Spin a yarn
If you’re buying for a knitter or crocheter, head to Yarns by HomePlace Farm in Jacksonville and pick up a Daddy Caddy. This cleverly designed device holds a skein of yarn on a spool, but is also on a swivel, so the yarn doesn’t get tangled on it’s way up to the needle or hook. The caddies are handbuilt by co-owner Linda Boozer’s father, and cost $30.
While you’re there, check out the upcoming heirloom knitting classes. Beginning in January, the shop is offering four year-long classes: beginner and advanced block of the month, a cable-knit dress and a man’s sweater. The classes meet once a month all year long, so by next Christmas, attendees will have completed either a throw, a dress or a sweater that they can then keep themselves or give as a gift. Classes start at $100 plus supplies, and the store offers a 10 percent discount on yarns needed for the project.
While Yarns by HPF carries plenty of yarn, spread the Christmas cheer to the county’s other source of alpaca yarn — Blackberry Hill Alpacas in Saks. The farm store is open Wednesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and features all things alpaca, from stuffed animals to clothes and a whole rack dedicated to some of the softest, warmest socks you’ll ever feel. And of course, alpaca yarn, shorn from the very animals that trot up to check out new visitors as they pull in to park.
I have a childhood memory, one I know many others share, of my mother, steel sewing shears in hand, forbidding me from ever touching them. Not so much because they were razor-sharp (which they were), but for fear I might use them to cut something other than fabric — a fate worse than death for sewing shears. Two decades later I’ve repeated this warning to my family, and my husband now knows to ask which pair of scissors to use before cutting out posters for his band.
And once you cut with a $50 pair of shears, you’ll understand why some sewists put a lock around the handles to keep them safe. Gingher makes the best shears — I own a pair of 8-inch Ginghers and another steel brand, and Ginghers are far superior. Ginghers can be ordered locally from Downing’s in downtown Anniston. Or just make it that much easier and buy your sewist some store credit at Downing’s. They can get that pair of Ginghers and some fabric, trim or notions if there’s any left over (store credit would also be a great gift for the gardener in your life).
For the general DIYer, you can’t go wrong with a magazine subscription. I love Martha Stewart Living and ReadyMade for general crafting and home decor ideas, Sew News for sewing (my mom has bought my subscription as a Christmas present for the last several years) and I’m thinking about a subscription to This Old House, too.
If none of these ideas sound right, go for jewelry. Steer away from the sparkly gemstones in the store and head to Etsy.com, where you can find jewelry made specifically for the craft in question, (i.e. sewing machine pendant, knitting pendant, power drill pendant and even … hot glue gun pendant). Craft-inspired jewelry is a great conversation starter, and if there’s anything a crafter likes better than making, it’s talking about what they make.
If all else fails, just buy a gift card to the place they spend the most money — Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, Fabric.com … any of those would be a great fit in my stocking.
Contact Deirdre Long at firstname.lastname@example.org.