss-free cold-weather accessory. This year, I love their Two Point Cowl. It can be worn under or over a coat, and transitions well to the indoors. I knit up a sample for the shop using Rowan’s Brushed Fleece, and this piece would also be great knit up in Blue Sky’s Techno, Juniper Moon’s Fourteen, Quarry or Madeline Tosh Home. These are all bulky-weight yarns, meaning they’ll knit up fast – a big plus when it comes to gift knitting. This pattern is also written for a dk-weight yarn. Some particularly yummy possibilities at this weight that come to mind are Blue Sky’s Baby Alpaca, Shibui’s Maai or Juniper Moon’s Dromedary. This isn’t a big piece, so even at this lighter weight, the Two Point Cowl won’t take too long.
If you want something more going on with your cowl, check out the Cabled Moss Stitch Cowl from Churchmouse. This delightful, free pattern is knit up using a worsted-wight yarn held double. I think it’d be super-duper delicious using Falkland Aran, Shepherd’s Wool, or Katia’s Cotton Merino. Given that is made using a yarn held double, you can also consider bulky-weight yarns for this project to get similar dimensions. I think it’d be gorgeous using Brooklyn Tweed’s Quarry, Juniper Moon’s Fourteen, Cascade 128, to name a few.
This year my brother asked me for socks. Specifically, he asked me for socks that he could wear while watching cartoons and smoking pot. (He is a pretty responsible adult and he lives in Colorado where it is legal). This is coming from a cycling aficionado who is also a sock aficionado. I’m so touched by this request that I’m totally making him socks, but I’m keeping it stress free by making him a pair of worsted weight socks using our toe-up sock method (just covered in our Fall Sock Class with Kathryn). I’m going to make his using two skeins of HiKoo’s SimpliWorsted. This way he can throw them in the washer and dryer all he wants and their softness will never be compromised. I’ve been delighted to see that all levels of knitters have been really successful with this sock method. and have been spitting out socks for themselves and loved ones. I feel confident recommending this method for gift knitting purposes. (Also, if you’re interested in knitting these socks, please be sure to mention this at checkout, and we’d be happy to include the pattern for free with your purchase!
A couple of great gift compilations have been released recently, and they are what spurred this week’s post. Ysolda Teague publishes a Knitworthy series every fall, and it includes several small projects that make beautiful gifts. Teague is a talented and detail-oriented designer, and her pieces involve a bit of technique appropriate for intermediate knitters. I particularly like Radost, a cowl with a kerchief-like point at the front. This piece is worked in a combination of garter stitch and brioche stitch, but it is unfussy and a great way for an aspiring-brioche knitter to give it a try. Use an aran or bulky weight yarn for this project. This knit up in Blue Sky’s Extra, Sequoia or Home all sound especially yummy to me. There are a number of other beautiful pieces in this collection – which you can check out here. Until mid-December, you must buy the collection as a whole. I personally think it’s a good investment!
One more beautiful collection of gift knitting patterns is the Brooklyn Tweed Holiday 2018 collection. This includes some familiar pieces (like Svenson, recently as separate patterns for men and women) and some great new patterns. I particularly like the intricate pieces by Emily Greene including Links (a heavily cabled hat knit up in Shelter) and Refract (a wrap or scarf knit up in Arbor or Quarry).
I also love the Galloway Hat, which includes the color work motif from the adventurous Galloway cardigan (released earlier in the year). This beautiful, wintry hat has reinterpreted the motif using Peerie, Brooklyn Tweed’s newest yarn, a fingering weight worsted-spun yarn ideal for great stitch definition. While these beautiful pieces are not as effortless as some of the above-mentioned projects, they will be wonderful gift-knitting projects for our adventurous and ambitious knitters!
Gift knitting should be fun, and there’s a lot of room with all of these ideas for you to make something beautiful that will be loved and worn by its recipient. Don’t forget the gift you get when you make something for a loved one: the opportunity to meditate on your affection for this person who matters enough to you to be knit-worthy!