Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Knitter Yarn as a Gift
If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a 1000 times… “You’re impossible to shop for!”
To which I reply, “No I’m not! I’m a knitter, I love all things knitting. I’m easy to shop for,” and then, in an extra quiet voice I add, “except, don’t buy me yarn.”
Yes, I really tell my family that they shouldn’t buy me yarn. I realize that may sound ungrateful and bratty of me, and I fully admit to being a yarn snob. But seriously, when you stop to think about it, yarn really isn’t the best gift for a knitter.
Let me tell you why.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Knitter Yarn
1) First of all, projects take a specific amount of yarn.
Non-knitter gift givers often try to imagine what you’re going to make with the yarn they give you. They may think a single skein of super bulky yarn is enough for you to make a trendy super-sized knit blanket. Or that, obviously, they should give you three skeins of that lace weight yarn with 900 yards a skein because it’s so fine you probably need a lot to knit a shawl. If they’ve never knit a project they won’t realize you’ll probably only need one skein of lace weight to make a shawl and you’ll need a half dozen of those basketball size skeins!
It would be a lot to expect someone who isn’t familiar with patterns and yarn requirements to download a pattern, read the requirements, and then order the exact yarn and quantity called for so you can knit a specific project.
2) Wool is a lot softer than people think it is.
In my experience, a lot of yarn that’s gifted is either novelty (such as eyelash or ribbon) or it’s acrylic. This can be totally great for the right project, but I think most of the time it’s given because non-knitters don’t understand the properties of fibers. They give novelty yarns because they look cool, or they give acrylic because it’s soft. Their only experience with wool is a scratchy department store sweater they just pull out when temps drop below zero.
As a knitter, I have no doubt you love quality wool just as much as I do. It’s soft, warm, and durable. To help combat the “wool is too itchy” myth, I make people feel the wool I knit with (whether it’s from the sweater I’m wearing or the project I’m knitting) as often as possible so they can feel just how wonderful it is.
3) Color selection is really personal.
This reasoning really doesn’t need an explanation, does it? Everyone has very personal love/hate relationships with colors. I rarely ever wear orange, but guess what color is my sister’s favorite and she’s gifted me several times. Add to this the extra layer that non-knitters seem to find very heavily variegated yarns appealing. Maybe they think knitter would find a shaded solid boring. Who knows? What they don’t know is that it takes the right skein-to-project match to make those wildly colorful skeins really work.
With something as individual as a color that will be wearable, it really should be left up to the knitter.
4) Lastly, most yarn stashes are already overflowing with yarn.
I know that this post may sound like I’m looking a gift-yarn-horse in the mouth, but I do really appreciate every single skein of yarn I’ve ever been given. While I might not love the fiber or the color, what I truly love is the intention behind that skein. Someone I love thought of me and wanted me to enjoy my craft. Even though I’ll probably never knit with them, I’ve kept every skein, which means I’ve got a lot of yarn in my stash (especially when you count the skeins I add myself!) And truth be told, even experienced knitters make bad stash choices. I don’t think gift givers want to have their skeins lost in a bottomless stash!
If you want a knitter to sincerely love a skein, give him or her a gift card. While it may seem thoughtless, it’s not! It lets the knitter pick out just the yarn they need in a fiber and color they love for a project they want to knit right this minute. They’ll stitch away with thanks, thinking the whole time of the giver who made their new project possible.
Editorial Director, Books