Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Buying for Your Yarnie - a giving guide for spouses, children, parents, and friends

There once was a time for me when I found it difficult to understand that some people do not love to stroke fantastic fibers and dream of what can be made. Some folks actually do not create with fibers at all - some folks don't crochet.


As I have gotten older, I have come to terms with this matter and am on a crusade to make the world a better place by joining yarnies and non-yarnies together through education and understanding. Today's lesson comes to you compliments of the upcoming holiday season and the knowledge that the spouses, children, parents, and friends of yarnies may not know what to give their lil addict.

This is a guide to help you, the non-yarnie, put together a fantastic present for your yarnie. Of course, this guide is applicable for all holidays and gift-giving celebrations. And while it may be written with a light-hearted tone, the ideas are serious.... very serious indeed.

The first step is to know what kind of yarnie you have. The two primary types are knitter and crocheter.

If your yarnie is a knitter, usually both hands are occupied with big long pointing things that make eye gouging look like some sort of occupational hazard (or it means you are less likely to mouth off due to the endless possibilities on the damage these things could cause). These things are called needles and can be long and straight, connected with a plastic tube, or small sharp and pointy on both ends. If your yarnie is a crocheter, then they usually have yarn in one hand and a hook in the other.

One quick test you can do is that while your yarnie is working away, call him or her a "hooker" and see the response. If you are violently attacked, verbally or physically, chances are your yarnie is a knitter. If your yarnie smiles and plays along, chances are he or she is a crocheter. If you get a dirty look - it could go either way.

Granted, some yarnies are multi-craftual and you need not worry about the above test. Whatever you get will work for multi-craftual yarnies.

Buying for Your Yarnie - a giving guide for spouses, children, parents, and friends
... or: My Dearest, here are a list of things you could get me for Christmas

1.YarnThis one may seem like a gimme. Obviously the only way you can be a yarnie is to really enjoy working with yarn. But what kind of yarn do you give? That is the question! I have heard my family say several times that they'd love to get me some yarn but they have no idea what I would want to use.

The simple answer is "I will use any yarn you give me. If I cannot use it, then I will find some other yarnie to trade with."

The truthful answer is that you can use the few weeks before you need to give the gift to poke around and ask good prodding questions like
- "oh, what is this {insert item s/he is currently making} made out of? I really like how it feels",
- "Don't you think that the Red Heart Super Saver yarn is getting softer?", or
- "What store brand yarn do you like better? I am thinking Joann's brand is really getting comparable to the others like Michael's and Hobby Lobby"

Keep in mind those questions are going to seriously get your yarnie going. If s/he is anything like me, when my beloved takes an interest, it could end in an all out tour of the craft room with me tossing yarn at him from all angles.

If you aren't wanting to engage in too much conversation about yarn, you could just take the time to look at the items your yarnie has created and what kinds of yarns are used. You may see some identifying textures you can easily find in the yarn store. You may also get lucky and see the paper wrap on the yarn before your yarnie has broken it down into balls.

Your last option to finding out what kind of yarn your yarnie likes is to just go to the local yarn store your yarnie frequents. If it is a local yarn store, chances are your yarnie is well known there and the store keeper can point you in the direction of your yarnies' yarn fantasies.

Now, you also have to keep in mind you need to look at the dye lot. For a non-yarnie, you may be thinking I'm making this crap up, but really, I'm not. The dye lot is usually a numeric code stamped on the wrapper. What it does is identify if the yarn came from the same big tub of dye. If a company changes their recipe a bit, the dye lot will change. If you get two reds from different dye lots, they may not be exact which can be detrimental to a project your yarnie is working on. If you can't find two of the same color from the same dye lot - just don't get it. Unless it's expensive. Then your yarnie may be able to deal with it.

Oh - and always get two. Two of whatever it is. Two skeins, two balls, two hanks... two whatever. ... or more. But never just one.

2.Stitch Markers
A stitch marker is specific to your yarnie's type. If your yarnie is a knitter, they can have any kind of stitch marker as long as it is big enough to slide on to the needles being used. Make sure if you are buying for a knitting yarnie that the marker isn't very thick. If it is thicker, it can impact the size of the stitch and make it look wonky.

If your yarnie is a crocheter, then you will want to buy stitch markers that open and close. Some of the cheapest stitch markers that work great look like little plastic key rings without the frustration of getting them open. They come in a little plastic box (and by little I mean that you should get your yarnie two or three because they inevitably get lost). The trick with crochet stitch markers is that you need to be able to wind them on and off the yarn without pulling the stitch.

The only thing you have to watch with buying stitch markers is if your yarnie has a specific person online that supplies hand-made stitch markers. If this is the case, then perhaps this is a gift you would want to avoid or use idea #5 for the online dealer your yarnie uses.
3.ScissorsI assure you that your yarnie cannot have enough pairs of scissors. Cute little travel scissors are nice as are bigger pairs. Granted, buying your yarnie a box of scissors is not going to win you brownie points, but a nice pair goes a long way.
4.Project BagOne topic that can cause marital strain is project bags. Up until his recent education on the importance of a project bag, my non-yarnie Dearest said "don't you have enough project bags?"

Not a good thing to say to your yarnie.

A good project bag has handles, can stand on its own relatively well, has an internal pocket of some kind, and is big enough to hold at least a small project. The bag should be portable and stylish (which means pick a color or design your yarnie likes - not something the world says is stylish)

If you are having difficulty picking out a nice project bag, just look at what your yarnie already carries.

