Handmade gift ideas guaranteed to please

Cleveland Heights needlepoint ornament at Wool & Willow. Photo by Nan Webb.

What could be better at this busy time of year than checking off items on your gift list while reducing your stress level at the same time? Handmade gifts can do just that. Small repetitive motions, such as those required for knitting or needlepointing, actually have meditative qualities that may reduce heart rate.

Fortunately, folks in the Heights have three nearby independent boutiques that are bursting with ideas for handmade gift giving—Wool and Willow, Fine Points and Bolt & Spool can help you hand craft a gift that is sure to please the recipient or even become a treasured heirloom.
While it may be too late to start knitting a sweater, there are smaller items available at each shop that are ideal for last minute creation.

Ann Forquer, owner of Wool and Willow Needlepoint at Fairmount Taylor, assures wary crafters that “this is not your grandmother’s needlepoint.” The walls drip with lusciously colored skeins of threads and yarns and hundreds of painted canvases ready to be worked.

Key fobs, dog collars, tree ornaments, wallets and luggage tags are ideal for the last-minute crafter. Moreover, all of these items can be custom-designed with a name or special message. Wool and Willow also has a new line of ornaments featuring Cleveland landmarks—the perfect memento for someone who has moved away.

Not sure how to get started? The staff will be happy to show you the basics when you purchase a canvas from them. They also offer kits, classes and gift certificates if you’d like to help someone else get started with needlepoint.

Fine Points, a knitting shop in the Larchmere antiques district, is also luscious with color. Wool, cotton, cashmere and angora yarns, crammed into tidy little cubbies, beg to be touched. The shop is replete with samples of trendy hats, wrist warmers and chunky scarves. According to owner Liz Tekus, there are lots of hat and scarf kits that will take a novice knitter only a few days to a week to complete. Prices for kits range from $14–$50 for scarf and hat kits, which include yarn and instructions.

Bolt & Spool is located just a few minutes north in historic Little Italy. This new shop sells fabrics, unique sewing patterns and ribbons of all types. Japanese linens and Indian silks highlight this store’s offerings, along with sewing patterns from France, Spain and Japan. In addition, Bolt & Spool also has the Clever Charlotte line of designer children’s patterns and beautifully stitched samples created by two extraordinary Cleveland Heights sewers.

While it’s still possible to sew a quick dress or skirt for a holiday party, there are plenty of items at Bolt & Spool perfect for gift giving. “Aprons make lovely hostess gifts and they’re easy to make,” said Nan Webb, the shop’s owner. She also suggests other quickly sewn gifts, such as iPad covers and wristlet purses. Perennial favorites include Wool Pets felting kits, which begin at $20 and with a little help can be made by someone as young as 10.

One of the best gifts you can give is the gift of time spent together by giving a gift certificate for a needlepoint, knitting or sewing class for you and a friend or family member.  

Wool & Willow Needlepoint, 3475 Fairmount Boulevard, Tel. 216-791-7952. www.woolandwillow.com
Fine Points Inc., 12620 Larchmere Boulevard.  Tel. 216-229-6644. www.finepoints.com
Murray Hill Bolt & Spool, 2026 Murray Hill Road. Tel. 216-229-2220. www.boltandspool.com

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.30.2012