Stocking Stuffers for Knitters and Crocheters

Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters
Stocking Stuffers for Knitters & Crocheters

Stuff a stocking with tools and notions for a fiber artist in your life. They’ll love you for it, and you may even get a handmade gift in return! Here are some suggestions for stocking stuffers for knitters and crocheters.

Scroll over the image for more information, or click the links to learn more.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but won’t cost you anything extra.

Stitch Markers

Every crocheter and knitter uses stitch markers, and if they don’t, they should! And markers have a way of getting lost, so we always need more.

There are several different styles of marker. Even if the gift recipient has a current favorite, it’s always a good idea to try new products. Try them all!

Hint: Crocheters need markers that open. Look for the words “locking”, “split ring”, or “opening” in the title to make sure you are getting the right kind.

Scissors

A good pair of scissors is always appreciated. I’m always on the lookout for tiny scissors that pack easily but are sharp enough to cut well.

Wondering about scissors in your airplane carry-on? According to the TSA, scissors with blades less than 4″ are allowed. However, razor blade style circular thread cutters are not allowed.



Small Tools & Notions

Besides stitch markers and scissors, there are all kinds of little tools that make a fiber artist’s life easier. Here are some suggestions.

Hint: Check before buying tape measures. They either have WAY too many already, or not quite enough.


Note Cards & Paper

We can’t play with yarn ALL the time! Sometimes we have to write old-fashioned notes, on paper.

A Google search will lead you to lots of knitting and crochet-themed paper products. Here are some of my favorites.

Things to Drink From

It’s important for crafters to stay hydrated. Whether that’s water, soda, or wine, there are plenty of options for yarn-related beverage containers.

Once you open your eyes to the possibilities, there are lots of stocking stuffers for knitters and crocheters.

Want ideas for larger gifts? Read 12 Gifts for Knitters and Crocheters, and Sheep-Themed Gift Roundup.

If you find something I’ve missed, please share your ideas in the comments below.

How to Wind a Yarn Butterfly

How to Wind a Yarn Butterfly

Sometimes you need just a small amount of yarn for a project, and it would be uncomfortable to use a full ball of yarn. That’s when you need a yarn butterfly! Here’s how to wind a yarn butterfly. It’s quick and easy.

A yarn butterfly is simply a “re-packaging” of yarn into a small butterfly-shaped bundle. If prepared right, the bundle stays wrapped and secured, making it possible to use the working end of the yarn for your project while the rest of the yarn waits patiently.

Yarn butterflies are usually used for the intarsia method (knitting or crocheting), but they can be used any time.

It can be easier to use a butterfly than a yarn bobbin. In my experience, plastic yarn bobbins get tangled more than butterflies. Plus, I can never find enough bobbins when I’m ready to start a complex intarsia project.

OK, I didn’t say that very well in words. It’s really quite easy to do, so let’s try some pictures. Follow these step-by-step instructions or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to wind a yarn butterfly Step 1: Hold yarn tail under thumb.
  1. Hold the yarn tail under your thumb and out of the way.

Begin wrapping in figure-8.

2. Begin wrapping the yarn around your fingers in a figure-8 pattern.


Keep strands parallel.

3. As you wrap, keep the strands parallel to each other. Don’t let them cross over each other.


How to wind a yarn butterfly Step 4: Pinch the yarn bundle together at the center.

4. When you have wrapped enough, pinch the yarn bundle together at the center point, and slide it off your fingers.


Wrap the tail around the bundle

5. Leaving at least 12″ [30 cm], cut the working yarn. Wrap this end around the center of the bundle. Wrap tightly, but not too tightly.


Tuck end under center wraps.

6. Tuck the end under the center wraps. A crochet hook is handy to use for this task.


Step 7: Use the free end of the yarn to work with. It should pull neatly out of the butterfly.

7. When you have finished, use the working end (the end that was under your thumb). It should pull out neatly as you need it, leaving the rest of the yarn still wrapped up in its butterfly shape.


The yarn I used for the demonstration is Chic Sheep by Marly Bird. Looking for more yarny information? Check out How to Wind Yarn with a Yarn Swift and Yarn Winder and How to Block Knitting and Crochet.

Now that you know how to wind a yarn butterfly, what will you make with your yarn butterflies? Leave a comment below.

12 Gifts for Knitters & Crocheters

Looking for a non-yarn gift for your favorite knitter or crocheter? Find gifts your favorite crafter will love in this round-up of fiberarts-related holiday gifts. If you are the crafter, bookmark this page and forward it to your family and friends as a not-so-subtle hint.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a small income to me if you buy something, but won’t cost you anything extra. If you can’t link to the item you want, leave a comment and I’ll give it to you directly; I am having trouble with some external links, but I’m working on it!

