Knitting For Others

DSC02386Does anyone remember that old Dunkin Donuts commercial where the guy leaves the house early in the morning, muttering, “Time to make the donuts.”? Well around here, I’m hearing muttering that sounds like, “Time to make the knitting gift list.” (Of course I know that some of you are WELL into your lists, and a few of you are all finished. Seriously. Finished. Holy cow.) For those who might still be pondering, here are some of the ideas on my possibilities list for this season:

I love Johanne’s mitten patterns. For those who have not done colorwork before, remember that you only deal with two colors on any given row. Easy peasy. These are best done up in solids and semi-solids like the colors from Louet, Alchemy, Dye Dreams and Dream in Color Smooshy. ย I have mittens on my list for someone this year.

I still like Fetching for a great fingerless mitt pattern, and they knit up quickly. I think these would be gorgeous done up in Malabrigo Seleccion Privada. (Or for a more semi-solid look, try them in Shibui Knits Worsted. I keep eyeing that Peacock colorway.) I did mine in Schaefer Lola – also a great yarn for that.

Or how about these Noro Fingerless Mitts from a skein of Silk Garden? You can’t beat the colors.

Some of my favorite scarf patterns come from Jojoland. Of course they look beautiful in the Jojoland colors (and we have more of those arriving next week), but they also look beautiful in solids and semi-solids. And if it’s going around my the giftee’s neck, I they’ll want it to be soft. Perfect yarns for these would be Hand Maiden Casbah, String Theory Caper, MacKintosh, Shibui Baby Alpaca, and The YoYo Cashsport.

DSC02922I also love the Chevron Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and have made some of those. You can hardly go wrong with any color combination. I like Fiesta Boomerang (we have a big order arriving any day), but I also want to try one with Hand Maiden’s Sea Three. Luscious. This one was done with Lorna’s Laces Sport – Vera and Pioneer. And then there are those Noro Silk Garden Worsted Scarves, shown in the first photo today. (K1, P1 down and back with one color Noro, K1, P1 down and back with a second color Noro.) ย There are too many quick scarf options.

Anne Hanson has some great cowl patterns. (And you know, she also has some great scarf patterns, too.) I made her Spiraluscious cowl last year and it would make a quick and easy gift. Try some cowls in Ella Rae, Enchanted Knoll Farm, and Hand Maiden Mini Maiden or Swiss Mountain Sea Sock.

I have yet to be a big shawl knitter. (Ok – a shawl knitter at all. Although I’m totally enjoying my Girasole Shawl in the KAL that we’re doing.) I may have found the pattern to get me in with both feet. I found it on Ravelry and just bought it. Now to figure out what yarn to use. I also favorited this one. Both call for fingering weight yarn with about 1 skein used. Come to think of it, that might be a good one to go stash-busting for. (Added later: Too late. I already walked around Loopy and found new yarn to use. Mini Maiden for one and Swiss Sockย for the other. I’m bad. No wonder my stash continues to grow… )

Do your friends and family members appreciate knitted gifts? Or do you steer clear of that? How many gifts will you knit for others this season?

(In shop news, the Namaste Hermosa in RED, Laguna in BLACK and Zuma in BLACK are enroute and now available for order. We’ll ship the second they arrive, so come and get yours!)

Sheri offtoStitchesMidwestfortheweekend,backtoLoopyonMonday!


  1. I only knit ‘little’ gifts – baby stuff, mitts, hats, cowls & slippers are the best. Oh, and felted catnip mice for my friends kitties. This way, if someone doesn’t LOVE the gift, I don’t feel badly since I didn’t spend too much time making it. And I can use the yummiest yarns since none of these projects takes too much. (This is where those single skeins come in handy!)

  2. I really hate deadline knitting, it takes all the fun and relaxation out of the process for me. I prefer to just give away the items when they are done and not aim for a specific occasion.

