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I am afraid that it is officially that time of year. Now don’t get me wrong I LOVE Christmas. The music, the food, the Christmas-y smells. But even in my lifetime I have seen Christmas morph into this mass consumerist event where we buy each other stuff we don’t really want or need on a scale that is CATASTROPHIC for our planet and for our greater well-being. Christmas has become stressful, and that is not the way it is meant to be.
When I celebrate Christmas now as, you know, a grown up my priorities are completely different, especially when it comes to present buying. I want to buy my loved ones things I know they will use and enjoy. I want to focus on quality over quantity. And I want to support small, ethical and local business, not huge corporations.
Support Small & Local Businesses
That’s why I have put together this Etsy Holiday Gift Guide for the knitter in your life. Etsy is a great place to find beautiful, handmade items from amazingly talented artisans. You can search for items by location so that you can buy from makers in your local area and the variety on offer is HUGE. You can also read about the person who made your items and discover their story as an artist. That way you can be certain that the gifts you buy and give are made ethically and your money will help support that artist directly.
What’s more, when you have a very specific hobby like knitting, people often want to give you gifts to do with that hobby. Buying someone a hobby related gift can be really personal as it shows an understanding of their passion. And I for one, LOVE getting knitting supplies because I know it is something I will actually use. But if you are not a knitter (or crocheter, or sewists etc.) it can be really hard to know what to buy someone.
What’s a skein? What does DK stand for? What are DPNs and are they better than circular needles?
So hopefully this guide will help you chose a suitable gift for the knitter in your life.
All the items in this gift guide are made in the UK and several are made from materials sourced in the UK. For each item I will tell you a little about the maker and where they are based in the UK so that you know your gift will have a truly personal touch.
For the Sock Knitter:
If the person you are buying a present for likes to knit socks than I really recommend buying them some sock blockers! Blocking gives knitted garments their shape and helps to retain stretch which is very important for socks.
You can buy plastic sock blockers but there are lots of handmade wooden alternatives available on Etsy. I bought mine from a shop called Cotswold Craft Cottage* but they don’t have any adult sizes available at the moment.
But then I found these festive sock blockers from SmironFFDesigns* based in Bradford, Yorkshire.
There are several designs available including ones with sheep cutouts instead of snowflakes (adorable) as well as hearts, stars and rabbits. They come in a variety of sizes based on UK adult shoe sizes so make sure to pick the right size. They are also listed as single items so if you want a pair, make sure to add 2 to your baskets, but starting at £2.49 each these are a great affordable present for the sock knitter in your life.
Alternatively, you may want to consider some hand dyed sock yarn such as this Hand Dyed Yarn – Forest Floor OOAK – Standard Sock base* from DenverWhimsyUK.
Based in Manchester, Laura Denver is a fibre artist and yarn dyer who makes some beautiful colourways in yarns suitable for knitting socks. Both of these show here are ‘OOAK’ (one of a kind) so you are sure of a truly unique present. Her yarns are also currently 15% off at £11.90 a skein (that’s one of those twisted loops of yarn) and she also offers to wind the yarn before posting it to you!
British Breeds Wool:
My next suggestion is for these amazing naturally dyed yarns from The Outside Dyers based in Pangbourne, Berkshire. They use British breeds wool such as this Bluefaced Leicester DK weight wool – plant dyed – 50g skeins* and the selection of colours that they are able to achieve from plant dye is AMAZING!
These Naturally dyed British Herdwick DK worsted spun yarn in 50g skeins* have an amazing tweedy texture and the wool comes from Crookabeck farm in the Lake District. Both of these yarns are DK weight, which is the most common. But The Outside Dyers have all kinds of weights available including 2-ply which is difficult to find!
How about something a little different? If you don’t feel confident buying yarn as a gift a handmade yarn bowl is a great alternative. A yarn bowl helps to keep the ball of yarn nice and tidy and stops it rolling around on the floor. It can also help with knitting tension so you get nice even stitches.
I found these gorgeous Choose your colour – Stoneware pottery yarn bowls with little star hook* from Little Wren Pottery based in North Yorkshire. All the pottery is made by Victoria who inherited her craft from her Dad and only uses clay from Devon. The little star detail is so cute!
Or you may prefer the beautiful, smooth lines of these handmade Oak yarn bowls from Turned Studios*. The oak is sustainably sourced from forests in Northumberland and is hand turned by Jack in Newcastle Upon Tyne. There are other wood options as well but for me the oak is just perfect.
If you’re looking for more of a stocking filler, these novelty stitch markers could be the perfect thing! They help to mark your place so that you don’t have to constantly count your stitches or rows. Plus these biscuit and cake themed stitch markers are just so sweet*! They are made by Cheryl from Chapel View Crafts who makes all kind of miniature sweet treats in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.
Or if you are looking for something a little more glamorous this set of 10 Jade jewels stitch markers* are perfect for adding a bit of sparkle. They are from Crafty Cat Knitty Bits and made by Debs in Yates, South Gloucestershire. Her stitch markers have been featured in a whole host of crafty magazines.
To add that extra special touch to a gift, there are loads of Etsy Sellers that offer personalisation to their items. How about a personalised knitting notebook? These are made by Clare at Little Conkers in Horsham, West Sussex. AND they get extra points for being made from 100% recycled paper.
There is also the option to contact a seller for a custom order if you like an artist’s style but can’t quite find exactly what you are looking for. But hurry! A lot of artists have a cut off point for custom orders during the festive season.
For more inspiration for personalised gifts why not have a look at the Personalised Gifts Guide from Etsy?
Support Small Businesses This Christmas
The reason I wanted to write this gift guide is because I know what it is like to run a small creative business. Doing something you love can be infinitely rewarding, but job satisfaction doesn’t pay bills or feed children or keep a roof over your head. Christmas can be an incredibly profitable time for crafts people and a good Christmas sales period can keep a small business a float throughout the tougher months.
I hope this gift guide has encouraged you to support independent artists and creators this Christmas. When you buy your presents from a small, local business you are not only buying a gift for your friend or family member, you are giving your money and support to a creator who will truly appreciate it.
And even if you don’t buy anything, you can still support small businesses by sharing this post, or others like it. Like photos on Facebook and Instagram, write comments and leave reviews for the things you do buy. All those things make a huge difference in helping a small business to thrive.