#1 Ball Winder

A yarn winder is a must-have for anybody who uses a lot of yarn in hanks. It winds the yarn into nice, center-pull cakes. No more balls rolling around on the floor picking up cat hair!

Read How to Wind Yarn with a Yarn Swift and Ball Winder for more information.

#2 Yarn Swift

Yarn swifts work arm-in-arm (see what I did there?) to make holding skeins a snap.

#3 Blocking Mats, Pins & Wires

No one loves to spend the time blocking projects, but it’s an important step to finishing things off professionally. Make that job easier with the right tools!

Read How to Block Knitting and Crochet.

#4 Steamer

As long as you are getting the blocking wires, pins and mats, why not upgrade to a garment steamer? Save the iron for clothes. A garment steamer puts out a lot more steam.

#5 Needles and/or Hooks

It is not possible to have too many crochet hooks or knitting needles. The ones you need are often tied up with a work in progress, or hiding somewhere under a sofa cushion or in a project bag. A single luxury tool, or a whole new set of needles or hooks is always welcome.

The following are just a few options. There are as many styles and types of needles and hooks as there are yarn crafters. If you are buying for someone else, check first to see what their preferences are. The cheapest tools are often not the best quality. Crafters can have strong opinions about their tools!

#6 Yarn Bowl

Yarn bowls can be either life-savers or simply a nice extra hand, depending on the crafter. Find them made by local artisans at your local craft fairs, or check out the following ones available online.

#7 Project Bag

Crafters can never have too many bags! From tiny tool bags to project bags to giant bags that hold everything you need for a two-week crafting vacation, you can’t beat a great bag.

[Note to family reading this post: The madder root sheep mini-trundle bag is my go-to sock project bag, but I would 100% love any of their other bags.]

#8 Clubs, Subscriptions, and Apps

There are subscriptions to everything these days. Buy a yarn box/kit subscription or a software services subscription. Your recipient will thank you all year long!

Read Navigating Knit Stitches with Stitch Maps and my knitCompanion review.

#9 Sheep-Related Items

This is probably my favorite category, because there are so many cute sheep things out there. And you don’t have to stick to sheep! Alpacas and Llamas are having their moment in the merchandising sun right now!

Check out my sheep-themed gift roundup from a couple of years ago for more ideas.

#10 Books

There’s a book or five on every crafter’s Wish List: books about techniques, books full of stitch patterns (called stitch dictionaries), books full of projects. Check out these popular favorites.

For more book recommendations, check out Knit: Basics & Beyond, Crochet: Basics & Beyond, and Knit & Crochet Design Resources.

#11 Yarn Storage

Where is all that stash being stored? If it’s in random boxes and bags, stuffed under beds and in drawers, maybe it’s time to organize. Whether the yarn goes into plastic tubs or fancy shelving units, having it organized will bring joy and perhaps allow you to know what you have.

#12 LYS Gift Certificate

If you’re still not sure about what to get, buy a gift certificate from your local yarn shop (LYS). Local yarn shops are the heart and soul of our yarn world, and we want to support them with our love and money, so they will continue to be there for us. And if you don’t have a LYS, a gift certificate from an online retailer like WEBS or Jimmy Beans will work, too!

Have I missed anything? If you have ideas for other gifts for knitters and crocheters, please share them in the comments.

Be on the lookout for Stocking Stuffers for Knitters and Crocheters, coming soon to this blog.

Free Knitting Pattern: Easy Two-Toned Pillow

This easy two-toned knit pillow uses the simplest of stitches to create a modern geometric design. Gauge isn’t crucial, because you just knit until the size is right.

Easy Two-Toned Pillow for beginners designed by Edie Eckman

Instructions for the pattern are listed for free below, but if you’d like an easy-to-print and easy-to-carry ad-free version, buy the pdf.

CTA Buy the Pattern

This post may contain affiliate links, which help support me but don’t cost you anything extra.

The Yarn

Craft Yarn Council 4-medium weight yarn
Craft Yarn Council 4-medium weight yarn

Medium-weight (worsted-weight) yarn is easy for beginners to use. Lion Brand Feels Like Butta has a dreamy-soft feel that you really want to snuggle up to!


Feels Like Butta yarn

I choose Pale Grey and Charcoal for a modern neutral palette, but the yarn comes in eighteen colors, so you are sure to find a couple of colors that appeal to you. It only takes one ball of each color.


