Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Gifts for Crafters from the crafty clueless

It's time again for Gifts for Crafters!!!

Got a crafty person in your life? Need an idea for a gift because you really don't know anything about what they do? Look no further!

First things first - your major Do and Don't of giving a crafter a gift....

Consider this your #2 rule of giving to a crafter:
Even if your crafter is imaginative and craftily recycles other things like plastic bags or stuff, UNLESS THEY ASK FOR IT, it is NOT a good idea to give them a box full of junk with the caveat "oh, they're crafty, they can do SOMETHING with it!"
ONLY IF they ask for it.
Don't do that. I know you mean well, but chances are your average household crafter is not going to be pleased with a box of random flanges and whatnot that came out of repair kits or whatever. So like I said, the ONLY time that is acceptable is if they ask for something like that.
There is your DON'T.

Your Do?
The #1 rule of giving to a crafter: KNOW YOUR CRAFTER.

Do they knit? Crochet? Scrapbook? Sew? All of the above? Start with an idea of what they do and things get easier from there.
Also, if they've provided you with a list of things they want, go with that. :)

On to the Goods

Now let's talk about some GOOD things you can get them, no matter what craft....

1. Something crafted by YOU. Yes, we LIKE getting crafted things. Especially if you're someone we love.
If you don't want to do that, however, then keep reading.

For Knitters:

I see lots of good things being said about interchangable needle sets.
Two options: Knitpicks or Denise
These sets allow you (at the least) to change needle sizes without having to unloop your circular needle from your project. Why is that important? Pulling out needles lead to dropped stitches and having to redo work and leads to much cursing on the part of the knitter. I haven't tried these myself, as I'm still getting the hang of straight needles, but everyone I've heard mention them says something good.

Any complete set of needles (circular or straight) is definitely a good idea. Even if they started out with one already, things happen, needles wander away.

For Crocheters:
There are a BUNCH of crochet pattern books out now that have awesome designs. Gone is the day of the ugly granny afghan in orange and avocado green.

Doris Chan's Amazing Crochet Lace

Lily Chin's Couture Crochet Workshop

And of course, The Crochet Liberation Front's First Ever Book!

Also, a complete set of hooks from D to P are a nice touch. Bamboo is a good hook material, when you can find it

For both Knitters and Crocheters:

Yarn. Ask subtle questions or PAY ATTENTION to hints from your crafter as to color and weight (yes, there's more than one). Perhaps they would like a nice bamboo sock yarn, or maybe an alpaca blend worsted. Maybe they've said the words "Noro" or "Malabrigo" and you think they're speaking a foreign language. Write it down, and get to a local yarn store where the nice salespeople will help you find what they're talking about. Don't freak out at the prices. Sometimes pretty yarn is expensive, but isn't your crafter worth it?

If you decide that's just too much effort, go with a gift certificate. Not only can your yarny crafter pick out something they'll like, they can have all the fun of petting soft yarn while they're choosing. Yes, it really is fun.

I will be honest, I do not scrapbook. I have no clue what a lot of it entails, but I will say that if you go to the craft store and buy a big stack of paper with cool patterns, and some decorative punches, it'll probably be a very good stocking stuffer. I advise asking your scrapbooker if there's anything specific on their list.

Sewing Crafters:

When your crafter sits down at their sewing machine, is there a lot of cursing involved? Maybe a bunch of "ohmygod you piece of crap machine! I hate you! just WORK!!!!" Then maybe (just maybe) they might need a new machine. Ask if you're not sure. Some people just curse at their machines to keep them obedient. But if you hear loud snapping noises with crying afterwards, it might be worth it to get your crafter a better tool.

OR, you could kidnap their machine and take it to a repair shop for an overhaul. Sewing machines have little motors in them, just like a car. And just like a car, eventually it will need a tune up. Sewing machines that get used get dirty and clogged. Sewing machines that just sit get dusty. Things get stuck in gears and belts that they're not supposed to. There are parts that need oiling. Take the machine in for a few days for some adjustments and general maintenance and when it comes back running smooth like a brand new car, your crafter will probably kiss you. Just make sure that they're not under any sort of deadline to get something done BEFORE you take the machine. That might get you kicked out of the house.

If your sewing crafter is a quilter, you might want to consider this yardage calculator. This may even work decently for non-quilters, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm generally pretty good at converting measurements into yardage (hooray geometry), but a lot of people aren't. Some people just hate math period. Make it easy for them and help them eliminate measurement mistakes.

For ALL crafters:

I still stand by my recommendation from last year for Good scissors and cutting tools.
Blades are a very underrated tool. Good scissors make cutting anything easy. Rotary Cutters are dangerous but Oh so helpful.

Gift certificates: To some people they're a cop out, but to others, they're actually helpful. If you honestly have NO idea what your crafter wants, then go with it. Don't risk the mistake of getting them something they can't use. With a Gift card, they can get something for a project they're doing now, they can get stuff for a future project. They can buy a tool they had been considering but didn't quite want to spend the money.

Pamper your crafter!

Crafting can be hard on your hands and body.

My friend Liz makes an awesome sugar scrub. She's got multiple scents to choose from, and it leaves you feeling super soft and moisturized.

What's also a nice gift is a massage. Spending hours hunched over a sewing machine is hard on the back. Help your crafter work all the kinks out when they're done. The good thing about this one is you can do it yourself - no purchase necessary.

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.

If you're still looking for MORE ideas, check out my list from last year.

Happy gift hunting!

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