The answer: presentation. Quite simply, presentation
is essential to any gifting experience.
I missed the process of wrapping the box,
smoothing and folding the tissue paper and
tying a big, beautiful bow. I never saw
the anticipation on my mother's face, heard
the satisfying tear of the paper, nor witnessed
the slow and measured opening of the box.
With that cautionary
tale in mind, I have since been wrapping
special gifts with extra-special care. Here
are a few tips and tricks from the simple
to the complicated.
It's a race to the
finish line. The birthday party is in half
an hour. That's 30 minutes. Deep breath.
Time is such a silly existential notion.
Repeat this thought
over and over. You've almost finished the
sweater you've been laboring over for months
-- in fact, you are 98 per cent finished.
You just need time to join the arm seams.
And sew in a few loose bits. And do a quick
In this instance,
I defer to Joelle Hoverson's Last-Minute
Knitted Gifts. Hoverson has dedicated
a complete chapter on the art of gift-wrapping.
From tasseled I-cords to crochet chains
to knitted bags, Hoverson has a range of
sweet and simple projects. Among Hoverson's
quick and easy suggestions: wrap your gifts
in tissue paper and use remnant pieces of
yarn from the project in place of ribbon.
Simple, tidy, understated, and truly pretty
as a picture.
a bit more time, you can make a few
fluffy pom-poms or tassels to embellish
your tissue-paper wrapped gift.
and retro, these trimmings can later
be used as bookmarks, cat toys or
a moment, the scarf. Straight edges
span forward into a long, pleasing,
geometrical rectangle. Decorative fringes
punctuate each end. Scarves are among
the most functional and practical of
accessories. But sometimes, a scarf
can be more than just a scarf.
Make the gift
of your scarf an essential part of
the presentation itself - use it as
an alternative to wrapping paper.
This works best if the scarf has been
knitted from laceweight yarn. Chunkier
yarns are okay too but they tend to
make the package bulky -- see yarn-o-licious
scarf loosely around a companion gift
-- a small, boxed bracelet or a precious
novella - end over end.
Once you reach
the middle of the scarf, fold it diagonally
to change direction. Use a contrasting
piece of yarn to tie the bundle together.
You have sixteen
gorgeous scarves to give away as holiday
presents. Some are brightly colored
others are gracefully muted. But which
scarf should you give to your cousin,
aunt, uncle, best friend, or sister-in-law?
Buy a roll
of clear cellophane and roll forth
a generous square. Roll the scarf
in the cellophane, leaving room at
the ends to cinch and tie with a curled
ribbon. When you're done it will look
like a yummy, giant bonbon. Delicious!
Let your lucky gift-giving recipients
choose which scarf they fancy.
If you prefer
a bit of mystery but like the look,
buy tinted cellophane that hides a
bit of the texture and color of your
knitted garment, or wrap the item
first in translucent tissue paper
and then finish up with cellophane.
You've selected the
just-right card and written some terribly
clever sentiments inside. Your felted purse
is perfect and fuzzy and tucked inside a
beautifully-wrapped box. But, it's missing
a little special something.
could make flowers out of any material and
some floral wire. Nylon was her specialty.
It sounds hideous, but they were stunning.
I prefer using fluffy mohair to fashion
my petals. Wrap a length of mohair around
your hand five or six times at cut the end.
Fold a piece of floral wire in half. Take
a dry felted ball in a different color and
push the ball up the floral wire to the
folded half. Place the circle of mohair
in the fold of the wire with the felted
ball in the center. Twist the wire in place
and fan out the mohair in a circle. Like
the tassels and the pom-poms, these can
be used as bookmarks. Or, if you attach
a pin to the back and trim the stem, they
can be worn as broaches.
can also nicely dress up a humdrum box.
You've wrapped up
a darling sweater but your fingers are itching
to keep on knitting. Your heart leaps with
ideas and you optimistically think, "Why
not start a big shiny new project to supplement
your already wonderful gift?" Ahh the
devil on your shoulder is always egging
you on to do more. But you have time restrictions
not to mention budget realities.
If you've read
Hoverson's Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
or Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting,
you've no doubt knitted up many mini sweaters.
Who can resist? The instant gratification
is thrilling. If you have some spare time
and spare ends in your stash, knit up a
laundry line of clothes. Lay flat two popsicle
sticks or small double pointed needles at
either side of the box and run a thick piece
of yarn between them to form the line (glue
or tape these down as you see fit). Use
mini-clothes pins to hang your knitted goods.
Embroider a simple motif - a flower, a snowflake
or an initial - on the sweater. Knit up
a pair of jeans and a pretty mini-skirt
to add to the line. For a child's gift,
use finger puppets as an embellishment.
The recipient can later add the line to
a shadow box or hang them from a bulletin
board as decoration.
You laugh in the face
of deadlines. You've had that baby blanket
ready for months. And the shower is still
a month away! What will you do with all of
your spare time? I bow humbly and reverently
Knit up a bag to
present your gift in. Felt a knapsack, a
carrier bag, or a diaper bag and tuck your
present inside. Monogram the recipient's
initials on the outside. Be kind to the
other shower guests whose jaws will hit
the floor at your artful expertise.
If time permits,
include a laundry tag with detailed instructions.
Use a shipping tag or a piece of cardstock.
It's also a thoughtful
idea to include a few pieces of yarn wound
around a card for mending. Throw in some
cedar blocks to preserve the garment.
Could there be anything
better than receiving a bouquet of yarn?
Answer: No. If the lucky recipient of your
gift-giving goodness is a knitter, place
a few different skeins of yarn in a tall
vase. Throw in a few needles for height
and stability and wrap the mouth of the
vase with some pretty fabric ribbon.
idea can be used in several different ways.
Buy a pretty planting pot and shape a skein
within to create a yarn-shaped plant. Fill
a fruit bowl with different balls of yarn.
Baskets weren't only meant to be filled
with jams and cookies and boxes of tea.
Pack a large basket with different yarns,
stitch markers, patterns and needles.
columnist Ann Landers always offered wonderful
passive-aggressive gems like this: Print
out this article and highlight this section.
Tape it to the fridge. Point friends and
family to the highlighted article and suggest
they read the really interesting last section
titled The Ultimate Gift.
you receive an ever-original and considerate
gift, be sure to hand the generous
giver an oversized key to the city
and a carefully written haiku in thanks
for being so very thoughtful.