Holiday Gifts and Humanitarian Knits to Make the Season Bright
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! There’s a chill in the air and a bustle on the streets and everyone you know is looking for that extra special gift for loved ones old and young.
If you’re anything like us, you’re still have quite a few people on your gift list. Fear not! From wonderful children’s toys to beautiful handmade brooches, we have a few tricks up our sleeve for kids from one to 92. This is also the season of giving back, and we’re proud to be taking part in a Knitting Appeal for people affected by the crisis in Ukraine that’s being organised through the UK charity Hope and Aid Direct. Knitters are coming together to knit quilt squares and make as many blankets as we can to help Ukrainians keep warm. Please read on to find out all the details and learn the pattern for the knit squares, which is included below!
We adore project bags all year round, but these two featuring artwork designed by Loop are extra special and perfect for gift-giving. Our Joy Bag and Dove of Peace Bag bring the spirit of the season to keep the spark alive through the cold wintery months. These would be great gifts to fill with other goodies for the maker in your life, like haberdashery bits or fun Mini Skeins or Quirky Yarns. The Dove of Peace Bags, which come in “Rose” or “Lilac and Rose” colourways, are extra special, as we will donate 50p from each bag sold to the International Rescue Committee in support of refugees and other people affected by crises. When you buy a Dove of Peace Bag for a loved one, you’re also giving the gift of peace to a stranger who really needs it.
We know we’re biased but the handmade brooches we get at Loop are really something special. From the bright colours of the Acorn & Will collection to all the wild wonders of Sophie Digard’s collection (her Double Floral 7 is pictured), and the waste-not-want-not beauty of Mina Perhonen’s incredible textile brooches, there is truly something to suit every taste. Brooches always elevate anything they’re affixed to and can really make any day feel like an occasion. Wrap these up in lovely jewellery-style boxes or treat your giftee to an extra special gift-topper!
Mina Perhonen’s brooches may delight, but the designer’s bags inspire. The designs are so intricate, delicate, and just so. The Toast Bag is honestly a work of art. In fact, you might have to convince your lucky recipient not to hang it on the wall instead of on their arm. (Though, all things considered, we’d totally support someone framing one of these. That’s just how beautiful they are!) The combination of fabrics and stitch patterns tell a never-ending story that changes each time you look at it. This one will keep a loved one in awe for years. For something a bit more casual but no less exquisite, Mina Perhonen’s Linen Bags are a splashy addition to the regular tote rotation.
If you’re after something to stash your craft in, you might be among the lucky few to snag one of Miesje Chafer’s bold Project Bags. Miesje has really thought of everything a crafter could need to create this fully lined sturdy canvas tote with a drawstring top to keep your tools and yarn securely in place even while you work. Plus, the bold retro patterns are so fun. This is perfect for the person in your life who marches to the beat of their own drum.
Wraps and Scarves
If you thought Sophie Digard’s brooches were out of this world, wait until you get wrapped up in one of her shawls. These are so incredibly special and just a little bit magic — everything a holiday gift should be. Whether you choose the Hydrangea Wrap, Nitro Merino Shawl, Rococo, Sea Life in Green, or Supernova, the result will be the same: a loved one who feels loved, warm, and glamorous all at once.
For something silky, you can’t go wrong with a Lété silk scarf, in whimsical fairy-tale Hedgehog or Bunnies prints. Nathalie’s characters are so vivid and lively. This will absolutely be like no other gift under the tree. Her satin cotton Bambi scarf is a great option for a slightly smaller square that can easily be brought along on any adventure in a coat pocket.
For all the tots on your list, we have so many wonderful handmade toys that will look picture-perfect peeking out of a stocking or perched on the branch of a tree. Sophie Home’s giraffe-shaped Baby Rattle is perfect for new additions to the family and her cat, dog, giraffe, rabbit and zebra Knitted Soft Toys will happily see your favourite kids through all the joys of childhood. For the kiddo who has graduated from baby rattles but not from giraffe love, the super cuddle-able Darling Baby Giraffe will be a super sweet gift. Sally Nencini’s knit toys Mr and Mrs Bunny and Lambswool Dollys are the perfect tea party guests you didn’t know you were missing! These sweet toys have so much personality and charm. We just love all these cute characters!
There’s no better gift than the perfect tool, and we have plenty to choose from. Our newest arrivals are from Degen, a brilliant brand by Brooklyn-based designer Lindsay Degen whose rosewood and pine Latch Tools and Acorn Needle Holder have a warmth to them you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else — and they’re useful to boot. If your lucky recipient likes warm wooden tools as much as we do, Loop’s range of wooden Needle Gauges are sure to be a hit. With additional features like a Swatch Gauge and a keychain hook on our Butterfly Gauge (to make sure it doesn’t flutter away) these are needle gauges like you’ve never seen before.
Of course, the holy grail of all haberdashery gifts is the interchangeable needle set. We have a few gorgeous options that will truly warm the heart of any knitter. The Lykke 5″ Circular Interchangeable Driftwood Set (also available in a 3.5″ Circular Needle Set and in a 10″ Straight Needle Set) are beautifully marled grey needles made of birch wood. With 12 needle tips, 5 cords, and all you need to connect them, plus a really lovely case to keep it all together, this set is just beautiful. We also have Small Circular Lace Needle sets from ChiaoGoo and Shorty Interchangeable Sets, which come with a very convenient pouch. ChiaoGoo’s Bamboo DPN Set is also very beautiful in its book-style case. It comes with a needle gauge and stitch markers as well!