You also have the option of finding a Thirty-One Bag pusher seller and getting a personalized project bag (*coughs lightly* Oh, sorry dearest - didn't mean to speak so loudly... pointing at the above Crochet With Cris embroidered gift opportunity)
5.Gift CardsThis one almost falls into the same ruleset of "when in doubt, pinky out."

Not every non-yarnie is going to know what to get and a gift card is an easy fall back. The obvious choices are Michaels, Joann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby.

But don't stop there, non-yarnie! There are lots of wonderful places online like knitpicks, amazon, and yarn supply that you can gift from.

(c) Squidoo Contributor Comfortdoc
If they don't offer a physical gift card or certificate, take creative license and create your own! Your certificate can be to a certain store, a certain website, or even to buy other items (namely yarn) that you are too scared to buy on your own. Your yarnie will appreciate your attempt at being creative - it'll make it better! Trust me.

Now, using a gift certificate to buy yarn needs to come with a warning. If you get this/print this/make this/do this - consider that when your yarnie decides to cash it in, you may be with him or her at that time. This means that you may end up standing in the yarn aisle for a few hours while your yarnie tries to figure out the best possible means at spending the specified amount. (This is easily resolved by leaving the $ line blank to be filled in by your yarnie after purchase.... or by just putting a really high number there so your yarnie doesn't feel restricted to getting only a few awesome balls of yarn)
6.(Interchangeable) Hooks/NeedlesBuying interchangable sets may or may not work for you depending on a couple factors: 1) does your yarnie already own a set or 2) does your yarnie really have an interest in owning a set.

Both of these are very important to know before attempting to make such a high end purchase ($60+ USD depending on where you get them).

For example, as a multi-craftual yarnie I would love to have a set of interchangeable knitting needles from knit picks but I have zero desire to own a set of interchangeable crochet hooks. (Dearest please take note: I want the interchangeable knitting needles specifically from knit picks - no where else. Here, let me link to them to make it a lil easier for you, Dearest. Click this link HERE.)

Regardless if you are going to buy interchangeable hooks/needles versus any hook or needle, make sure it is something your yarnie wants. Just because your yarnie has more of one type over another does not mean it is the preferred style and/or brand.

Things you will have to know before you go, if you do not have a brand name, are what the hooks/needles look like, what kind each is, and if there is any special modification such as an ergonomic grip on a crochet hook. For me - I prefer Boye crochet hooks and knitting needles. I like circular knitting needles but I really need some with shorter cables like 16 and 12 inches.... in size 7, 8 or 10..... I use those sizes the most..... (did you write that down, Dearest? Of course, you can ignore this one if you get me the interchangeable knitting needles from knit picks.... just saying.).
7.Tool KitMy last suggestion for a yarnie gift is a tool kit. This is a gift that can be taken on by a more advanced non-yarnie. My beloved would be in this category considering the level of education he has received on such matters (and I seriously hope he is reading this....)

Find a small container that would fit inside a project bag and put together a little kit of items that your yarnie could use for the craft: small retractable measuring tape, tapestry needles, stitch markers, a row counter, scissors, a few hooks/needles, a small ruler, pom pom makers, a needle sizer, and any other lil bits and baubles to make your yarnies life a little easier.

Basically, go to the yarn isle and look for the lil yarnie gadgets you often see your yarnie looking for in the middle of a project. Grab as many as you can within your budget and put them into a bag. It doesn't matter if you know what its used for or not - your yarnie will know. The only thing you need to remember is do not cross the line between knitting and crochet UNLESS your yarnie does both. Don't worry about getting duplicates of anything simply because most yarnies keep a full kit inside every project bag AND lil things are so easy to lose.

Any of these gifts will work independently or dependently. What is most important that a gift with your yarnie's passion at heart is a gift your yarnie will enjoy.

As a side note: my dearest is actually really good at getting me awesome gifts that feed my yarnie spirit as well as the many other hobbies, arts, and passions that I hold - my notes to him are purely done in humor. He is a very patient man and I love him so.

I know he'll take this post as nothing more than a light-hearted way to list some awesome yarnie presents...

although I really do want those interchangeable knitting needles from knit picks.... that'd be an awesome gift - birthday maybe? *winks*


Traci said...

I love this! I started to giggle as soon as I read the title. I definitely have to email this to my husband.

Cris said...

*laughs* I read it to my husband last night before it posted. He just sat there shaking his head. When I got to linking to the hooks, he couldn't help but start laughing :P

Jenn Likes Yarn said...

I love that you only want interchangeable needles from knitpicks... I'm the SAME WAY.  I have both the nickel plated and harmonies and they're my favorite supplies ever (please show Dearest this comment, lol).  And they look so pretty on display, so you should probably get the acrylic display case, as well... just so you know what you have at all times :P

vikki hooks said...

love this post..I am going to have to do something similar..hope you don't mind.  I am told that I am hard to buy for..shoot I don't have a problem buying for me..lol..have a great day..

florencefrazier2002 said...

what a wonderful idea!  I opted for all natural bath products made by a friend of mine for Christmas.  If you are interested in all natural shampoo, body wash, facial products let me know, I'll send you the link to her website.

Cris said...

Oh those sound lovely! Do post a link here so everyone can see and perhaps she can get some more orders :) ... I LOVE bath and body products!

Cris said...

Don't mind at all :)

Cris said...

I tried interchangeables from Michaels and hated them. Too cheapy. Its definitely one of those items you get what you pay for.

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