>One never knows what to think when the retail community moves Black Friday, the traditional kick-off for holiday shopping, to Black-Week-Before-Halloween, with slashed prices, deals and free shipping in abundance. I am eternally puzzled about hard-core shopping. Do people really stockpile gift items that early? Is it safe to keep presents around too long? If I were to purchase something really wonderful for a crocheter friend in say, August, with the intention of stashing it until Christmas, what are the chances in the intervening months that 1) I will grow so antsy to give the present that I send it in September thereby necessitating finding another gift for actual Christmas; 2) the intended recipient will switch gears and the item would no longer be so perfectly suited; or 3) that highly-sought-after item wouldn’t become a merry gift to myself? The latter happens more times than I wish to contemplate. Knowing myself, I now buy two; one to give, one to keep.
So I am more likely to be found scrambling at the last minute for those awesome, meaningful items that are sure to please the crochet people on my list. But because the dealing starts, like, NOW, I am seeing the wisdom of shopping early. What I call early. Mid-November rather than mid-December.
What sorts of stuff do crocheters want for Christmas? Hey, it’s the same stuff they want all year round, all the time. No surprise there. If you are reading here and don’t have a clue what that stuff is, peruse the following short list for a few ideas. Even if you don’t know what particular techniques or tastes your crocheter favors, you’re pretty safe with something proven universally useful and/or so brand new to the crochet scene that she hasn’t yet purchased it for herself.
- I said this in a post two years ago and it still holds true. For us it is all about yarn. Crocheters appreciate yarn, any yarn. So you don’t know her favorite brand or weight or fiber or color. Doesn’t matter. Even if it isn’t her usual, it will still go into the stash in the sentimental treasure or souvenir category. You can wimp out and arrange for a yarn shop or yarn site gift certificate. But if you take the plunge and actually buy special yarn for a crocheter, you might want to pick not her favorite color, but YOURS, and get plenty enough skeins. Who knows, that yarn might not linger in the stash very long… it might come back to you as a lovingly crocheted birthday or Christmas gift next year. That’s Karma Yarn.
- We can never have enough tools. There is nothing so aggravating as dropping your only whatever size hook and watching it slip through the upholstery of a sofa in mid stitch. It is imperative to have spares easily accessible for any eventuality. Whether you supply her with duplicates of her cherished hooks, or take a chance on some of the new products this season, you won’t go wrong. I am totally addicted to the new Etimo cushion grip hooks, manufactured by Tulip Company and distributed here by Caron. Tunisian technique is now all the rage. Inexpensive and becoming widely available this past year in shops and online are the Chiaogoo bamboo Tunisian hooks in sizes that were impossible to find before. Also useful for Tunisian is the set of Denise interchangeable crochet hooks, which are compatible with the Denise knitting needles. It won’t take much shopping to find products that would enhance anyone’s tool set.
- It may seem obsessive, but I enjoy having duplicates of certain hard copy books, particularly my favorite stitch dictionaries and technique guides. I like to sticky certain pages, scribble notes in the margins. Horrible habit, I know, and deemed sacrilege by book lovers. But there you have it. These volumes were meant to be used, thoroughly, completely and often. If you notice any particular stitch book in her library that’s really beat up, dog eared, with split binding, pages falling out and no cover, then take the hint that she would probably like a spare to stash away.
- If you’re a bit on the tech-y side, for those who prefer being fed information in electronic form, I don’t exactly know how you’d be able to gift an e-book or pattern download and keep it a surprise. You could e-mail them, but how do you label an attachment “Do not open until Christmas”? I carry crochet files stored on a flash drive, and it seems that might be a handy way to gift crochet e-books and patterns that you can purchase, download to the drive and gift wrap. The drive itself is an extremely practical gift for not just tech geeks but for anyone with a USB port interface. And to have it preloaded with crochet goodies would be the cherry on top. And it doesn’t have to be a monster huge expensive drive. Even a small capacity (2 GB) stick will hold tons, I mean crap tons of purchased pattern files.
- Where do we store our stuff? Can there ever be enough storage? For stashing yarns in protected places, because these are not air, water or bug proof, or toting mass supplies around, I can’t live without Ziploc storage totes. They are rectangular, clear blue vinyl, sturdy, handled, zippered, moderately stackable when filled, collapsible when not in use (which is never) and inexpensive. I use both XL and XXL sizes and they have saved my life on many occasions.
- Crocheting takes a toll on hands. In my house, hand cream is never more than an arm’s reach away. Hand cream falls in the realm of beauty gift, but should be considered a tool of the trade, to be slathered with zeal and abandon. Many formulas are not happy for crochet if they do not absorb immediately or completely into the skin, leaving a film or a heavy scent that could sully your project. Two excellent brands, both a bit pricey but worth every penny, are Perlier (available in company boutiques throughout Italy and Europe, but here primarily online and at HSN home shopping) and L’Occitane (available in company boutiques, some beauty chains and online).
- My vacuum cleaner eats anything smaller than a bread box. Although it never snacks on larger gauge crochet hooks, it does find tasty anything else loose on the floor, such as stitch markers and safety pins, yarn needles, steel crochet hooks, bone rings, buttons and beads. Heck, who wants to paw through vacuum cleaner dirt to find those tiny missing notions? My rule is to have plenty extra. The thing I can never ever have enough of is those little plastic saftey pin stitch markers, such as the ones from Clover and the new carabiner style markers from Wrights, available pretty much everywhere. A sweet stocking stuffer.
- Speaking of sweet, although not techincally a crochet gift, chocolate would nonetheless make the crochet holiday experience complete. Unless your crocheter cannot or does not eat chocolate (in which case you should really be extra considerate and nice to her because she is totally disadvantaged), a little choco-goodness is always welcome. I have just begun to appreciate chocolate with peanut butter, which I never really enjoyed together, but now I think the combination is acceptable. The absolute most heavenly best such bar, the one that takes you from zero to nirvana in the first bite, is this. Worth every single fracking penny.
- I think I have to go find myself some chocolate right now. Perhaps more ideas will find their way to this list later. Perhaps not. In any case, happy crochet shopping!