We crocheters know exactly what gifts we’re giving to everyone on The List; we raid the yarn stash, find an interesting or appropriate or not-been-previously-gifted pattern, and just crochet our gifts. I pity the civilians (non-crocheters and non-fiberazzi) who don’t have a clue as to what to give us. In case you are wondering what to get for the yarn enthusiast (or anyone who works with their hands) in your life, and you’re open to a few suggestions, here’s a gathering of stocking-stuffer type products I’ve had the pleasure to own and use this past year.
1) The Perfect Notion Case.
This little wonder box was a bonus from the adorable Shroyers, Nancy and Bob, after purchasing the Yarn Pet from Nancy’s Knit Knacks following TNNA in June 2013. Bob told me it was originally manufactured to be a pill box, but that it turns out to be really useful for holding and keeping track of yarn doo-dads. The six clear lidded compartments provide different sized storage for stashing pins of all sorts, from T-pins to safety pins, stitch markers, tapestry needles, beads and the odd band-aid and breath mints emergency stuff. The outer case has a tab that locks down the two halves like a clam shell so there are never any escapees or spillage. I put mine to the test earlier this month while coordinating the CGOA 2013 Design Competition at the conference in Charlotte. Throughout the arduous task of creating a 60-foot long display of 100 crochet entries my notions box proved perfect, and got more than a few comments. Where did I get it? It’s probably available in yarn shops and on line at fiber sites, but I got mine from the source. Around $5. Here.
I don’t travel very often, but when I do and I need to carry crochet tools, this is the cutting tool I prefer; incredibly sharp and precise for cutting yarn ends. In fact, be vewwy vewwy careful with the tips of those blades, and always snap the protective cap back on after use. At half an ounce, they won’t weigh down your crochet hook case. I’ve found them for considerably less than the full retail price, around $20, so it pays to shop around and use sales/coupons at craft stores like JoAnn.com. I know that’s still a bit pricey for just tiny scissors, but I know they are worth having.
These remaining three products aren’t as much about crochet as about hand care. I know they might not be gift-worthy, but I have no doubt that all would be welcome and at least are worth seeking out and having around.
Band-Aids? Really? Yes, really. These are the best fracking bandages on the planet for those tiny nicks (think paper cuts!), needle and scissor stabs, torn hangnails and other annoying hand and finger injuries that might bleed on your yarn or keep you from crocheting on. They are nearly invisible on the skin, stay on for potentially days, and they do flex comfortably on fingers. Although this style is becoming increasingly difficult to find (I get them here), they remain the bandage of choice for DesigningVashti. At around $5 for a box of 10, they are not cheap, but what price absolute protection?
4) Revlon Shape-n-Buff
Ain’t nothing as horrifying as crocheting (or simply petting) your precious luxury yarn and having it snag on your rough or splitting nails, cuticles or fingertips. Now, I have never had a professional manicure in my entire life, but if even that’s your thing your hands will still need occasional maintenance to keep them smooth. I like this tool, a half-inch thick foam block with two long filing sides and four graded buffing areas. It’s easy to hold and use, lasts a long while. No snags, no worries. Around $3.50, find it pretty much everywhere.
Trust me, I’ve squeezed out, applied, slathered on a million thousand hand creams, from the highly rated and prized brands (like the perennial beauty favorite L’Occitane) to ordinary dollar-store no-brands. I got annoyed with paying over $10 for an ounce (maybe a couple of weeks worth) of hand cream. Really. Even if the ingredients list for less expensive products isn’t as clean, natural or special, they can still do the job and be mostly harmless. For stay-at-home hand care, I like the pump action of this EOS Complete Care Hand and Body Lotion in the Boost variety; works one-handed, with no caps, pouring or squeezing to mess with. It dispenses as thickly as what others call a cream, and is not runny. It does three things for me: keeps hands soft, smooth, moisturized; absorbs quickly and completely so you can touch your yarn and projects right away; has only a touch of sweet-ish, vanilla-y fragrance that is non-offensive and never transfers. It does contain some good stuff, skin-nourishing stuff; it also contains two ingredients that I normally try to avoid (mineral oil and petrolatum); it does not contain two things that are for me unacceptable, parabens and lanolin. Overall, this lotion is a great compromise and wonderful for frequent use, and not just for hands naturally, at around $8 for a 12 ounce bottle.
Merry Crocheting, Happy Hands!