Be sure to also check out our roundup of brilliant kits and other gifts from a few weeks ago, where you’ll find some of our very favourite warming wonders like Dee Hardwicke’s Dreaming of Butterflies Wrap Kit, Late Bloomer Mittens, and Harlequin Blanket Kits, plus more Uptown Shawl Kits and Roulade Scarf Kits on the way! And no matter who has you stumped, our One-Offs Section of one-of-a-kind and limited edition goodies or our Gifts Section are sure to provide the perfect inspiration! And at the end of the day, you can never go wrong with a Gift Card.
We are so honoured to be part of Selvedge Magazine’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration this year! The magazine selected 12 textile gurus to do a giveaway each of the first 12 days of December and we are truly in humbling company. The prize from Loop is a box of exquisite Enneste Naturally Dyed Threads, which we are so excited to share with the lucky winner. Head to Selvedge’s Instagram to see all the spectacular artists who are taking part, then sign up to Selvedge’s mailing list to be able to enter the draw for all 12 prizes!
The best gift of all is the gift of warmth. We feel so deeply for the many Ukrainians who have been displaced this year, especially as temperatures drop across Europe. We love this initiative by UK-based charity Hope and Aid Direct to bring the crafting community together in aid of people affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Sue Hoskinson, who organised the appeal with help from her neighbour Linda Driscoll, has released a simple pattern for knit or crocheted squares, which is included below. They are encouraging knitters and crocheters to team up to join those squares into warm blankets that will be sent where they are needed most.
This would be a wonderful family project over the holiday period. Even if you can’t make enough for a full blanket, you can mail your squares to Loop and we will stitch them together to send completed blankets to the charity. Hope and Aid Direct ask that the squares be knit in washable yarn. They recommend acrylic, but any superwash wool will do the trick as well. Double blankets are in especially high demand right now (see instructions below).
If you have a finished blanket, email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will let you know where to send it.
Squares can be sent to:
15 Camden Passage,
We’ll also be hosting a few stitch nights in the new year to make squares for this appeal. We’ll announce more details soon and hope you will be able to join!
Here is the pattern:
Barbara Robinson’s (Best Ever) Diagonally Knitted Squares.
This pattern makes a stable very reproducible square with a slightly patterned edge which is easier to join particularly if using crochet.
You will need:
Double knitting yarn (acrylic or superwash yarn is best for these, as it is easier to wash in the circumstances) 4mm (UK 8) needles.
Cast on two stitches.
Knit 1, then increase one stitch by knitting into front then back of 2nd stitch.
Continue increasing one stitch on every row like this until work measures 8” alongside the edge and you have approximately 60 stitches depending on tension.
Knit one row without increasing.
Then on the next row knit 1 and then begin to decrease by knitting 2nd and 3rd stitches together, then knit to end.
Continue until 1 stitch remaining. Cast off and work loose ends in.
To increase the production of blankets please consider getting together with your friends and making up single blankets
Squares can be sewn or crocheted together in strips and then strips joined.
Finish off with a border of crochet – two rows and a row of little loops or whatever takes your fancy.
Single Blankets require:
9 x 7 x 8 inch diagonally knitted squares.
Or, alternatively: 6 x 8 x 8 inch squares, with 6 rows of crochet around the edge makes the same adult single sized blanket.
Quick Crochet Method of joining/incorporating loose ends.
Take two squares wrong side together and crochet together along the top edge (hook through pull wool through) x 2 then hook through the two loops to the end.
Take two more squares and using the same continuous wool, do the same across and continue adding pairs until 7 pairs of squares are joined. (Like a washing line!) Break wool.
Go back to the beginning and similarly join one square to one of each of the pairs again with continuous wool.
Carry on adding rows until 9 rows altogether.
Then turning the blanket 90 degrees work each join across the other way.
Sue then usually crochets a border/frill and includes the loose ends in this.
If you would prefer to Crochet Squares, here are some basic instructions, but feel free to use your own pattern as long as squares end up as 8ins x 8ins.
Step by step process to make basic granny square. You’ll need DK yarn, preferably acrylic as it washes well. 5.5mm crochet hook.
Terms used: ch= chain, dc= double crochet, sl st= slip stitch. One cluster = 3 double crochets.
Round 1 make a slip knot. Ch 4. Join to the first ch with a sl st to make a circle/loop (or alternately make a magic loop).
Ch 2, 2dc into the loop (this forms the first cluster), ch 2, * 3dc, ch2* three times. Join with a slip stitch to the starting ch2. This completes the round and forms a square shape with 4 clusters.
Round 2: ch2, 2dc, ch2, 3dc into the ch 2 space below from round 1, ch1 *3dc, ch2, 3dc, ch1 into next ch2 space* three times.
Join with a slip stitch to the starting ch2. This completes the round and forms a square shape again with 8 clusters.
Round 3: ch2, 2dc, ch into the ch 1 space below from round 2, ch1, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space, ch1 *3dc into the ch1 space below, (3dc, ch2, 3dc) into next ch2 space below , ch1* three times
Join with a slip stitch to the starting ch2. This completes the round and forms a square shape again with 12 clusters. Continue until square measures 8ins along edge.
We look forward to seeing you throughout the holiday season. Be sure to check our Visit Us page for full information on our holiday opening hours and last posting dates!
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