Here at Wool on the Exe we've been busily planning for the upcoming festive season. Last week we put together a Handmade Holiday Gift Guide sharing some of our favourite patterns and matching them with a range of yarn options. These designs are mostly simple and relaxing to knit, the kinds of designs to get cosy with on Autumn evenings.
As we discussed patterns and yarn ideas we also thought about gift making generally and what it means to us. We talked about practical details like who we make for, what we make for them as well as more general ideas around making gifts. Debbie spoke about the generosity of giving time to make something special and the love expressed through the craft of knitting.
We thought we would take the opportunity to share some of our thoughts here as a way of introducing ourselves on the blog, and to invite you to join the conversation. The Wool on the Exe team encompasses a board of directors and a team of regular tutors, among others. Here are some of the staff that work in the shop and the community.
Debbie is the managing director of Wool on the Exe. She works in the shop most days and is an expert knitter.
I love to knit gifts for people. For the longest time, I didn't make anything for myself, but that's changing a bit as I get older. I've knit shawls, hats, gloves, scarves, jumpers, waistcoats and cushions as gifts. Each year I'll make 2 or 3 gifts and try to mix it up so everyone I love gets something handmade every couple of years! But I don't try to surprise my husband anymore. I've learned it's best to involve him in the process to avoid taking it all apart later on!
Sam has been working at Wool on the Exe part-time for a year and half. She mainly crochets but has also dabbled with knitting since working in the shop.
I love to make blankets for people, particularly if they are coming up to a big birthday. It’s such a great way to show people you love them. I often make them with my friend Anneke. We crochet squares or strips and sew them together while watching old films. I start making Christmas gifts around October time so that I don’t get stressed out and run out of time. This year I’m knitting my son a Strange Brew jumper and crocheting a pineapple blanket for my friend Jane, who is 50 in December.
Nicki is our Outreach Coordinator. She delivers our Knit-Stop programme by teaching knitting at small groups and in schools. She knits and crochets!
I am currently knitting socks for my father in law and am using Opal wool.
Ella works part-time in the shop and is responsible for the marketing of Wool on the Exe, including writing blog posts! She mostly knits but can crochet a little.
I love the whole idea of handmade gifts! In my family it's a tradition to knit for expected babies and it certainly feels special knitting for new arrivals. I like to knit toys for my kids, but rather than waiting for Christmas, I end up giving them as soon as they're off the needles! When I do knit Christmas gifts I like to make them for people that I know will appreciate it. My grandmother often gets something small knit by me. I do give my mum a pair of handknit socks at Christmas, but they're bought from a local knitter rather than made by me!
Gail works part-time at Wool on the Exe looking after the yarn and stock. She's a great knitter but likes to try new things too.
I knit for family and friends all year round so they suddenly get presented with cardigans, shawls, socks or fingerless gloves at unexpected times and not necessarily the relevant time of the year. I just love to knit.
Trudi has recently started working in the shop and supporting the Knit-Stop programme. She mostly crochets and learnt to knit on a Knit-Stop course!
I crochet gifts for the very special people in my life. I recently crocheted a string of bunting for my niece's wedding. For Christmas I crochet things that small and relaxing to make, such as tablet covers and cowls, for people who appreciate them.
We'd love to hear our customer's thoughts on gift knitting so please feel free to tell us what you think!