As people who make things, we know there's little better than receiving -- or giving! -- a handmade gift. But if you've run out of ideas for all the people you'd like to craft for in your life, Ontario crafter Mag Kandis has some good possibilities for you in her book Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit and Crochet.
As the name states, most of these projects are pretty small, quick ideas, mostly for things that don't need to be knit to fit, which is always good with gift knitting. In addition to the knit and crochet patterns, there are recipes for things like ginger syrup and hot chocolate mix that are also great to give.
The patterns in Gifted are divided into two general categories: gifts for the body and gifts for the soul. Gifts for the body literally are things that adorn or cover the body, such as hats, wraps, brooches, socks, mitts, baby booties and more.
Patterns for the soul include the felted hearts pictured on the cover, tea and egg cozies, sachets, a gift bag, a notebook cozy and cases for double-pointed needles.
Most of the patterns are specifically for women, though there's also a baby hat, jacket and felted booties, and a hat and socks that could be altered to be a man's size (of course several of the "soul" gifts could be for men as well).
All of the projects except for the baby hat and jacket come in just one size. Skill levels are not listed, but there are certainly projects here new knitters could tackle and there's nothing too terribly challenging (probably the most involved project is the Petaled Slouch Hat, a top-down beret-like hat with a flower motif on the top).
Some of my favorite patterns include the Cabled Boot Toppers, a fun way to show off a bit of stitching when your socks are hidden in boots; the Shoulder Cozy, a bulky capelet with an easy mock cable rib; Paper Roses, which are simply spirals worked into a flower shape that can be used to decorate gifts, as napkin rings or on hair barrettes; the aforementioned Felted Heart Milagros, which are also used on a pretty door hanger; and the Felted Yule Bling, a super-easy crochet project that's felted and embroidered to make cute little round Christmas ornaments.
If you're a fan of gift knitting (and crochet, sewing and cooking) that's not too difficult or time-consuming but also doesn't look like it was just thrown together at the last second (though some of these projects certainly could be), Gifted is the book for you.
I would have liked it to include a few more guy-friendly projects, because that always seems to be an underserved market and so many women want to knit gifts for the men in their lives.
One thing that is great about this book, though, in addition to the cute patterns, is the tips and instructions at the back of the book to help people who might not have added beads to their knitting or crochet before or who don't know how to felt, needlefelt or embroider finished objects. This book could well introduce a knitter to crochet who hasn't tried it before or convince a crafter who's always liked things plain to add a little more embellishment to make a project super-special.
Publication date: August 2010