Trolling for Gifts

For holiday gifts, I give each household in my family a goody bag or basket full of Oregon hazelnuts and wine, homemade cookies and jams, and at least one special little non-edible gift. We are of northern European descent, so the holidays always include Norwegian butter cookies and loaves of German stollen (a sweet bread), and no holiday would be complete without tomten and nisse, the magical creatures of the Scandinavian winter holidays. So this year, I'm branching out from weaving to make ornaments for my family: needle felted tomten (what we would call gnomes) and maybe I'll knit some Yule trolls like the one I made in a "magical knitting" class with Annemor Sundbø at a Scandinavian knitting conference a few years ago. I think they will be the perfect gifts: quick to make for me, creative to reduce holiday stress, and they'll make my family's future holidays a little bit more magical, too.

My knitted Yule troll with his needle-felted tomte friends, Olaf and Sven.

If you're looking for quick, fun ideas to make your holidays more magical, I recommend Interweave's new DIY Holiday magazine. The issue includes 25 handmade projects to make for the holidays, using a variety of different crafts like needlework, jewelry making, knitting, and mixed media. There's even quick weaving: a sweet holiday lights pin loom project from our friends at Schacht.

Happy crafting!

Anita Osterhaug

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