  3. I love Johanne’s mitten patterns too. They are a great place for a colorwork newbie to start, in my opinion. I also love Johanne. Don’t tell anyone, but when I go to London next summer for the Knit Nation knitting event, I’m taking a side trip to Stockholm to meet her in person! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. I just blogged my Holiday Knitting list yesterday. I’m attempting to get 4 projects done each month before Christmas. Among the patterns is the Icarus Shawl, Maine Morning Mitts, Trigger Finger Mittens, Thrummed Mittens (with alpaca thrums!), and an Elephante. I’ll be blogging my progress – wish me luck!

  5. You know – I personally would rather receive a hand knit, crocheted, etc. gift than anything else. I still have a vivid picture in my mind of the filet crocheted VERY long scarf my Nana made for me when I was 16, out of Red Heart yarn in a pale jade green shade. I dearly wish I still had it, but I used it until it was no longer a scarf . For me I can feel the love and care that went into each stitch. Now as far as me giving gifts – friends have been very appreciative with the fingerless gloves or a pretty scarf, but with my family – I have stopped as I will knit something for one of my sisters and send it on its way and never hear from them. I made cashmere fingerless gloves and an angora blend accent scarf for my sister (she is a secty for a bank president and goes to many bank affairs and holiday parties) – and never had any response – not that that was why I made them – and it wasn’t for a holiday gift it was a “just because” thing between holidays. But I stick to making and giving knit or crocheted items to my friends, my son and daughter, and NOW my future DIL (who I love!!!) and my daughter’s steady (do they still call them that?) boyfriend (who I am also very fond of). My kids are in their 20s and even my DD’s BF loved the knit beanie (the kind all the young people wear) I made for him. I do love to hear what others are making or planning to work on. It’s fun to read about all of the projects and the yarns that will be used and you can feel the love and knitting excitement in the air with all that is shared! Sheri – those colorwork mittens are SO pretty – for a gift or for myself? – maybe in something red and white or winter white – that color combination reminds me of those carved Scandanavian horses that I used to love to look at in the local “Scandia Bakery” that I passed so many times on my way to elem. school each day. I think I would like to find one of those horses too – don’t know why I am going through a phase where things from my childhood are meaning so much to me this year? Anyone else go through that? I will read the blog later at work to get more ideas for those I will be knitting for this year. The ones so far are wonderful!

  6. I have been behind on my gift knitting list this year because I am making shop samples and teaching a lot of classes. So I really appreciated your blog about this and ideas for gifts. You had me at Anne Hanson’s cowl. So I have placed an order for a couple patterns. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  7. I usually do not knit for family members because most do not appreciate the time that is involved; however, my budget is tight this year and I have sock yarn in my stash.

    All of the adults (10 total) are getting wool socks this year. I have five pair finished already, so I think I will accomplish my goal.

  8. Thank you for the great, quick-ish shawl ideas! I did knitted cowls for teacher gifts last year and they were a hit. This year most folks will probably get bags…

    Have fun at Stitches!

  9. My family is always appreciative of my knitted gifts, and they look forward to August when I put out a call for gift requests! Ishbel will be knit for SIL and one sister, scarf for another sister, socks for Dad, and waiting to find out from sister #3 and brother what they want. Trying to knit from stash, but I did have to get some yummy Malabrigo laceweight yesterday at TLE!

  10. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas for gift knitting. I’ll need to check them out. I was just thinking of Christmas knitting this week and started matching patterns and yarns. I just ordered the Red Hermosa…looking forward to getting it.
    Have fun at Stitches MidWest this weekend.

  11. Over the years, I’ve learned to be very selective about who I knit for, who is going to really appreciate all of the time and hard work I’ve put into a gift. And it’s worked out well. Some giftees can’t wait to see what new item they get. Others (non-giftees) seem to open their presents with trepidation hoping against hope there’s nothing knitted for them in one of their boxes. To them I say bah humbug and more time for me to do other projects for people who will appreciate hand made gifts.

    I love to give socks and scarves. But this year I’ve had so much downtime, I’ve branched out into sweaters (Anne Hanson and Jarod Flood patterns) and a couple of Girasoles (thanks, Sheri, for the KAL). I’m also working on shawls which is my newest addiction. Anne Hanson has the clearest directions in her patterns and many are uber-friendly for new lace knitters.

    Of course, every time I mention Man Lace in the house, the guys run. Can’t wait to see them as they carefully open their Christmas boxes. LOL. No man-lace this year – or probably any other.

