This year will be a fairly quiet one on the gifting front, though a few small knitted gifts have snuck their way into the queue. Just a few... just for a couple of close relatives .... only small items... I am sure you have heard (or thought) it all before. I am planning to avoid holiday madness, but also helping others through the LYS to participate a bit in it, and will be teaching mitts, hats and a few other small giftie ideas on Saturday afternoon, if you care to drop by.
That takes care of helping out the knitters wanting to gift others on their list, but what about those knitters themselves? Well, being a good yarn shop employee, I usually ask what kind of knitting their gift recipient likes to do best; they sometimes can help me and we can arrive upon a lovely gift solution, but usually a gift certificate is the safest (and maybe most fun for said knitter) option. That solution does not make very good blog fodder, though, so I decided to offer you some book reviews that you can forward along as broad hints to those shopping for you. I have Amazon to thank for the links, though I would prefer you try to help out your local economy this year, either your own LYS or independent bookseller, or through the Fibers website.
This book is my top pick of the season... but then of course I love to knit lace. Sorry (my) kids, I already got a copy... you will have to read further or come up with another gift idea for me.
A few weeks ago, I was on the phone chatting with Margene (just like in the old days, before blogging, imagine that!) and she was getting ready to attend a talk by Nancy Bush, so I begged her to get me an autographed copy, and I think my knitting course is pretty well set for the coming year. I have enough stash to make at least three of the patterns I fell in love with, and by the time I manage to complete those, will be ready to tackle designing a stole myself, with the excellent resources in this masterpiece. Yes, I am glowing about this book.
Intertwined: The Art of Handspun Yarn, Modern Patterns and Creative Spinning, Lexi Boeger
Your giftee does not have to be a spinner to easily become enamoured of this book. This is the yarn coffeetable book we have all been looking for... Lexi elevates yarn to an artform, showing how to make a yarn that reflects creative impulses you see in the world around you. If your knitter doesn't spin yet, this book may talk her right into it, or simply encourage her to look for a wider array of yarns to make one of the many patterns in the knitting section. Besides being beautifully, lushly photographed, this book has got to be the best value on the market right now... each of the sections, simply spinning, patterns, and yarn gallery contain as much or more information as many of the complete books offered in the fiber arts field this year. Lexi will be speaking to my fiber guild later this year, so let me know if you want to be reminded... you can come as my guest and join a very talented guild.
Ethnic Knitting: Discovery: The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and the Andes, Donna Druchunas
Donna Druchunas became a favorite author when she issued Artic Lace (another good gift pick), but this book is every bit as good, and perhaps far more useful for the average knitter. Donna has taken classic knitted garments from several parts of the world with strong knitting traditions and distilled them down into garments anyone can make to fit themselves exactly right... in fact, the book is also a great introductory course into knitting-to-fit, the main reason why many knitters are afraid of the thought of making sweaters. She has another volume in the series, covering the traditions of Lithuania, Iceland and Ireland, set to come out on December 25th, if your giftee already has this one.
The River Cottage Cookbook, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
What, you say, a cookbook?! Get over the outrage... you all know that I am ALL about local foods! Hugh is apparently as big in Britain as Rachael Ray is here in the US.... own TV show, filmed at his cottage farm in the sticks, etc. I picked this up while waiting in the checkout line at my local library, and was more than impressed. Hugh is a chef that espouses the tenets of both the Slow Food movement, and also is enough of a do-it-yourselfer to have tried his hand at raising chickens, raising and slaughtering/butchering a pig, and growing many types of foods and herbs in his home garden. He also loves the chance to get out and fish and hunt and forage in the hedgerows (we don't have those here, but I manage a fair bit of foraging anyway), and also lives close enough to the coast to know of what he writes in the section on ocean fishing. A truly inspiring read, and helpful text to get your giftee more food self-sufficient. I don't believe in total food self-sufficiency, and neither does he, but we agree that the closer you can get to the source of your diet, the healthier and tastier the foods will be... and every knitter needs ongoing sustenance.
There's my list... now tell me what is on yours, so that I can be a better helper to those coming in to buy a knitter a present this holiday season... and don't forget to enter my Blogiversary giveaway this week.