Hand knit gifts can be tricky things to give to people. I'm very picky about who I knit things for. I've found that everybody wants something, but after all the time and effort and money that you put into a thoughtful gift, it isn't always appreciated. I worry about giving hand knit gifts to fellow knitters because I still feel like such a beginner that I'm afraid they'll judge my work. That's not to say that I haven't given knit gifts to knitters, just that it's even rarer than non-knitters. I don't know why though, since I don't judge other people's knitting in such a way. Actually it usually makes my simplistic style feel a bit crude and down right elementary more often then superior. Especially since I love to see beginners' works just as much as experts'.
When you give a knit gift to a knitter and you tell them the fibers used and give them general care instructions you can usually assume they'll treat your hard work with respect. Giving knits to non-knitters though, can be quite tricky. It's always a risky endeavor Will they understand how much time and thought went into the project? Will they know that even small projects hold substantial emotional investment? (If it's for someone of the opposite (or same - whatever floats your boat) gender, will they read too much or not enough into it?) Will they appreciate all the effort put into it? Will they like it? Will they take care of it?
Sometimes it's easier to buy them a DVD of their favorite movie or TV show or a box of chocolates and call it a day. Every once in a while though it can be worth it to knit some thing for a special friend. By special I mean that the answers to all the questions above will be positive (....or they pay your bills and you want them to know you appreciate it).
So you've taken the plunge and hand crafted a masterpiece that you want to give to someone as a gift. Well now what? How do you present it to them in a way that helps showcase all the time and thoughtfulness that you put into it? How do you tell them how to take care of it? You put a tag on it that lets the person know you knit it by hand - you didn't just pick it up in a store and it didn't have a tag. Include what the object is made of and how they should take care of it. Include information about the knitting process if you want. I like to let them know so of the thought process I had when making it. If it's made of bamboo because you know they're allergic to wool, you made sure it was an easily washable material, you picked a color that reminded you of them, you remembered they needed a new hat, etc., then tell them that. You don't have to go into great detail, just give them enough to help them appreciate the value of your gift.
Find tags you like or make your own. These are available for free download from Knit Picks. I found some lovely designs on Etsy in various formats. Pinterest is also great for ideas. Do a web search. Look around. Ask other knitters what they do. Find out what you like in a tag and what you don't. Decide if you'd rather design your own, print a pre-made design, or buy pre-made tags. I like to print out my own tags on brown or grey cardstock. If you'd rather use brown paper bags, here's a tutorial on how to print labels yourself.
You can find a printable pdf of my knitting tags (seen in pictures throughout this post) here. If you'd rather use them as a jumping off point, here's the link for a downloadable and editable version of the tags. There's a spot at the bottom of the tags for care instructions where you can write the instructions in word form or you can find blank care symbols and paste them on your tags. I found blank clothing care symbols here in image form. They're not my creations so I'm not going to pretend they are. You can download them and add them yourself. If you choose to do it that way, download the editable version of the tags, paste the image into the document, size it and copy it into all four tags before printing. Remember to save it so you only have to do it once and will be able to re-use the same tags over and over.
|Purple hat from above wrapped with a sticker|
These tags are pretty basic. They've got spots for the recipient's name, yarn fiber content, and care instructions. I like to write my little note on the back of the tag. If I know I'm not going to be easily accessible to the person I'm giving something to, I include a generous amount of scrap yarn and if needed a spare button. That way if whatever it is has something happen to it, the owner is able to mend it themselves. Just be sure to write the note on the back of the card before you wrap the yarn around it unless you want to frustrate yourself. All that's left after the tag is all written out and pinned to the knitting is to package it up and give it to them.
If I'm seeing them in person, I wrap it in tissue paper and stick a sticker on it. These are my favorite, but you can use different ones or make your own. I found them on Pinterest, followed the links to this blog post, and printed out a whole sheet for myself. I cut them all out and ran them through a sticker maker machine (like this small one or this larger one). I still have a handful left from my last batch of gifts at Christmas. A whole sheet lasts a while. Then I'll wrap it a second time in wrapping paper or stick it in a gift bag, put a normal gift tag on it and call it a day.
If I'm not seeing the giftee in person, then it's even less work. I stick the written out tag on the gift and shove the whole mess in a plastic freezer bag. Press all the air out of it and shove that in a box or envelope with the address for the person before hoping off to the post office to mail it out to them. I suppose I could put it in tissue paper and put a sticker on it, but I'm more worried that it'll get wet or some kind of bug will get in the box or whatever. Hence the plastic bag. I'm a bit paranoid when I'm shipping things. (Actually I'm worse when I'm packing to travel but that's a whole different story.)
I might throw in a travel pack or small bottle of wool wash if I was worried about something accidentally felting or that the recipient might not have any, along with anything else I might have bought to go with the gift (shawl pin, cd, that DVD I bought them just in case I didn't finish on time, or whatever).