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Friday, October 14, 2005

Gift Giving Friday VI

Its Friday again, and that means it's time for me to give you gift ideas! Today's idea is a teaching gift. To paraphrase: give a man a sweater and he stays warm for a little while, teach a man to knit and he stays warm for his entire life, and if you're lucky goes to the yarn store with you. I think we all know someone who has been interested in our knitting, but doesn't think they can do it. Or people who have seen you spin and they're fascinated, but they have no idea where to go to start. These are the people that this gift is for. I'll start with the kids (their young, impressionable minds are perfect for learning), and then go to ideas for adults.

Most kids today think clothes grow on hangers. We know differently. Clothes grow on sheep, and bunnies, and llamas, and alpacas, and sometimes, if you're lucky, on tiny goats from Central Asia. The brainwashing, I mean education, should start as early as possible. I recommend the Sheep in a ... series of books (Sheep in a Jeep, Sheep in a Shop, etc.) by Nancy Shaw for babies and toddlers. The stories are adorable and there are pictures of knitting and other wooly activities in the books so that even the youngest child can learn that sheep are our friends and knitting is good. For preschoolers, I just got Caleb a new book: Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep by Teri Sloat. This is a wonderful story about wool, starting from the sheep being sheared and then following the wool through washing, carding, spinning, dying, and finally, being knitted. Pair this book with some short, wooden knitting needles and some wool yarn in the child's favorite color and you'll have a tiny knitter in no time.

For adults, there are a couple of different things you can do. You can do a knitting gift. Get some wooden knitting needles (I'm recommending wood needles for beginners because they feel good in your hands and they aren't as slippery as metal), some nice wool yarn, and a basic knitting book (I like the Vogue Knitting Quick Referance for a really thorough basic knitting book that's small enough to toss into a knitting bag.) Add some knitting notions (stitch markers, a tape measure, yarn needle and tiny scissors) and put the whole thing in a cute tote and you have knitting lessons-to-go! You can easily personalize the tote style to the recipient's taste and if you haven't checked out all the really cute tape measures avavilable, you should!

The other thing you can do for adults (and even older kids) is a spinning gift. For some reason, men are fascinated by spinning (I think its the fact that you use tools). For a spinning gift, get a nice, basic spindle - 1.5 to 2 ounces in weight and some roving (most people recommend Coopworth or Romney to start with). Interweave Press has some free spinning directions you can download from the Spin Off website. You could pick up a small niddy noddy for the gift as well, but most of us just start with a spindle and roving. Package these in a nice basket, or a leather box for a man (these are easy to pick up at home dec stores). Another option, to get a man's attention on spinning would be to give him all of the parts to make his own spindle. The Spin Off website also has free directions for making a spindle out of a CD. Give your guy the directions (I know, he doesn't need any stinking directions, blah, blah, blah), the parts, the wool and tell him to have at it! When you think about it, its not really all that hard to come up with ways to introduce others to our fibery ways. Not everyone will be receptive, but most kids will be interested and I'm sure you know at least one adult that can be brought over to the dark side, oops, I mean introduced to fiber arts.


Blogger Jessica said...

My 5 year old seems to think I'm a very bad person after reading Farmer Brown. I keep spinning and knitting and have not produced one sweater for a sheep. He's terribly disappointed in me.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

Wonderful book! I had to get it at the library after seeing it on your blog and my kids love it!

6:16 PM  

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