Recently, I asked the question: What yarn would you give as a gift to a friend who knits and why?
Melissa MacCrae, owner of Spin-a-Yarn shop in Brewer, said, “I choose Plymouth’s Baby Alpaca Grande to give for Christmas or anytime. This yarn is so soft it seems to hug you as you knit. It also is supported by several free patterns that use only one skein. It’s an affordable luxury.”
Michele Goldman, owner of Fiberfilia shops in Orono and Presque Isle, said, “Jade Sapphire 6-ply cashmere, color Yes We Can Can. It makes me happy and I would want my friend to feel the same way.”
Michelle Bullock of North Island Fibers, North Haven Island, said, “I would give the gift of yarn from a local farm. I believe in knitting with natural fibers and supporting family farms and cottage industries.”
Jodi Clayton, One Lupine Fiber in Bangor, said, “Hmmm. Well, it would depend a bit on what was going on in the friend’s world. If all was well I would consider Peace Fleece for its nice message this time of year, not to mention its broad appeal and quality. If the friend was a colorway junky I would look to String Theory (in Blue Hill), Malabrigo (sold in yarn shops throughout Maine) or a nice local handspun or small spinnery yarn like those from Good Karma Farm (in Belfast), Hope Spinnery (in Hope) or Hilltop Handspun (in Lovell). If comfort was needed I would think about those just mentioned and add Brae Tweed, which is some of the softest and nicest yarn I have worked with in a while. Another good choice is Nash Island Fog (from Starcroft spinnery in Monroe).”
Ann Henderson of Maxfield emailed, “The yarn I love and would give for a Christmas gift is Peace Fleece. It is so much fun to knit with and makes a very lovely and warm sweater, socks and mittens. I am making my second sweater this fall.”
Mary Bird, organizer of Friday Fiber Friends at the Page Farm and Home Museum at the University of Maine, said, “My current favorite yarn is the hand-dyed pygora-merino blend from Nancy Ruggeri’s Wandering Moose Fiber Farm in Argyle Township. It’s cloud-soft, lightweight and lustrous, with a bit of a halo, like angora. It knits up beautifully, whether you’re making something sweet and lacy, or a more sturdy, utilitarian item. It also is accessibly priced. Maine’s fiber producers are creating such gorgeous wool, alpaca, mohair, pygora, cashmere and angora yarns that it’s always a treat to give them as gifts, either as skeins for my knitting friends and family, or as finished pieces. It’s a treat to receive them, too. Pygora goats are mixed breed developed from pygmy and Angora goats.”
Julia Hathaway of Veazie said she would choose “a Maine-crafted yarn” from a local store.
Joan R. Fowle, member of the Pine Kneedlers Guild, said, “I would definitely give my friend a skein of alpaca sock yarn for Christmas because it makes such a warm pair of socks — which will remind her of the warmth of our friendship. Knitting socks has become my passion over the past few years. The members in my family almost expect a new pair of socks in their Christmas gift bag — the only surprise for them is not knowing what color or style they will be.”
Betty Hauger of Winterport said, “I would give a locally grown hand-spun fiber to my knitter friends so they have a special Maine grown and Maine made product to work with.”
Cheryl Zeh, founder of the Pine Kneedlers Knitting Guild, said, “I would give a knitting friend some Maine alpaca because it is so deliciously wonderful to work with. I would be supporting the industry in Maine, and supporting the knitting experience because the fiber is so readily available and affordable.”
Sandy Spiller, owner of Essentially Felt in Glenburn said she’d give something luxurious with enough yardage to knit a beautiful scarf or fingerless mitts — angora, cashmere, very soft merino, alpaca or silk. “My favorite is a natural undyed angora which is grey — Anny Blatt’s Absolu Angora. It is on the higher end costwise but one skein will knit a cowl and two will knit a shawlette.”
To learn what a knithacker is and to view some knithacker creations, visit knithacker.com.
Go to sewing.org/html/spkids_holiday.html to access simple Christmas sewing projects.
Simplicity, the sewing pattern company, now offers printable patterns at simplicity.com.
Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or email email@example.com.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote to Mickey at Fiberphilia. The quote was from Michelle Bullock of North Island Fibers.