I love useful gifts. When my family started asking what I wanted for Christmas, I went over to Barnes and Noble and looked through their knitting book collection. I’d have preferred to use a LYS, but B&N is an easy store to locate anywhere in the country, and sometimes chains are just easier. I passed on a few titles to my mom, along with some non-knitting suggestions. My top pick was Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook. And what was under the tree? That’s right; Montse’s book! I think you all know how much I love and use the Walker books by now. The Knitter’s Handbook is a similar quality of book, except for techniques rather than stitch patterns. I think it’s my favorite gift of the year, and I can tell I’ll be getting a lot of use out of it.

Last spring, I discovered the Walker books, and bought the first two in the series. I wanted to get the others, but I figured that two would keep me busy for a while, and that they’d make easy Christmas suggestions. I have such a hard time coming up with my wish list that yes, I do avoid buying things all year so that I can put something on it. Well, the Walker books were on the top of the list from the beginning, but they’re not easy to find in just any old book store, or even any old LYS. So, I scouted out some easy to find books for my family (see above) and left the Walker books for Branden. We never know what to get for each other, as we’re both very content not to have anything extra usually. So, we try to come up with things that we’d really like and the element of surprise is usually lost. This year, Branden kept asking “so, what do you want for Christmas?” and every time I’d tell him that I wanted the Walker books. This year, he apparently wanted to surprise me instead, and so started doing some “research” into a possible gift two nights before we left for MA, and didn’t make it to the LYS to get the books. The other gift didn’t pan out, but he wanted to have something for me to open (I’m not sure why…I was fine with just waiting until we got home). We did some shopping at B&N’s online store and picked out two more knitting books; The Knitter’s Guide to Combining Yarn, and The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Dyeing.

So I now have 3 (three!) new knitting books to start off my second year of consistent knitting, and I just got a coupon to the Fiber Gallery, which I will be using to pick up the Walker books, now that the Christmas hold is off. Woo hoo!

I brought Montse’s book along as plane reading, and am now most of the way through it. We had extra plane reading time, as our flight was delayed 4 hrs and then cancelled due to the pilot having a bad allergic reaction to his lunch. We ended up staying overnight (they put us up at the Hilton…I’m not complaining) and then going through the whole airport thing again on the 26th. This gave me plenty of reading time, and knitting time, though I actually didn’t do much knitting. I’m not sure why, because I really had nothing else to be doing, but I managed to be fairly unproductive considering the amount of time I had. I did do some list-making, though, which will make it on here sooner or later.

So, I definitely had some pretty good luck with knitting-related gifts. I am really excited to play around with the techniques in the Knitter’s Handbook, and am really enjoying reading about the different dyeing techniques in the Yarn Lover’s Guide to Dyeing. I’ve never dyed fiber before, though my research lab does a lot of dyeing of crystals. I’m excited about the possibilities in dyeing, but I don’t want to get into that just yet. I have a whole list of things to try first! But more on those later. All in all, I’d say I have had a very successful week of library expansions, thanks largely to my family and husband that do such a good job of supporting my knitting habit. Thanks everyone!