Skip to content

American Gift Giving + Giveaway!

UPDATE 11/7/14: Congratulations to winners Gillian and Shing! I have contacted you via email, so check your inbox!


Beth Moriarty, the brains behind Planet Purl, has interviewed me for her podcast so many times I am the “crowned queen of the Party Line.” I take my reign seriously, so my first order of business is to turn the tables on Beth and interview HER about her new book, American Gift Giving!

AGK-book-coverBeth says, “Knitters are some of the nicest people on the planet, no doubt due to the soothing nature of knitting. They are also a generous lot, gifting loved ones with hand knit gifts, with love worked into every stitch.  Thirteen American designers celebrate their favorite places with small projects perfect for gifting and  inspired by the beauty of  America — from the NY to Key West to Alaska and points in between.  I’ve also included five yummy regional recipes as well as travelogues for an armchair tour of some of my favorite places. Happy knitting, traveling and cooking!”

Beth was kind enough to sit down with me, answer a few questions and generously offer up a book giveaway!

Tanis Gray (TG): What inspired you to make this book?

Beth Moriarty (BM): When I travel, I’m always seeing building details, carpet and drapery fabrics, artwork, and colors where I think “Oh, that would make a beautiful ….” All three of my books are about finding inspiration in your favorite places. Gift knitting is something really special, though, in that it’s an opportunity to make a small project and share that inspiration with someone else.


Silver Screen Sachets

TG: Do you have a favorite type of gift knitting?

BM: I love to make things for the house (pillows, throws, kitchen sets) if I know the person really well and have seen their home. It’s something they’ll see/use every day. Otherwise, it’s usually hats or scarves/cowls/mitts or if they are up the hierarchy of gift-giving, a matching set. For husband, son and daughter-in-law, I let them pick sweater designs and colors since I’ll need to measure and fit and they don’t care if it’s surprise.

TG: Do you personally give and receive a lot of hand knits?

BM: I give them but have never gotten one. And yes, that’s really really sad. On the years I haven’t handmade holiday gifts, I get “you didn’t knit this year?” from the recipients.

TG: Do you have a favorite project in this book?

BM: Oh gosh, that’s tough. I am looking forward to getting a couple back after the trunk shows to use for myself. The Mendenhall Draft Stopper will be perfect for the front door of my drafty cabin and was photographed there. The Mondrian Pillow Cover is photographed on a living room chair in my home in Florida and will look great there. And the shaping on the Red Riding Hood with it face-framing “fur” sits so nicely, everyone who has tried it on wants to steal it, but it’s mine!


Mendenhall Draft Stopper

TG: Whom is this book aimed towards?

BM: There are projects for less experienced knitters and those ready to try something new. The great thing about small projects is that the investment in time and money is pretty small. For a new technique or skill, they are a nice introduction. Like the Mondrian Pillow Cover — it’s intarsia but in large straight blocks. Or the Silver Screen Sachets — small squares of simple lace, easy repeat beading, and small intarsia design.

TG: What advice do you have for people about to start their first project or knitters looking to break free from the plain old scarf?

BM: Graduate from squares/rectangles to tubes. It will open up a whole new world. There are easy ways to knit in the round. I have videos on YouTube for doing it with one circular needle for larger circumference and 2 circular needles for smaller circumference. Tubes are great. Open on both ends it can be a cowl, arm warmers or leg warmers. Drawstring at the top end and it’s a hat. Drawstring at the top and stitched closed on the bottom and it’s a bag. A small bag can be a soap holder, a large one a purse or project bag. It’s no more work (and maybe less) than a rectangle and so versatile.

TG: Any advice for people looking to start designing their own knits?

BM: Design things you like. There are computer programs that can help with the math if you’re designing garments. And a good technical editor is an absolute must if you plan to sell or publish your patterns.


Mondrian Pillow Cover

TG: What is your favorite part of the country?

BM: My freshman year at college in Mississippi definitely converted me to a Southern girl. My vacation cabin the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina is my favorite place in the country. So far!

TG: Have you finished your holiday knitting yet (be honest!)?

BM: Almost. But I started on Christmas day last year (don’t mock me). I still have ends to weave and some seams to sew, but otherwise done.

TG: What makes a hand knit gift so very special?

BM: Anyone worthy of a handknit gift understands that the gift is really of your time and love. My nieces have told me that when they wrap a handknit scarf around their necks, they feel my love. One of my sisters and one of my nieces told me that when they’re sick, they like to wrap up in one of my afghans. They feel snuggled and loved. A gift card to Starbucks can’t do that!


Red Riding Hood


Thanks, Beth! And now for the exciting part! Beth has been kind enough to giveaway not one, but TWO copies of her new book!

Answer this question in the comment section to be entered to win (US residents only, please):

What do you want for the holidays this year?

A winner will be chosen at random on Friday, November 7th.

46 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kris martzall #

    What a lovely book. Thanks for opportunity to acquire one!

    November 5, 2014
  2. Savannagal #

    More time. I’d love to have more time. I feel like all I do is work, work, work and I can’t keep up.

    November 5, 2014
  3. Jennifer Johnson #

    This was a wonderful interview. What I would like for the holidays is nothing tangible but to be able along with the 28 children who are part of the steel drum band group CAFE, to whom I teach knitting to be able to deliver the 100 scarves that we are knitting to the homeless shelter at United Communities in Maryland. We are working on the finished products and the process ( smile)



    November 5, 2014
  4. I would love to be surrounded by my entire family to share this wonderful time of the year.

    November 5, 2014
  5. hawknitr13 #

    Good health, good weather & good relationships!!!

    November 5, 2014
  6. carrotmusic #

    For my two west coast college student sons to come home (to Massachusetts), so I can give them presents! My daughters are still local, but those boys just seem to want to roam!

