I took up crocheting to calm my stress during the financial meltdown of 2008. These days, I may still feel unsettled about the economy, but I am very happy with my handmade hats, cowls, and ponchos. I love to look at yarn, buy yarn, make things with yarn, and receive and give yarn as gifts. (Better yet, yarn gift certificates are always the right size and color.) If you have restless fingers of the crafty sort, or fibers-obsessed friends to gift this season, this guide is for you.
The clean colors and broad palette available at Knit Picks (tagline: "Passionately committed to affordable luxury knitting") will appeal to the modernist designer in your circle. And, for those who love natural fibers but have sensitive skin, the site offers lovely cotton blends in a range of nuanced colors.
For an exhaustive selection of weights, textures, and fibers, check out Halcyon Yarn. Founder-owner Halcyon Blake is named for the Greek goddess of wind, and her Maine-based shop and site offers supplies for dyeing, weaving, tatting, rug-making, and more.
Many of the delicious yarns at Mango Moon are made with reclaimed or recycled content, like these multicolored silk hanks. And the social justice–minded shop prioritizes fair trade and cultivates relationships with organizations like the Nepali Women's Empowerment Group and a spinners' co-op in Indonesia.
My own yarn creations are still pretty simple, so I cruise Etsy for inspiration, as well as for sophisticated gifts like these fingerless mitterns from Perfectknit and this adorable knit crown from Lace and Cable.
Or, omigoodness: the world's tiniest animals, painstakingly crocheted by Su Ami!
And don't you totally want these hats from Zave's Felt?
Perhaps best of all, this holiday season I can give my friends Bitch's own Knittin' Chicken t-shirt. Pretty cluckin' cool. Got your own suggestions for more knitty and yarn-focused gifts? Share them in the comments!