The Pattern

Garter stitch is the first stitch pattern that beginners learn, because there’s no purling involved. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a versatile stitch! You can do all sorts of incredible things with just garter stitch!

Matching the pattern gauge is always important, but sometimes it’s more important than others. In this pattern, you want to at least get close to the pattern gauge so the fabric you are knitting is tight enough and so you don’t run out of yarn. However, don’t fret if it’s not EXACTLY the same; you have a little bit of leeway so you can knit until the size is right.

Easy Two-Toned Pillow

One Size: 12″ [30.5 cm] square

Materials
Lion Brand Feels Like Butta Yarn (100% polyester, 3.5 oz [100 g], 218 yd [199 m]), 1 ball each #150 Charcoal (A) and 149 Pale Grey (B)

US Size 7 [4.5 mm] knitting needles or size to obtain correct gauge

2 stitch markers or bits of waste yarn

Tapestry Needle

12" square. pillow insert

12″ {30.4 cm] square pillow insert


Gauge
21 sts and 42 rows =4″ {10 cm] in garter stitch. Although gauge is not crucial in this pattern, it’s is best to take time to check gauge. Watch How to Measure Gauge in Knitted Garter Stitch.

Abbreviations
garter stitch: knit every row
k2tog: knit two stitches together
kfb: knit in front and back of one stitch
RS: right side
st(s): stitch(es)
WS: wrong side

Instructions
Make 2 pieces alike, as follows:
With A, long-tail cast on 3 sts.
Row 1 (WS): Knit.
Row 2: Knit to last 2 sts, kfb, k1—1 st increased.

Place a marker on the front of the row just knit to indicate the right side of the fabric.

Repeat Row 2 until there are 85 sts on the needle, or until one shorter edge of the piece measures about 11″ [28 cm], ending by working a WS row. Cut A, leaving a 6″ [15 cm] tail.

With B, knit to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1—1 st decreased.
Repeat this row until 3 sts remain.
Bind off.

Finishing
Weave in ends.
Hold pieces with wrong sides together and with colors matching.
With tapestry needle, sew around three edges using mattress stitch andmatching yarn color.

Insert pillow form. Sew final seam. Weave in ends.

Other Projects

Check out these other easy knitting patterns:

Quick & Easy Summer Placemats

Blue Springs Double Cowl

Easy Quick-Knit One-Skein Tea Cozy

Molly Hat

Stoneybrook Shawlette

Zig Zag Eyelet Scarf

Holiday Craft Books Round-Up

Don’t wait! Now is the time to start your Holiday crafting! Take a look at these books – some new, some older – for great ideas for your holiday-themed projects. Whether you are a crocheter, a knitter, or a general DIY crafter, these books have you covered.

And if start now but don’t get to everything on your list this year, you’ll be ahead of the game for next holiday season.

This post contains affiliate links, which may provide a bit of income to me, but don’t cost you anything extra.

Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree

Of course, I have to start with a book by me. Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree has tons of cute patterns. The stocking and mitten advent garland pictured on the cover is a big hit. There are a variety of stockings for the whole family, and Andee Graves’ little amigurumi birds are adorable at any time of the year.


Knit Christmas Stockings by Gwen Steege

Knit Christmas Stockings, edited by Gwen Steege, is a classic. If you prefer your stockings knit, this is the book for you.


55 Christmas Balls to Knit

Nordic designers Arne & Carlos bring their signature style to the knitting of Christmas ornaments with 55 Christmas Balls to Knit. I long to knit enough of these to cover a whole tree, but even just one or two will bring a bit of joy to your Christmas decor.


Big Book of Thread Ornaments

If crocheted thread is more your thing, check out Leisure Arts Big Book of Thread Ornaments. Ornament covers and snowflakes of all sorts will keep you busy showering your tree with seasonal beauty.


Big Book of Christmas Knits

Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Christmas Knits has it all – ornaments, stockings, mittens, and toys– and all with a Scandinavian flair. You could spend an entire year knitting projects from this book.


Create-Your-Own Christmas Cards

Don’t feel like knitting or crocheting? Color Your Own Christmas Cards instead. Send customized cards to everyone on your list. You’ll get thirty cards with envelopes included. This one is full for all ages!


Homemade Holiday

Homemade Holiday includes 40 projects that encompass knitting, crocheting, sewing, cooking, gift wrapping, and more.

Review: knitCompanion

Knitting may seem like a low-tech craft, but modern technology can help us enjoy it more. The knitCompanion app adds functionality to pdf patterns that the printed page can’t match.

