gift guide for makers #1: KITS are IT!

this is the first in a series of Gift Guides for Makers! i can’t help you when it comes to the kids in your life, or your tech-y brother, but if you’ve got creative-minded people (or those with secret aspirations) i’ve got some ideas. as i mentioned in my last post, this list is completely biased; most/all of the items are created and sold by makers who are my friends, or people i admire. the cool part is that you are giving a double gift when you choose to shop from independent small businesses, because your giftee is getting something extra special, and the small business is getting your support. WIN/WIN!!! also, everything i’m suggesting is something i either already own, or covet myself, so you know i’m sincere!

i have always loved kits. something about the concept of having everything you need to do a project in one box seems like magic. and for that reason i think kits make ideal gifts, whether for someone who wants to try out a new fiber craft, or a seasoned maker.

i got to test this brand new natural dye kit for christi johnson of mixed color and it was so fun! since moving upstate, i’ve tended to save dyeing as an outdoor activity during the warmer months, but this kit reminded me that the kitchen can also be an impromptu dye studio.

christi’s kit includes a beautiful instruction booklet that she wrote and illustrated. i found it to have just enough instruction to be clear, while still feeling creative and playful. note: the lovely silk noil scarf was originally white, but in the mordanting phase i had the bright idea of tossing in two other silk scarves which i had dyed with turquoise acid dyes, and they turned the noil scarf aqua. i didn’t really mind the addition of more color, but my results don’t accurately reflect what the kit would normally do. i chose the logwood; the other options are madder and cutch. if you know someone who’s been wanting to try natural dyeing, this is a lovely introduction.

below, behold my finished scarf! the purple is the logwood and the aqua from my rookie mistake. but i love it! i folded it in squares and put the (included in kit) popsicle stick diagonally across (upper right pic above) and this is what i got:

 

my pal, the wondrous ann wood has also started offering kits for both her Mr. Socks and Tiny Rag Doll patterns! apparently both were big hits, because they’re sold out at the moment, but she says she’ll have more soon and you can sign up to receive notification when they’re back. i have both of these patterns (which also make great gifts on their own), and at the top of my projects list this winter is to stitch them up while staying cozy by the woodstove…

A Verb for Keeping Warm offers several exquisitely-sourced kits for projects designed by proprietor kristine vejar: (top) for hand-stitchers, the full moon project bag kit, (middle) the embroidered constellation bandana kit, and (bottom) the naturally dyed and sewn flowers at my fingertips kit.

the first two kits are for pieces kristine designed for Making magazine, so you’d want to include those issues in your gift for the how-to steps (p.s. i’ll be talking more about this delightful publication in an upcoming gift guide). the third is in her beloved book, The Modern Natural Dyer, which of course makes an excellent gift too!

embroidery is becoming more popular all the time, and the samplers of artist rebecca ringquist are my favorite way to introduce someone to this portable craft. she prints her designs onto cloth to be hand-stitched by the lucky recipient. these aren’t kits, but you could easily assemble some floss, needles and a sweet pair of snips, and perhaps one of her classes on Creativebug* or a monthly subscription to all of their workshops for a gift no craftily-inclined human could not love!

ok, that should get you started!

*note: as always, all links to Creativebug (where i teach more than 15 online workshops) are affiliate links.

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