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.

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.

Announcing the Premiere of Stitch Makers Live Virtual Crochet Conference!

It’s been hard to keep quiet about this one, but now I can tell you about it!

What is Stitch Makers Live?

This post contains affiliate links, which is how I make money from teaching. Please buy your tickets from this site.

Stitch Makers Live is a 3-day virtual event for crocheters. It’s all the fun of a crochet conference from the comfort of your home!

Join 11 crochet bloggers and teachers LIVE on Facebook throughout the event. We’ll be hanging out with you, teaching and answering questions.

The LIVE portion runs Thursday, September 19 through Saturday September 21, 2019.

What Do I Get?

  • 15+ LIVE virtual classes with industry experts
  • Exclusive bonus crochet pattern with each class (15+ patterns)
  • Discussion and socializing with other attendees and teachers
  • A virtual party at the end of the event
  • Full access to the recordings for one full year

And you’re invited!

Early Bird Tickets are only $55 now through Monday, September 2.

After Labor Day ticket prices will increase to $80, so buy now to lock in the lower price.

Tell Me More

Our experts are passionate about sharing their love of crochet with others. Whether your goal is to improve your skills in hat making, gather the bravery to begin your first sweater, or dive into short rows, our goal is to help you. We have handpicked these teachers and designers to bring you the best instructors on a variety of crochet topics.

Getting to an in-person conference can be a barrier for some crocheters. You want to improve your skills and meet new people, but work, family life and budget constraints can make that impossible. Stitch Makers Live is the affordable alternative, because you’re only paying for the classes, not for flights, hotel rooms, restaurant food, and so on.

Stitch Makers Live is the only crochet-only online conference, and we’d love you to be part of the excitement.

How Does Stitch Makers Live Work?

When you buy a ticket to Stitch Makers Live you’ll get access to a private Facebook group that is only open to Stitch Makers Live participants and teachers.

The event runs September 19-21. The live video classes and interaction with the teachers will take place on the private Facebook group. Instructors will be teaching and interacting with you from 11:00 am until 8:00 pm Eastern each of those days.

And we’ll be having a virtual party from 7:30 pm until 9:00 pm Eastern on Saturday night, September 21!

Edie, What Will You Be Doing?

I’ll be teaching techniques from The Village Hat pattern. You’ll learn my tips for great-looking crocheted motifs and join-as-you-go techniques. The Village Hat pattern includes both charted and text instructions, and it’s free with your Stitch Makers Live attendance.


Want to buy a yarn pack so you can make the hat using the same yarn I did? You can! It’s available now from Wonderland Yarns.

Buy the Yarn Button

Other teachers and topics include:

Teacher collage
Logo collage
  • Tamara Kelly of Moogly: Plan Your Projects Perfectly with Weight and Gauge Basics and Fabulous Crochet Sweaters are Simple with Finishing Techniques
  • Mary Beth Temple of Hooked for Life Publishing: Hop on the Tunisian Trend with Basics from a Professional Teacher and Level Up Your Projects with Surface Crochet Techniques
  • Alexis Middleton of Persia Lou: Build Better Crochet Baskets with Rope or Cord and this Crafty Star
  • Marie Segares of Underground Crafter: Conquer Amigurumi with Tips and Tricks for All Those Bits and Get Slouch Hat Savvy with Crochet Tips from an Urban Designer
  • Andee Graves of Mamas 2 Hands: Master the Tricks to Create Easy Perfect Crochet Spirals
  • Jessie Rayot of Jessie at Home: Produce Perfect Granny Squares Every Time with these Clever Tips
  • Pia Thadani of Stitches n Scraps: Stretch Your Crochet Skills with Elastic Waistbands for Wearables
  • Linda Dean of Linda Dean Crochet: Fall in Love with Crochet Short Rows for Wonderful Shaping
  • Julie Desjardins of Accrochet: Success with Crochet Socks Can Be Yours – Start with the Basics
  • Courtney Whitehead of Creations by Courtney: Handy Help for Hat Makers – Both Top Down and Bottom Up

Join Stitch Makers Live

Have I convinced you about how excited I am to be a part of this brand-new venture? After all, I get to share my love of crochet from the comfort of my home, too!