I was given an app subscription in exchange for my review, but all opinions here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

Knit companion graphic

What Does knitCompanion Do?

knitCompanion is a powerful pattern tracking app for iOS and Android. It allows you to keep track of where you are in a written pattern with digital markers, counters and highlighters. It is especially helpful for following knitting charts. If you are used to using highlighter tape, magnet bars and/or tick marks to keep track of where you are in a pattern, knitCompanion will take their place.

What Patterns Work with knitCompanion?

Any pattern at all! If the pattern isn’t in pdf form, the knitCompanion website explains how to get it into the proper format.

From the app, you can link directly to patterns in your Ravelry library or Dropbox. You’ll need to set up the pdf in the app to get the full benefit of what it can do, but there are plenty of tutorials to show you how to set it up.

For my review, I chose to use a kCDesign. kCDesigns are patterns that are already formatted for use in knitCompanion. In that way, I avoided the setup and was able to get right to my knitting. (A note to my designer friends: You can transform your patterns into a kCDesign for no fee with Create2Thrive!)

Knitting with knitCompanion

Edie knitting in Provence
Knitting in Provence

Purchase and installation was a breeze on my iPhone. I loaded up a kCDesigns sock pattern just before a two-week trip abroad. I find sock knitting to be perfect vacation knitting, because it allows me to travel light but still have a project stuck in my backpack.

The sock pattern was written for four sizes. I chose the middle one and found to my delight that my chosen size was highlighted in yellow throughout the pattern — automagically! I loved that I could zoom in on the pattern to make the text easier to read during my red-eye flight, and that it kept track of where I had left off every time I hurriedly stowed my sock away.

Unfortunately for the purposes of testing the app, I quickly learned the lace stitch pattern. I’m so familiar with socks that I started working on auto-pilot and forgot to advance my markers. I forgot to follow the pattern for huge sections, and only went back to it when I reached a milestone, like the heel.

Knitting on the TGV

knitCompanion didn’t blink. I just advanced the pattern to the next section and kept going. My sock turned out fine, but vacation ended before I finished the second one. It’s waiting, halfway finished, until my next vacation.

Features

knitCompanion has more features than I can name here. Explore the website to see them all! The ones I found most intriguing were:

  • Highlighter-allows you to highlight anything on a page
  • Sliding row and stitch (column) markers on every page
  • Linked Counters- allow you keep track of several things at once, like neck and armhole shaping
  • Magic Markers-allow you to color code different types of stitches in a chart
  • Notes-allow you to make notes about anything, so you can write where you changed something
  • Video links-allow you to embed video links as how-to reminders

There are three levels of knitCompanion. kCBasics is free and offers basic features. Essentials adds additional tools, including the Notes and Highlighter features that I mentioned above. Setup + Essentials allows you to set up a pattern the way you want it, including cropping and combining charts. I didn’t even try that part, but it looks amazingly powerful and useful to a certain segment of knitters.

Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons

Let me start with the cons. There is a lot to learn, and you have to work a bit. You’ll spend quite a bit of time watching video tutorials and experimenting with the app to learn all the features. If you don’t like learning through videos, you’ll just have to deal with it.

I tend to be a read-my-knitting knitter rather than a read-my-pattern knitter. I learn the stitch pattern and understand the shaping, and only refer to the pattern now and again when I reach a milestone. I’m usually not following complex lace charts. I seldom use highlighting aids and I’m very good at reading my work to see where I am in the pattern. That made knitCompanion of limited use to me on the pattern I chose to follow as a test. I probably wouldn’t use the app for most of the types of knitting that I do.

One more tiny whine: I wish that it supported crochet charts as well as it does knit charts, but that’s not really a “con”. It’s called knitCompanion, after all.

Now to the pros, and there are many. This is a very powerful app that does many useful things. Let me repeat: Many. Useful. Things. Once you start delving into the features, you’ll see that it’s like having a very smart friend holding your hand along your knitting journey, and reminding you when you need to do something.

If you do lots of chart work — lace or cables especially — you’ll find knitCompanion an essential tool. I plan to try it on a complex cable next. I expect to be wow’d.

The support offered in the app, on the website, and through the support ticket system is phenomenal. It’s probably the best that I’ve ever seen for an app. Add to that the very active Facebook group of knitCompanion fans, and you have all the help you’d ever need in figuring out how to make knitCompanion work for you.

To learn more about knitCompanion, check out the website.

To learn about alternatives to traditional knitting charts, read Navigating Knit Stitches with Stitch Maps.