    And Sheri, I’m glad you found some yummy new yarn. There’s nothing that warms the heart like getting pretty new yarn for a new project. Not that you don’t love the stash yarns, but something new just gets your heart racing and all fired up for a new project. You’ll love lace.

  12. Thanks for all the great ideas. I wish I was a faster knitter to be able to make that many gifts.

    I love that Dunken Donuts commercial! I say that a lot of mornings too, I wouldn’t feel that way if my work destination was a yarn store!

  13. I do knit gifts, lots of them. Most people get useful things (ie. mittens and hats and scarves), though I have knit shawls, blankets, and sweaters (and even a giamungo blanket) but those are for people who appreciate them, often other knitters.

    This year I’ve got 4 pairs of mittens, a sweater (child), a bunch of market bags, a couple of hats, a couple of scarves/cowls, and some other little things I’ve forgotten. One of the hats, one pair of mittens, and the sweater are already finished.

  14. I occasionally knit gifts. This year, I knit an Ishbel for my mom’s birthday which is coming up, and I think I will knit my nephews socks and I am considering knitting someone a blanket. I love the mini-shawls made with one skein of sock yarn! There are so many great patterns to choose from.

  15. I do knit gifts for all occasions, but I do tend to do them for people I know will appreciate them.

    I’m in the middle of the Chevron Scarf in LL Winona/Woodlawn as I saw it in one of your earlier blogs and I already had the Joelle Hoverson book. Its great no brainer knitting I find.

    You are a really bad influence on me. I have just downloaded the two shawl patterns you mentioned. I have just the wool (from you) to suit both of them!

  16. I generally stay away from knitting gifts for others unless I’m absolutely sure they’ll appreciate handknits. I’ve been heartbroken too many times in the past!

  17. I gladly knit gifts for friends…they are very clear that they feel the love that went into that scarf/mitten/sock. Family…well, many in mine don’t seem to get it. Some seem to think that handknits are what you give when you can’t afford to purchase gifts…(I know). Others don’t understand intructions like “handwashing” or “don’t put this in the dryer!” …(I know). They do better with other types of gifts. My Dad just moved back up to Massachusetts from Florida this Fall. I’ll be knitting somethings for him…Fortunately, he’s living with a sister who also knits, so he doesn’t have to get the laundry issues. Now, I better go check out those links!

  18. I went thru a flurry of knitting gifts for family members last year. I heard the comments, ” Do you know you’re knitting with string?”…so thin…, or “Socks cost so little in the stores…”, or “These mitts don’t have any fingers – that’s what gets cold on me”, and I knit some baby booties that got thrown out in the ruckus of a baby shower cleanup. My daughter is the only one that wears and enjoys the items I knit, so this year I will be a bit more selective about the items matched to the persons wants and needs. There are just a few that really appreciate the time and effort, so I will only be knitting “a few”.

  19. Lately most of my gift knitting has been for baby gifts, 1st birthday gifts and Warm Woolies donations. It is September….time to think about adding a few more things to the list…..I’m sure much of it will be Malabrigo of some sort….. ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Wonderful pattern ideas, I love the small shawl and think I’ll be casting that on real soon. I really like the other shawl too and have it listed in my favorites in Ravelry.

    I love makeing things for others. Last Christmas I knit until I thought my hands would fall off. The following story is one only another knitter would appreciate.
    On Thanksgiving last year I was well on my way to Christmas Knitting including socks for one DIL and Intarsia Bags for 2 other DIL and 1 niece, sweater for best friend, scarves for other friends, started in Sept. My 17 yr old grandaughter came into the LR wrapped in a mitered noro blanket I had made the previous year. Said she loved it and could she have one just like it for Christmas. She wanted it so much, she didn’t care if she didn’t get anything else. Wow. One of my DIL’s and myself looked at each other and laughed hysterically. She had no idea that #1 it probably took a couple of months, and #2 cost close to $200.00. When all the company left my husband asked what was so funny and I recanted the story. His response was “Just give it to her and make another one” Well I did, with his $$ I made one much larger, my own design, and this time made it out of Kochoran. It’s gorgeous. Remind me to hide it when she comes over.

