Do you have a present shelf? The spot in the closet dedicated to last minute hostess gifts, birthday presents and things you just can’t justify giving yourself so you buy it to give to others? At my house, the present shelf materialized while living in Italy. During visits to America, I would stock up on English language books and goodies for the girls to give at birthday parties. We’ve grown out of that tradition, but the present shelf continues. Contents range from EVOO available at Giardini di Sole, textiles gathered during travels and of course, hand knitted items.

Hand knitted items on the present shelf headed out to support Jules’ Struck Girl Scout Gold Star Project in October, so the shelf is quite bare. Knit scarves are an ideal present shelf item. With so many knitters obsessed with scarves and shawls and with me hanging out and nurturing knitters eight hours a week, it’s difficult not to catch scarfitis. Mindless scarves, technique building scarves, spring scarves, winter scarves, scarves to layer… you get the picture.

So how will I restock the present shelf?

Alanna Nelson Boston Knits Nancy Marchant design Icicle

Icicle by Nancy Marchant

Icicle by Nancy Marchant gives me a chance to begin playing with her two color brioche knitting book and creating a hopefully gender neutral scarf. I picked up some great yarn at Circle of Stitches after visiting the PEM Native Fashion Now exhibit. I chose a deep plum to combine with gold, but have yet to cast on.

Knitting Fresh Brioche: Creating Two Color Twists and Turns uses different vocabulary and could definitely fill my winter with opportunities to swatch. Having received this book for Christmas, I’ll begin with one color swatches, enjoying the process and eventually end up with

BTW, the thought provoking, tactile tempting exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum features great curation and interesting textiles.  Highlighting how heritage and global mish mash struggle in a world with boundaries, borders and limitations left me contemplating perspectives of native designers. Hmm… are there any audio books on native american cultural expression in the 21st Century so I could listen as I knit?


Alanna Nelson Boston knits Bristol Ivy designs

Sallah by Bristol Ivy

A survey of my stash yields plenty of options for sock weight yarn scarves. Sallah by Bristol Ivy could be the right choice for many of these skeins.  One of the Sit and Knit knitters has this on the needles, so I’ve been living it vicariously through her for the past couple of months. No casting on yet… I’ve still got a zick zack scarf on my needles, so in the mindless category, I’m probably set for a while.


Fabulous wind: we’re keeping up with the tug! @bostonsailingcenter #knitstagram #ravelry #zickzackscarf

A photo posted by Alanna Nelson (@tactiletravels) on

The present shelf doesn’t need to be restocked overnight.