Feature : Feature : 12.18.2008


The Procrastinators’ Gift Guide

Hot Potatoes Gifts for those glued to the boob tube

A Gift That Could Land You a New Sweater

Music Picks

Homegrown Holiday Sounds Give a bit of Oregon


A Gift That Could Land You a New Sweater
by Jessica Hirst

The all-female college I attended back in the late ’90s was crawling with boyish-hipped women who had pierced eyebrows and short, rumpled hair. They wore low-slung jeans and studded belts, and they knew the New York subway system. 

And they knew how to knit. At night, a group of them would sit in front of the fireplace in a circle and pull out their needles. 

Since the ’90s, knitting has changed from a grandmotherly hobby to one that people of almost any age — and gender — can enjoy. So, whether you need to buy a holiday gift for an ironic college chick, your sister who makes sequined sweaters for her terrier or your crafty uncle, a knitting item might just be the way to go. 

Luckily, Eugene has two excellent yarn stores: Soft Horizons Fibre, at 412 E. 13th, and Knit Shop Inc. at the Southtowne Shops. Both stores offer a wide variety of useful and fun gifts for beginning and experienced knitters. 

Just in time for those last-minute gifts, I took a visit to both stores to get some recommendations. I ended up with lots of gift suggestions in various categories. Here are some highlights:

Specialty wool At Soft Horizons, the softest balls of cashmere ever and fuzzy, shimmery hand-dyed yarns by Prism. At Knit Shop, wool made from yaks owned by Tibetan herders and silky merino wool in vibrant hues of turquoise and purple.

Organizers At both stores, stylish, roomy bags for knitting paraphernalia and fold-up cases for knitting needles in cute patterns. 

Tools and accessories At Soft Horizons, glow-in-the-dark knitting needles (for nights by the campfire or to keep those electric bills down) and locally made stitch markers. At Knit Shop, wool winders for turning messy yarn into neat balls and tape measures in the shape of animals.

Project packs At both stores, all-in-one packages for making scarves are popular with beginners. 

Specialty projects At Soft Horizons, needle-felting kits that let you make ornaments and decorations, and beads that you can knit into jewelry. At Knit Shop, cord-like yarn by Noro that you can use to make purses and wallets. 

Books and DVDs. For beginners, The Knitting Handbook by Vicki Square, and any book in the Stitch N’ Bitch series by Debbie Stollen. For more practiced knitters, The Knitter’s Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes. For a laugh, Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry. Both stores carry these books, and Soft Horizons also offers a number of how-to DVDs.