  21. I do knit for friends and family, but I generally prefer to knit for birthdays (or for other significant occasions throughout the year, or for no reason at all) rather than making myself panic about the holidays – I get enough of that trying to bake all the cookies in time.

  22. It’s really funny how in synch our minds are. I’ve recently bought two of Johanne’s mitten patterns, and the matching hat patterns; I’ve got the yarn picked out to knit the Spiraluscious cowl; and I just wound the yarn for the Multnomah shawl, which I’m going to start knitting next week! I’ve also got the yarn ready for Traveling Woman; I’m going to be knitting both shawls on our vacation starting next week.

    Clearly I’m right in the groove of what’s currently popular if I’m that close to your picks. Yay me! And thanks for all the great pattern and yarn suggestions — there are several here that hadn’t occurred to me that I need to investigate, and quickly, since Christmas isn’t that far off…

  23. Sheri The Enabler! Lovely post with links. ๐Ÿ™‚ I checked out your shawl choices and they’re pretty. Did you notice the sizes of them? A one-skein shawl is pretty little, more like a scarf. If you’re a small person, 44″ works pretty well for a little shoulder cover-up, but if you’re broad through the shoulders, longer works better. Just a thought before you get going. Center-top-down shawl patterns are great if you want to make them longer — just keep going until you run out of yarn.
    As far as knitting for others, last Christmas I decided to knit my mom a shawl, and it’s still waiting for the edging to be finished! Can’t stand knitting under a deadline and end up developing a block to finishing it. It WILL BE DONE before this Christmas! It will….

  24. In June, I send an email out to my siblings and their spouses and kids, asking them to let me know what they want this year for Christmas. I ask them to go through my Flickr photos and see what the possibilities are and to be specific about colors, weight and fit. Just to make them nervous, this year I said that anybody who didn’t get back to me with a specific request might end up with an angora willie warmer – my younger brother got one last year, so they know I might be serious. ๐Ÿ™‚

    This works pretty well. People generally get what they want, and I end up knitting some things I might not have otherwise (see wilie warmer, above). This year I’m knitting slugs, fish and a boat, along with the usual assortment of hats, socks, mittens and scarves.

    I love being able to spend time doing something I love and to spend some specific time thinking about each of the people I love most.

  25. Sheri,
    Funny you should mention gift knitting. I’m refusing to knit gifts this year. Too many people just don’t appreciate hand made gifts. I’m mad, I’ll probably change my tune. But knitting a simple shawl at the pediatritions this afternoon the Dr asked what I was knitting & mentioned that it’s not to early to start my holiday list. What do you think? Was he just hoping for socks or a sweater?

  26. You’re in CHICAGO for the weekend??? BFF Sarah would totally have you at her birthday party tomorrow if she had known!

    Email me if you want her phone number to give her a birthday call or if you want to freak her OUT and crash the party. I’ll hook you up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Oh, and I forgot to mention I ordered some of the Have It Sweet caramels and they came last night. You are soooo right about them! I can’t imagine a better caramel than the Fleur de Sel.

  28. I’m with some of the other people about deadline knitting. For me it really sucks out the joy of the creative process, and I keep falling into that trap each year and becoming frantic in mid December.

    I also find request knitting a trifle problematic. It’s not the “I would appreciate a pair of socks” that is the problem. It is the specific shade of yarn (this Pantone shade of red) with yarn/pattern type requests that make it difficult. I like knitting something that I find creative and enjoyable as part of the process, so doing a plain stockinette stocking in baby pink acryllic (polyester what have you) sock yarn fills me with sadness.

  29. I have a “house scarf” I’m knitting for my husband in his alma mater’s colors. I have one more Everlasting Bagstopper to knit for my best friend’s family. I may do another pair or two of socks for gifts.

    My in-laws are firmly in the “nothing handmade” category, but my best friend and his mom/sister are knitworthy, as is my family and brother in law/sister in law.

    However, I don’t do well with deadline knitting. It sucks the fun out of it, so I never announce what I’m going to gift to anybody and they get it whenever it’s finished.

