Some of you are special and have a crafter in your family or circle of friends. For some reason, be it Christmas, Birthday or some other celebration, they may need a gift.
If you're also a crafter you may be able to make them something. But what if you're not? "I'm not crafty," you say "I can't make THEM anything." You can try, though, and I'm sure that they'll appreciate whatever your efforts bring forth.
However, if you'd like to stimulate the economy, I can give you some ideas as to what to buy.
First of all and Most Important: make sure you know your crafter. There's nothing worse than getting a pair of knitting needles for a scrapbooker. Awkward! Same thing goes for closely related crafts. Some crocheters also knit, some don't. Just make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.
Enough with the admonishments, on to the ideas!
"Meh, scissors...." you're saying, but let me tell you, good scissors are an essential. Non-crafters think that all scissors are the same but they're not. There are pinking shears, fabric scissors, thread clippers, etc. Every crafter needs a good pair of scissors they can have exclusively for their crafting. Good scissors make cutting fabric, scrapbook paper or yarn a breeze. They're also safer than having to try and hack things up with a dull pair of grade school rejects.
Rotary Cutter and Mat:
Yes, more cutting things. If you have a sewing crafter, this will make everything SO MUCH easier on them. A rotary cutter is kind of like a pizza cutter for fabric. No more trying to maneuver around odd corners or curves - just roll around them and you're good to go. I got a set last year as a gift and let me tell you, they're awesome. If you get a cutter, you will also need a mat to go with it unless you want your crafter to slice up their tables and everything under the fabric. (Those things are SHARP. I'm still waiting for a CSI episode where somebody gets their throat slashed with one of these.)
Thread Cutting pendant:
This is the LAST of the sharp things, I swear. This pendant holds a tiny blade and lets your crafter cut their yarn or thread without scissors. This is especially ideal for the traveling crafter because these things are benign enough to be considered "safe" on planes, where scissors (and nail clippers) are verboten. If I don't get one for Christmas, I'm buying one for myself.
A good craft light:
Crafting requires attention to detail, which is easier if you can actually see what you're doing. I have an OTT light, and while I usually end up using it for lighting my craft projects for their photos, it does come in handy when I'm using dark yarn and can't see stitches as well under normal lamps. If you've got an aging crafter who can't see as well as they used to, it's a godsend.
If your crafter is a yarnie, consider a set of bamboo crochet hooks or knitting needles. They're "green" and affordable, and nice to work with. There are also wooden versions which are just as good if not nicer, depending on the wood. I'm holding out for a rosewood "G" hook, myself, but I do like the bamboo hooks I have.
A place to stash the stuff:
More and more places are coming out with specialized craft organizer bags. There are ones especially designed for knitting stuff and scrapbooking stuff, but everyone likes having a stylish and organized way to take their craft with them. If you've got a crafter who can sew, you can get them patterns for bags, making your gift twofold - something to do and a nice thing to use when it's done. They can also customize it to their liking.
Crafty hands work hard. They wind yarn, get burned by hot glue, get cramped from hours of knitting, get stuck by pins and generally take a lot of abuse to make those nice things. Help them feel better after they're done by giving your crafter a nice lotion. We generally prefer fast absorbing, non-greasy stuff, and please take into account any scent preferences or allergies (no lavender for me, thanks).
You know you were thinking it'd be easier, right? Well, you're right. A certificate to the craft or fabric store, or the LYS (local yarn shop) are good ideas. You can even get them for online places like KnitPicks. You know they'll put it to good use and you don't have to worry about giving them well meaning but horrible yarn. If you want to play it safe, this is probably the way you should go.
Any of these items can be found on the internet (the sites provided are what I've used or what I've got), or at your local stores.
Happy gift hunting!