This time of year, I appreciate the chance to reflect on what’s most important to me and how to cherish the wonderful people in my life. It comes down to a few simple things: well-chosen gifts, spending time together, and sharing with those in need. No matter what your tradition, I hope you’ll find some of the season’s joy with us at Uncommon Threads.
This winter we have wonderfully thoughtful gifts to please every knitter and crocheter: notions that are not only useful but also well-designed and a pleasure to use. The ingenious Wool Tree is handcrafted locally and solves the eternal problem of runaway yarn balls. Most balls and especially cones fit perfectly on the maple or walnut post, while your working strand threads smoothly through the tension bar. The Wool Tree Mill Lucet is a timeless and charming I-cord maker–once you start, you can’t put it down!
If you’ve ever tried to fish a crumpled pattern from the bottom of your project bag and then find your place on the pattern chart, you’ll definitely appreciate the miPattern Wallet and miPattern Magnets from Slipped Stitch Studios. The Wallet protects your pattern behind flexible clear plastic and allows you to prop it up for easier reading, while the Magnet firmly keeps your place in the pattern instructions; you can use them together or separately. For a guaranteed giggle, pick up an Itty Bitty Witty Knitty card; they don’t photograph well, but each one is a gem of fiber-themed humor.
The Gleener is a must-have tool for anyone with sweaters. A few quick passes with the Gleener safely removes pills from natural and synthetic fibers–no more disappointment when your softest knits pill after only a few wearings! The artisans at Addi have magically combined practicality and luxury with their new interchangeable needle starter set and the Addi-ART Diamond limited edition needle. The slimmed down starter set includes 2 cords and 3 tips in different materials and frequently used sizes–additional tips and cords can be ordered individually. Addi-ART Diamond is a collector’s treat: real Swarovski crystals glitter inside the core of this size 15, 32 inch Turbo needle. Give your projects some pop with the modern Yarn Pop collection of project bags, all made in California and designed with tech-savvy knitters and crocheters in mind.
Patterns to Ponder
Lately, my favorite gift ideas are coming from you! A surprising number of people are knitting washcloths; this humble project becomes sublime when wrapped around a scented soap or presented as a collection in a crocheted basket. Churchmouse offers a lovely picot-edge washcloth in Rowan Creative Linen, but any flat stitch will work, and other great yarn choices include Rowan Handknit Cotton, Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton, and Tahki Cotton Classic.
I’m completely taken with an older Knitty.com pattern called Calorimetry: a wide, tapered headband with an adjustable button closure. I’ve knit our shop sample out of one ball of Crystal Palace Mochi Plus, and you could make two out of one ball of Origin’ Cachemire. Malabrigo Book 4 is now in stock and has a fabulous range of want-to-knit-it-now projects, from socks to hats and sweaters to scarves.
Yarns You’ll Love
Our newest yarns bring understated elegance to any project, beautiful when simply knit, yet subtle enough for lace or textured stitch patterns. Rowan Kidsilk Glamour has just a hint of sparkle with tastefully sprinkled sequins on the Kidsilk Haze base. The Fibre Company’s Acadia has a softly nubby texture refined by the merino, alpaca and silk fiber blend. Be Sweet Bamboo has gorgeous drape, sheen and tonal color–a stunning option for people with wool sensitivities.
If you’d rather walk on the wild side, you’ll love Prism’s Stuff (Wild, Layered & Cool) and Plume, arrived just this week. Prism’s Laura Bryant is the founding foremother of novelty yarns, and she takes no prisoners with her provocative mix of colors and textures. This simple cowl/shoulder cozy is a showstopper–all you do is knit, and the yarn does the rest!
Live and Learn
Time spent together is often the most precious gift to give–consider signing up for a class with a friend! Our new schedule of winter classes is posted on our newly-designed website and offers fun choices for all skill levels in knitting, crochet and weaving. I’m especially excited about our skirt knit-a-long (will they be flattering? join us and find out!) and the new Knit Club for kids, starting January 12.
Give Warmth, Near and Far
More than any other time of year, in December our thoughts turn to those less fortunate than we are. Thanks to your generous shopping during the Holiday Stroll in November, I made a $300 donation to the Red Cross for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts. Knitting Fever (the distributor for Noro and Debbie Bliss, among other brands) is collecting knit and crocheted items such as hats, scarves, sweaters, mittens, and blankets through retail shops to distribute to Sandy victims. You can drop off any donations at Uncommon Threads through the end of January and we will forward them on. We are also a year-round designated collection point for Knits for Palo Alto Veterans Hospital, a group that brings handknitted items to veterans at the Palo Alto VA. I’m proud to be a part of these efforts and I know our contributions, no matter how large or small, will make a difference.