Day 12 – Maytham Shawl & Gift Ideas

“Let me light my lamp”, says the star, “And never debate if it will help to remove the darkness.” ~  Rabindranath Tagore

Maytham Shawl – Helen Stewart Shawl Society

Knitting is the best way I have found to light my lamp. To that end, I thought I’d share a few small gift ideas for knitters, should you be lucky enough to know one. Ha.

  • A wonder ball, or wunderknolle (translates as wonderful tuber). * Choose a number of small items to wrap inside a wound ball of any yarn and you have a fun gift for any knitter. If you’re unsure what yarn they want, you might request to “borrow” a skein they intend to use. Or buy some yarn you like, and they may just possibly knit you up something with it in gratitude. If the mood strikes. Some knitters can be moody….
  • Knitting Notions – Anyone can use or give away if they already have some in a kit. I’m linking Etsy here because I support buying from independent makers.
  • Point Protectors – Because every point needs protection. Not really. They just keep stitches from falling off needles. I have never had them and can attest to the pain of dropping an entire row of stitches when digging around my backpack.
  • Katrinkles – I love everything on this site. But what I find especially helpful and don’t have yet are portable instructions in the Mix and Match Mini Tools.
  • Stitch Markers – In knitting, there are repeated instruction “codes” like M1L, M1R  across many patterns that seem more difficult than others to memorize, and it saves a ton of time to have a tool that reminds you as you knit.
  • Patterns – Ask a knitter for their user name on Ravelry (most not all knitters have an account on the “Facebook of knitting”), and you can usually find patterns they have placed in their queue to make someday. It’s possible for a third party (gifter) to purchase and download a pattern for them.
  • Books and Collections – If you want to avoid Amazon (I try but mostly fail), some great sources for sale books are LYS (your Local Yarn Store),,, directly from favorite designers like Kate Davies Designs, Ysolda Ltd, magazine collection books like Making Magazine, PomPom Quarterly, By Hand.
  • Project Bags – If you are a poly-knitter like me, then you have multiple projects going on always, and may need help organizing them in a clean, portable, efficient way. I’ve always used free totes and plastic bags from various sources but it’s ideal to have something you can zip up and carry anywhere.

*This German tradition was introduced to me on my 11th birthday by my German-born grandmother.  I’m unsure of how far back this tradition goes, but I was able to find this clipping below. So if you carry it on, you can time travel too! (I looked up court-plaster; apparently it is fabric with adhesive on one side, so a Band-Aid precursor. Also note, the word midget is derogatory in today’s parlance and I don’t recommend referring to children as such).

A “Wonder Ball” for Young and Old Knitters: 
The idea comes from Germany, but it “takes” in every locality. Especially is it an inspiration to the little folks to keep the needles clicking, knowing the surprises will appear as the yarn unwinds itself. My little girl had one given her by a friend who asked her to knit a pair of reins to send to the Children’s Hospital. She also asked the seven-year-old midget to keep a list of the presents and write a letter about them to send with the reins. The first thing Daisy found was a Christmas poem.

This she learned and recited Christmas morning. Then she found a basket, a string of beads, a ring, a new ten cent piece, a package of court-plaster, a pair of boots for her doll…a glove-buttoner, a thimble, and a tiny book of verses….So the Wonder Ball taught the little maiden industry, patience, perseverance, to restrain curiosity, and the pleasure of making some other child happy. — Letter to the Editor, Good Housekeeping, 1889