As is now traditional here's my gift guide for spinners this year. If you have loved ones who are always a bit uncertain about what to buy, point them in this direction!
Some of these recommendations are repeats from previous years... there will always be new people reading this, and if my family are anything to go by, you sometimes need to ask for something a few times for it to sink in that this is really, really what you want!
I'm going to start off with books, books are such a great present, if you can, order via your local independent bookshop, if you can't then use bookshop.org, or a company like Wordery or Blackwells (they're often price matched to Amazon anyway, and have delivery times that are just as quick).
The Spinners Book of Yarn Design- A modern classic, filled with spinning essentials in addition to a complete reference on how to make just about every type of fancy yarn you can possible imagine.
Yarnitecture- A great book covering how to do just about everything in a really down to earth way.
The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook- An encyclopaedia of so many sheep breeds, worth having even if you only spin per-prepared fibre.
If dyeing and gardening is on the cards then this gift pack from Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft is delightful containing seeds, and a copy of Ethel Mairets book.
Or if synthetic dyes, and more instant gratification are preferred then D&T Crafts have some great kits.
What about useful tools and devices....
I would be remiss in not mentioning my own WPI tool, even things like oil bottles are something that might seem like an odd gift, but are very much needed by most spinners!
This is my favourite lazy kate, it's not cheap, but when I take it to workshops everyone falls in love with the simple elegance of how it works, ad how much easier plying becomes. Or your spinner may like a travel sized option, this one from Ashford seems pretty popular when I go out teaching.
On last nights video call with The Fellowship of Yarn, when we talked all things accessories, this tool came up as something to use to wind a plying bracelet. I find my hand works well, but I know plenty of people who use tools like this and find them really useful. This device for holding skeins so you can knit straight from them looks like a really clever thing (any of my relatives reading this, one in Magenta please).
Another thing that came up were breakdown bobbins, and how useful we found them, particularly if storage space is tight. I've recommended Akerworks ones for years, and they're still the Rolls Royce option, but there is now a UK based shop printing them. If you're reading this as a non-spinner double check the wheel manufacturer, model, and flyer type before ordering. These are also made to order, so don't leave it too long.
Beyond Measure is a shop I often turn to when I need a gift for a creative person. Grace stocks a shop full of beautiful, well made tools. Anyone who does anything with textiles will appreciate a pair of sharp well made scissors, you can't go wrong with something from this selection.
I'm friends and acquaintances with lots of small business owners, and the one common theme from most of them is how tough this year has been. 2020 was hard, but with so much time at home, and so little else to do lots of people were supporting indie shops, who were managing to adapt quicker than the big brands. This year has been just as challenging, even those of us who have manage to pay the IOSS EU VAT still spent over half the year with dramatically reduced orders from EU customers until that system went live, and for most of us, orders have never recovered back to what they were previously. Domestically it's been a horrible balancing act of deciding what events to commit to, and trying to predict the future.
In short, this has been a tough year to be a small business. If you can, try and buy local and or indie, it's one little thing, but to the business you buy from it means the world.