Won’t you please join us? I can’t wait to see you there!

Buy Tickets Now button

Where to Put the First Stitch of a Crochet Row

Most new crocheters question where to put the first stitch of a crochet row. It’s not always clear from reading a pattern where that hook should go. If you don’t get it right, you may gain or lose stitches and have uneven edges.

Knowing where to put the first stitch of a crochet row in every situation will help you maintain the same number of stitches and keep your edges straight!

This article uses American crochet terminology. I’m assuming you want to keep the same number of stitches on each row, and to have straight sides. Be sure to watch the videos listed below to get a good close-up look of where I’m putting the first stitch of the second row in different situations.

Turning Chains

The key to knowing where to put your hook lies in understanding turning chains. Turning chains are the chains at the beginning of a row that bring your hook up to the level of the next row, ready to work the new row.

Your pattern will tell you how many turning chains to work, and whether that turning chain counts as a stitch. If the pattern doesn’t indicate whether the turning chain counts, you can decide for yourself.

Type of
Stitch
Typical
Turning
Chain
Does Turning
Chain Count
as a Stitch?
scch 1usually not
hdcch 2sometimes; you can decide
dcch 3usually but not always
trch 4usually but not always

When the Turning Chain Counts as a Stitch

If the turning chain counts as a stitch and you don’t want to increase or decrease, the second stitch of the row or round (the first “real” dc, for example) goes into the stitch that is one stitch to the left of the stitch at the base of the turning chain. Or one stitch to the right if you are working left-handed.

The last stitch of a row goes into the top of the turning chain from the row below. The last stitch of a round goes into the last stitch of the previous round.

Here’s what that looks like in a stitch charts and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 13 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain counts as a stitch.

Photograph showing where to put the first stitch of a row when the turning chain counts as a stitch.

Watch How to Work Double Crochet to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, and count the ch-3 turning chain as a stitch.

In How to Work Treble Crochet, I also count the ch-4 turning chain as a stitch.

Photo showing location of last stitch of row when ch-3 counts as a stitch

When the turning chain counts as a stitch, if you put the first stitch into the same stitch as the base of the turning chain, you’ll increase. If you don’t remember to put the last stitch into the top of the turning chain, you’ll decrease.

Photo showing same number of stitches on each row using turning chain as a stitch
There are the same number of stitches in each row, counting the turning chain on each row as a stitch.

When the Turning Chain Doesn’t Count as a Stitch

If the turning chain does not count as a stitch, and you want to maintain the same number of stitches, the first stitch of the second row goes into the stitch at the base of the turning chain because you completely ignore the turning chain.

The last stitch of the row goes into the last “real” dc, because the turning chain is ignored. Here’s what that looks like in a stitch chart and on a swatch. This swatch and stitch chart begins with a foundation chain of 14 and has 11 stitches across each row, because the turning chain does not count as a stitch.

Photo showing where to put the first stitch of a row when the turning chain is not a stitch

Watch Single Crochet with Edie Eckman starting at about 3:32 to see me transition from Row 1 to Row 2 on a swatch, but not count the ch-1 turning chain as a stitch.

In How to Work Half Double Crochet, I do not count the ch-2 turning chain as a stitch.

Photo showing end of row when turning chain is not used as a stitch
Photo showing same number of stitches on each row not using turning chain as a stitch
There are the same number of stitches in each row, not counting the turning chain on each row as a stitch.

When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, if you skip the stitch at the base of the chain and work into the next stitch, you’ll decrease. If you put the last stitch of the row into a turning chain, you’ll increase.

Reminders: Where to Put the First Stitch

Remember: When the turning chain counts as a stitch, treat it like one.

It has magically become a stitch (because the pattern told you so). Why would you put another stitch in the same place? And why would you not work into it on the way back?

Remember: When the turning chain does not count as a stitch, ignore it completely.

Your edges will be straight, your stitch count will stay the same, and you’ll stop worrying about where that stitch should go!

For more about turning chains, read 5 Ways to Prevent Gaps at the Beginning of Crochet Rows. To learn more about this and other ways to improve your crochet, check out my Improve Your Crochet: Essential Techniques on Bluprint.