Books to inspire your gift knitting

As we get closer to Christmas you may well be revising your gift knitting plans to include some smaller items. Luckily we’ve recently come across a couple of books that might help with this.

Knitted Toys by  Jody Long (Dover)

knitted toy bookJody Long has come up with a selection of quirky toys that would make great gifts for younger children. The patterns themselves are fun and colourful and clearly written. They don’t require complicated techniques and should be as fun for you to make as for the recipient to play with. From Dippy the Duck with a rubber ring and Freddie the Fire Engine, complete with a knitted 3D ladder, to Primrose the Teddy who is ready for bed with her nightgown and cap. these patterns have lots of detail making them special gifts.

The book also features lots of advice on making toys safely as well as a techniques section. All the patterns written for acrylic DK and Jody includes an explanation of how to work out you have the correct amount of yarn if you use a different brand than the one he chose.

Speaking as someone with young nieces and nephews, if you have children to knit for this is a very useful book.

Pretty Knitted Hands by Clara Falk and Kamilla Svanlund (Search Press)

Pretty knitted hands bookFrom autumn to spring I always have a pair of fingerless mitts close at hand for chilly days and as well as enjoying wearing them myself, I’ve realised that they make lovely gifts for other people. You can put a lot of love and detail into these small items and make them in a fantastic yarn that you might buy one skein of but not a jumper quantity.

Well this year I’m not going to have any problem finding patterns – my worry is whether I have enough scrumptious yarn – because of this lovely book of handwarmers for all year round.

The 27 patterns have been broken down into seasons and there is enough variety for everyone’s taste. The techniques such as Latvian braid are explained clearly, and there is a nice mix of cables, lace and colour work, wrist warmers and full mittens. The only problem now is to decide whether I am making presents for other people or having the best selection of mitts ever.


Your Christmas knitting checklist

We don’t want you to panic, but with the schools starting back you might want to think about your Christmas knitting if you are planning to give hand-knitted or crocheted gifts this year.

It is certainly time to make a plan and decide if it is realistic – so ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many gift do you plan to make?
  2. How big is each gift – a sweater or a hat? If you answered 20 to question one and now note that at least 10 of these are fair isle jumpers or granny square blankets for double beds, it is possible that you have a time problem. So…
  3. How much time per week do you have to knit?
  4. How long does it take you to make (including weaving in ends, sewing up, adding buttons, etc) a pair of socks, a hat, a laptop cosy and so on?
  5. How many of the projects are secret and what proportion of your time is “secret knitting time”? Does anyone else imagine themselves knitting in a wardrobe or broom cupboard to keep a present a surprise?

Now take a look at questions one, two and four to add up the amount of making time you require between now and the early hours of 25 December. Then look back at question three and ask yourself one final simple question – is the amount of knitting/crochet/finishing time available more than you need to complete your gift list? If not, it is time for a rethink now – not in mid December.

Christmas inspiration. Nordic sweater from James C Brett (jb193); Fun hats from Hayfield; Slouchy cable socks by Debbie Bliss (DB084); Kids sweaters in Stylecraft Life (9031); King Cole Christmas selection (8002); On trend Mermaid blankets by Wendy (6022)

Remember that although you might think of a knitted sweater to full circle shawl as a bigger gift, many not knitters will feel as loved receiving a beautiful soft scarf or a pair of snuggly socks. Choosing a luxurious yarn for a small project can also make it more special – so if you had originally budgeted for a sweater quantity of yarn you could think of a smaller project but up your spend per skein. It is also a good idea to purchase all your gift knitting yarn now so there is no delay between projects and so you can pick up something else if you hit a glitch with one item.

And finally while giving people handmade presents is a lovely thing, please remember that you should enjoy yourself too so try to avoid any 3am secret finishing session on the run up to the big day.

Last minute Father’s Day knits

It’s Father’s Day this Sunday – but don’t panic there is still time to produce a quick knitted gift. And what can be nicer than a personalised, handmade present.

Here are our suggestions for the perfect Father’s Day knits.

fathers day knits

June might seem an odd time to produce a woolly hat. But think about the British summer – that hat will come in very handy on that walk in the country or coast when the howling gale descends or sitting up late in the garden when the temperature drops suddenly. And if not, it will come into its own for gardening in the autumn.

There are dozens of free beanie patterns on Ravelry like the Man Hat pictured above – click here to find them.

Also perfect for sudden summer temperature drops and autumn outdoor tasks are fingerless gloves. Be careful in your choice here – many experienced gift knitters have found that some men make a big distinction between fingerless gloves (with the cut off fingers) and mitts (no fingers at all). Only the former like the Sunrise Gloves (top right) are acceptable. Fingerless mitts may be regarded as too girly!

For some of us socks would take a bit longer, but we know some of you are really speedy knitters and could turn a pair out by Sunday. Our top tip here is to go for a plainish pattern with a lovely self-striping yarn rather than complicated cables for a last minute gift. Or how about a tie – you can find a free pattern from Sirdar here.

And if your dad isn’t a fan of wearing wool (we accept there are people like that!), how about a phone or iPad cozy. You could go for something like the Cabled iPad Sleeve (pictured) or go for a ribbed sock-style cozy along the lines of the Snitty iPod Sock and use up some remnants of smart sock yarn.

You will probably have a suitable pattern on your shelf and some suitable yarn in your stash, so there’s plenty time to create a lovely gift. If you don’t have the right pattern why not take a look at what some of our members have to offer in men’s knits – Designer YarnsKing Cole, Thomas B. RamsdenRowanSirdar and Stylecraft. You can also find a list of free men’s gift patterns on All Free Knitting.

Share pictures of your Father’s Day gift on our Facebook page or tweet us at @UKHKA

Also pictured:
Time Traveler Socks
Carmichael Fingerless Gloves