The holidays are upon us! Somehow, 2020 has managed to fly by despite also being the longest year ever. As I shop for gifts, I am making a special effort to give meaningful things this year. Something about spending so much time at home with all my “stuff” has me reassessing what I need to keep around. I’m also making a particular effort to shop small and shop local, as I’m sure many of us are. If you’d like to add some crafty & local gifts to your stash of presents, here are a few suggestions for gifts to make and gifts to buy.
Gifts to Make
Two words: Tea. Towels. There’s a reason why the North Side Girls’ tea towels are so popular. They are universally useful, colourful, and practical. Having a handwoven tea towel makes boring chores feel just a little bit fancy. Plus, they are more absorbent and more durable than many store-bought options. Check out our Classic Red Striped and Sorbet Stripes tea towel patterns for quick, satisfying holiday gifts.
Speaking of useful, winter scarves are always warmly received in Edmonton (pun intended). For a cozy and giftable winter scarf, check out our scarf patterns using alpaca yarn. Alpaca is an absolute dream: even more warmth than wool with barely any prickle and a buttery softness. Alpaca scarves feel luxurious and stand up to real weather. Absolutely perfect for a grim prairie winter.
Here’s an unexpected option that could be deeply meaningful: rather than making something new, what about mending or repurposing something old? Our recent patchwork throw workshop has us thinking about all sorts of materials that could be added to a quilt: old ties, childhood blankies, heirloom blankets that won’t make it to the next generation in their current state. Or if you know someone has a beloved blanket, jacket, or sweater that is past the point of being usable, why not see if you can repair it? We’ve got the snips, darning eggs and sewing notions to get beloved textiles back in circulation.
Gifts to Buy
I love making gifts, but sometimes my shoulders just don’t have it in them to throw one more shuttle.
Crafters tend to run in packs, so you’re likely on the lookout for gifts for at least one fellow creative person. Simple, high quality tools with long lifespans are always warmly received. Their non-crafty friends may not know the magic of cutting cloth with a brand new pair of super-sharp industrial-grade LDH scissors, but you do. A smooth, quiet bobbin winder makes weaving so much more pleasant, and something as simple as a shiny brass sley hook can brighten a craft room. For fellow weavers, a handy Schacht Hemstitching Guide can save a lot of frustration, and comes with a perfect-sized tapestry needle!
But not everyone is up for crafts that require investing in tools and looms. If you have a sewist on your list, our Handwoven Pouch Kit is a quick and satisfying project. Each kit contains everything you need to make a zippered pouch Procion Dyes open up a wide number of possible projects from tiny tubs of pigment, and a Scarf Blank is the perfect blank canvas for a first dye project. Dyes are also a great way to get creative while extending the life of your clothes. Over-dyeing old pieces and upcycling fabric is trendy, fun, and sustainable. In the middle of all the holiday consumption, working with what you already have feels like a radical act.
Last but far from least, you can give the gift of a shared experience. Research shows that spending money on experiences gives more happiness than spending on material goods (although I don’t think these researchers have ever been yarn shopping). Why not work through our online class together, or give an “IOU a weekend at Gather Gift Card”, this gift will give you something to look forward to together.
However you spend your holidays, we hope you stay warm, stay connected, and stay creative!