When I was little, my mother used to knit me toys from Jean Greenhowe pattern books, I kept a lot of those toys all through college, there was a little caveman who sat on my desk for years. My Grandma knitted me some gloves in my early twenties, they were full of holes and pilling badly by the time I finally binned them when we moved to America and had to downsize our stuff.
Now I’m designing patterns for small things, especially toys, I find that many of my customers are knitting these toys as gifts. For Birthdays, holidays, first day back at school, baby showers and just to cheer someone up with a hug (monster).
But aside from the sentimental reasons (which are reason enough), why should you hand knit for the holidays this year?
Because You Can Customize
A hat in the school team’s colors or a hug monster to match the colors of a nursery, yarn comes in a lot more colors and types than the plush toys in the stores.
Because You Know it’s Safe
In an age of suspicion over the contents of children’s toys and choking hazards it’s good to be able to self police your gifts. If you’re knitting a sheep as a baby toy he needs to have felt eyes, if you’re knitting the same sheep for a college student (as a reminder not to be a sheep in life) I think it’s safe to give it some button eyes.
Because it Can Be Washable
There are so many non-washable store bought toys, they’re not very practical. But if you hand knit, there are many, many options for washable yarns, so that if the bunny gets covered in jam, he can get thrown in the washing machine and come out as good as new.
Because it’s Economical
OK, I know that yarn can be expensive, but many small projects can be made with less than one skein. For example, you can get about 5 knit chicks from one ball of sirdar snuggly, you could make a small Easter parade with those (just like my son is doing in the photo at the top of the page). And once you have the pattern you can use it again and again, now that’s recycling.
Because it’s Unusual
Even in these days of thinking global and acting local, it’s still unusual to get a handmade gift. It’s nice to know that your gift will stand out from the crowd. I mean how many cuddly spiders do you see in the big box stores?
So knit it yourself this holiday season! Go hand made for the holidays.