    November 5, 2014
  7. What do I want? I always love yarn especially luxury fibers. I’m hoping for a rocking chair, too.

    November 5, 2014
  8. A rocking chair.

    November 5, 2014
  9. Diana Theisen #

    Beth’s American Gift Knitting would be a great gift for me.

    November 5, 2014
  10. Denise Gustafson #

    I’d like a cancer free checkup for my dad for Christmas.

    November 5, 2014
  11. I want to spread the joy and pragmaticality of knitting world wide. Thank you both for the insightful interview.

    November 5, 2014
  12. helen king #

    I would love for our entire family to be able to get together. It is hard for that to happen as they are scattered fromthe west to the east coast.

    November 5, 2014
  13. Patty Warwick #

    Time off work so I have more time to knit 🙂

    November 5, 2014
  14. petoskeystone #

    A gift certificate to Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts would be excellent.

    November 5, 2014
  15. Cheryl Clemons #

    Yarn and more yarn so I can make items for my family and friends

    November 5, 2014
  16. I would love gift certificates to my LYS and certain key online yarn retailers. Yay for more yarn! Ravid- maashrink

    November 5, 2014
  17. Ayu #

    I would love to receive more knitting pattern books or subscriptions to knitting magazines for the holidays. I know my family hates to get me gift cards even though I insist a gift card to a yarn shop would mean wonders for me.

    November 5, 2014
  18. Deborah Gajee #

    One week with nothing to do but knit and read.

    November 5, 2014
  19. jeanniez2014 #

    Lots of yarn 🙂

    November 5, 2014
  20. A gift certificate! After all my years of knitting and crocheting,,, and now with weaving and spinning thrown into the mix…. I have never, ever, ever gotten a gift certificate either from a local yarn shop or online retailer from anyone in my family. Even tho I’ve told them its the best gift they can get for me! Here’s to hoping for this year!

    November 5, 2014
  21. jeanniez2014 #

    More yarn 🙂

    November 5, 2014
  22. Susan Rostand #

    a spinning wheel…..hint, hint Santa 🙂

    November 5, 2014
  23. More than anything else, I want my WonderMan to be healthy again. After that, everything else is not nearly as important. However, if someone wants to tuck something into my stocking, I would love a set of nickel plated interchangeable needles!

    November 5, 2014
  24. What I would love most of all would be to stay home and just have a quiet Christmas with my immediate family. Either that some time off to get some things done at home.

    November 5, 2014
  25. hotknitter #

    Besides the usual good health and family, how about some decadent vicuna!

    November 5, 2014
  26. Shing #

    Would love a truly white Christmas, logs burning in the wood stove, quiet time with the fam, knitting up a storm and an Xmas goose!!!

    November 5, 2014
  27. Sue hansen #

    Beautiful interview!

    November 5, 2014
  28. Cynthia Quinn #

    In the words of Sandra Bullock in “Miss Congeniality”, “World Peace”! In lieu of that, how about family, friends, fresh-baked cookies, a steaming skim latte, a fire in the fireplace and some good old-fashioned sappy Holiday Movies? Sounds like heaven to me!

    November 5, 2014
  29. Cynthia Quinn #

    Oops! Left out the knitting project on my lap – maybe I can get a few finished!

    November 5, 2014
  30. gussek #

    Rock’s beading loom and some pretty yarn. Thanks

    November 5, 2014
  31. I would love a gift cert to my LYS and to visit family for the holidays!

    November 5, 2014
  32. Debbie S #

    I Want the ChiaoGoo Twist interchangeable needles set. Love those needles!

    November 5, 2014
  33. Lori #

    Snow and sock blockers, please!

    November 5, 2014
  34. I would love a new yarn swift as my antique one is starting to fail. Thank you so much Tanis!

    November 5, 2014
  35. Lee #

    I would love to have more time to enjoy our family being together again. Both of my kids have been away at college this year! Thanks for the lovely giveaway!

    November 5, 2014
  36. Tish #

    I would love a nice circular needle set.

    November 5, 2014
  37. Anita palmer #

    Stile to knit with friends without work limiting my time!

    November 5, 2014
  38. Sue #

    I would love to have my family all together this year to make some wonderful holiday memories! I think it is going to happen this year! Yeah! And the materialistic side of me would love a loom! 🙂 Thanks Tanis! Loved reading this interview and thanks for the chance to win!

    November 5, 2014
  39. Connie Hendricks #

    I have my eye on two things! I think my cat, MillieSasha may come thru with the new special set of Hyia Hyia needles set & my husband knows I have my eye on the Lantern Moon 5 tier basket storage stand. Of course I do most of the shopping. Thanks for the special offer, I need some fresh knit gift ideas.

    November 5, 2014
  40. Gillian Halicki #

    I really enjoyed the interview! My wish for Christmas is for my Army son and his co-worker soldiers to make it back from deployment overseas safe and sound. It will be his first, and I can’t help worrying about him despite going through 3 deployments with my older son!

    Thank you for this chance to win the book.

    November 5, 2014
  41. Gillian Halicki #

    My wish is for my Army son and his brigade to make it back from deployment overseas safe and sound. It will be his first, and I can’t help worrying about him despite going through 3 with my older son…Gillian

    November 5, 2014
  42. Ellen Gaynor #

    I would love for the 1920 English Cottage we’re restoring to be done by Christmas so we can have our family party here.

    November 5, 2014
  43. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I would love for all my family to be able to spend Christmas all together.

    November 6, 2014
  44. Robin D #

    I would love a non temporary job for my son. And some soft warm yarn 😉

    November 6, 2014
  45. I am hoping to get a new sewing machine this year.

    November 6, 2014
  46. I also like to bead and make jewelry, and would love a small kiln for metal clay and enameling.

    November 6, 2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: