Gift season is here, and thanks to my kids’ excitement about CustomFit’s new capabilities, my mind has been focused on gift knitting this week.
I knit a lot of sweaters for different people – both family and friends, of all genders and ages. Lauren, likewise, has a strong history of knitting sweaters for her loved ones. So today, we’ve put our heads together and come up with our list of
Tip 1: Be realistic about your yarn
It’s tempting to try and use gifts to show our loved ones how utterly amazing yarn is, but filter your excitement through your recipient’s life – and choose a yarn that matches their daily routine.
(Brenna is a rough-and-tumble kind of kid. So even though Vendavel is on the dressier side, I knew I had to choose a super hard-wearing, super easy-care yarn. Berroco Vintage to the rescue!)
Do they regularly hand-wash clothing? If not, something that can be tossed in the washing machine on cold is a really good idea. But this tip isn’t just about machine washability – Is the sweater intended for someone who will wear it when they’re being active outdoors? If so, a super-delicate, pills-when-you-look-at-it merino/cashmere blend probably isn’t the right choice. Will a little kid wear it while on the jungle gym? Something dense, maybe with a bit of hard-wearing nylon or acrylic, might be better than a loosely-twisted woolenspun.
Tip 2: Keep it simple for yourself.
Gift knitting isn’t the time to break out a new, unfamiliar technique or an unusual construction you’ve never worked before.
(Jacob’s big request for this sweater was “a scary spider”, which I made out of cables. So I made the rest of the sweater something I could knit in my sleep!)
Gift knitting often involves some improvisation – whether it’s to match a yarn you know the recipient will love, or adjusting a pattern to make a motif something they’ll enjoy, or something else. So keep the canvas of your gift something that you’re really
comfortable with. That way, when you need to adjust elsewhere, you’ll be confident the rest of the project is on track.
Tip 3: Match what’s in their closet.
If the gift is a surprise, check your own desires as a knitter as much as possible! Instead, investigate what they already wear and love.
(Beth is a dramatic dresser with a love for jewel tones. Her daily wear inspired my first design for her – and it’s still one of her faves.)
We all love to knit things that speak to us as knitters – but be honest with yourself – what you probably want is for the gift to be loved like crazy and worn all the time
. So think about what your recipient loves like crazy, and wears all the time – and then match your yarn and pattern to them
I promise, the (often surprised!) look of utter joy will more than make up for it.
Tip 4: Don’t worry about deadlines!
Crazy deadlines + gift pressure = super stressed knitter.
(This adorable elephant was a couple of weeks late… …he unwrapped just the front for his birthday! But don’t worry, the sweater was still worn and loved until he grew out of it.)
of us are at our best when we’re stressed. To make sure your gift is as lovely as can be, either give yourself ample time to finish the item, or permission to gift it on the needles without guilt.
If you’re taking the first tactic, consider your schedule, the complexity of the project, and be sure to build in finishing time! If you’re taking the second tactic, try to complete one of the most interesting pieces or motifs first, so that there’s something exciting to unrwap.
Tip 5: Consider eliminating the surprise.
This is tough for some knitters to consider, but both Lauren and I have had way more success when our loved ones have been part of the decision making.
(Lauren’s most recent sweater for her husband. He chose the pattern, the colors, and even the yarn… and he wears it all the time!)
Working with your gift recipient is a great way to make sure they’ll adore what you create. Just make sure to listen to their feedback and give them room to express it!
When it comes right down to it, nothing is as good as the feeling of seeing the ones you love, love what you make for them.
(My most favorite photo shoot out-take ever.)
Don’t you agree?
We’re curious what you think, too – What are your favorite gift knitting tips – most hilarious disasters? Let us know here in the comments, or over on our Facebook page. Until next time, happy knitting!