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.


Knitting for Pets

When your drawers are swollen with sweaters, cardies and shawls, every baby you know has a pretty hoodie, and your family members have socks, gloves and hats for every day of the year, who do you knit for next?

Well, there are the many charities in our Commit to Knit project you could make things for but another potential recipient for your knitting could be your pets.

knitting for pets

Stylish knits for your pets: Cat mane hat by Mer Almagro; Dog coat by Stylecraft; Dino cat hat from Sara Thomas; Hayfield DK dog santa hat; crochet pet ball covers by Debi Brennan; and chicken sweaters

There are plenty of options for pet knitting from the practical such as coats for smaller or fragile breeds of dog and blankets and beds for pets of all sizes, as well as catnip mice for your cat, to the more just for fun options such as pet hats. With a couple of balls of yarn you can turn you moggie into a lion or a dinosaur, or dress your pooch for Christmas morning. Some of the cat hats look amazing but I’m not sure I have the courage to attempt to put a costume on a cat.

Even if you don’t have a pet yourself, you could think about using up oddments of yarn creating a blanket or a toy for a rescue animal. Both the RSPCA and the National Animal Welfare Trust – two charities backed by Commit to Knit – accept items to help with maltreated or abandoned animals (always check with your local branch).

Or you could check with your local animal rescue centre to see if they need any special animal items knitted such as sweaters for former battery hens to wear while their feathers regrow.