  30. I just finished the Multnomah shawl, although I did it in a scarf size. It is gorgeous! I don’t much care for equal-sided triangle scarves, so I really like the proportion of this one (wider than it is deep). I just cast on for another one: Stephen West’s Herbivore. He has several shawl/scarf patterns that are interesting. Happy knitting!

  31. I knit gifts for those that I know will truly appreciate it. So far, I only have 1 gift on my list…Jared Flood’s Porom for my stepdaughter. I really can’t think of anything else unless my momma needs another pair of socks. Some years my list is long but this year seems to be much shorter. Ahhh, Christmas.

  32. Thanks for your ideas. I am making 5 Chevron scarves from various yarns. I am getting a little bored, so I have 2 going at once and 5 pr of Christmas socks, so I just switch out to break things up.

    Last year I made 6 of the Noro scarves and they were a big hit.

    Selfishness, I know, but I’m wanting to start some stoles and shawls and socks for ME. I started Christmas knitting in July, so I’m hoping to be done by November, so I can move on to other knitting when I’m listening to Christmas music.

  33. Sheri – I like that Noro striped scarf. Would you only need 2 hanks of Noro for that and is it doubled and sewn to have the knit side on both sides, and how many sts did you cast on for that? I really like that look.

  34. Hey Sheri, Thanks so much for the great gift ideas! You always have some great ideas for patterns and of course, the yarn suggestions are right on! I always enjoy these types of posts immensely! Thanks so much!

  35. Judith – I copied and saved the pattern for the Jojoland caps – they are so pretty. And would be a quick knit too – thanks!!

  36. For me I would need to knit at least 25 items in order not to snub anyone. So I have never done the holiday knitting thing. However, this year I am going to pose the Secret Santa idea to my extended family. If this works then I can knit something great like a shawl, blanket, or a set (hat, scarf, mitts).

  37. Busy weekend in the upper Midwest….not only Stitches Midwest, but also the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival. My debit card is still cooling down! Loopy definitely needs to have a booth at one or the other one of these years!

  38. my family makes requests, so often in fact that I rarely have time to knit for myself. My mom and my husband are the two biggest requesters with my “aunt” coming in third. My two year old makes frequest requests as well, but I don’t count hers beacuse they only take a few minutes at a time ( doll clothes, clothes for her beloved pink doggy) My christmas stuff is done, but I still have a few things to finish for a friend who is having a baby soon, she asked if I would make her a hat, and I am making wee socks to go with it.

  39. Oh, how I love those mittens, especially the pink ones. I need to find the colors she used and I will be all over those! I am doing some Christmas knitting, but I prefer to just give things as they are finished (no deadline stress that way…this is supposed to be my relaxation) but I do sometimes do things with a deadline. It was funny, I just finished a beautiful sweater for myself (and it fits perfectly…the first time that has ever happened). I wore it the other day and my husband said that he was glad to see that I had finally made something for myself. I hadn’t even realized tht most of what I made was going out the door….it was nice of him to notice.

  40. My family is not into ” hand made anything”. Mostly because they are too busy to look or stop around. I knit for myself, my dad ( who I care for and is 91) and good friends who help me out throughout the year.
    This year I am into socks, cowls, and fingerless mits. I do plan on making a pair of thrummed mits or 2 also.

  41. I’ve knit little Christmas ornaments (stockings, balls, stars, and miniature sweaters) for co-workers, which uses up some of the leftover sock yarn in my stash. I’ve also made fingerless mittens and leg warmers for them, since the office is usually air conditioned to death, and we wear sweaters in the summer! One of my sisters always gets a pair of socks for her birthday and Christmas. Other than her socks, I’m not sure what I’ll do this year, if anything. I’m running out of time to do a lot of knitted gifts.

  42. I’m a sockahohlic. Love trying different fibers. Knitting these small projects gives me more diversity in design – there are so many out there to try!

  43. I love to knit for Christmas, but mostly for those who I know appreciate the knitting – family and good friends – this year it seems to be small shawls and hats – next year socks!

  44. I am not not for time constraints, so I tend to not knit for holiday gifts. I will knit for new though. I like that because they are so quick and adorable.

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