What to get the MYOGer for Christmas

For the last two years, Christmas and my birthday (only five days shy of Christmas) rolling around creates a daunting problem for me. My family and friends ask for suggestions of things that I would like to have as gifts, but since I began making my own gear, my list has gotten far shorter  than they like. I can find them oh so many different things I want, but the phrase “I would rather make it myself though” always follows my description of the item. Many times, I can’t tell them what I need for that project, or even when I would start that project because of a hectic school schedule. With that in mind, I thought it would be rather fitting to share my MYOG Christmas list. For me, it is still not about receiving a thing so much as receiving what I feel is most important for this pastime. Hopefully this will help others trying to find gift ideas for whatever the occasion for the MYOGer in their life.

1.  Time

No project can be completed without this material. Throughout most of the year, I find my joy of making gear conflicting with everything else life throws at me. I normally design gear and make plans mentally while I walk from class to class or go about doing chores around the house, and then feverishly write them down when I arrive at class so I don’t forget. But executing these plans takes time, and so I try to plan to make my gear during school breaks and free weekends. These times also coincide with holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, where family time is important. This year for Christmas, a possible gift for the MYOGer in your life may just be permission to slip away for a bit and do some work while he has the opportunity. Now, how to put a bow on that, I’m not sure.

2. Knowledge

Another fantastic gift idea for an MYOGer is a little bit of good, old-fashioned know-how. This is what I am hoping to give as a gift to anyone willing to read my blog during the Spring. My girlfriend, Anna, has far more experience sewing than me, and has found a fantastic way to wrap this gift up. During the break, she will be teaching me about making clothing patterns, which I find far more intimidating than most gear with the curves and sizing necessary. She has purchased me a roll of very light (150g/m) merino wool, and we will be making our own version of the BPL Beartooth hoodie. This is a very exciting project for me, and I am hoping to be able to make a pattern for it that I can share with everyone. She is giving me  time, opportunity, knowledge, and the chance to spend some more time with her, all in one gift. For those out there that don’t have this kind of experience, other ideas could be a subscription to BPL, which provides excellent state of the market reports and MYOG guides to learn from, patterns, or maybe even a class on sewing at a local craft store.

3. Organization

I find it hard to believe that I am the only one with organizational problems in the MYOG community. I’m moving back to South Carolina for the spring, and the one thing that I want to create for myself there is a new way to organize this passion of mine. I’m thinking it will end up being a gift to myself by selling some gear. What I imagine is a system to neatly hold my patterns, materials, notions, design notes and necessary tools without having to lose my organization the moment I start on my next project (which is my current problem). I think it may be a collection of things such as small plastic drawers, hanging organizers and large plastic boxes, but I have not decided on anything just yet. There will absolutely be a post on what I create when finished. What you need may just depend on the amount of space you have and how much you have to organize.

4. Support

This one may be just on my list, but a little support can go a long way. Often times, I find myself just a bit distracted or overwhelmed by a project, and with a little support from a friend or my girlfriend, I am back on track in no time at all. It is rare that making gear be particularly easy, and sometimes I find the simplest things getting the best of me. It is times like those that being able to discuss my plans out loud with another person can be the most amazing gift anyone could give. The person doesn’t have to understand what I am saying, but the simple fact that I can describe it to someone else helps me work through the problem I may be having. It is a simple gift that is very easy to give.

5. Financial Support

This gift could be in the form of money or materials. I put this one last for a reason: I find it the most necessary, but perhaps the least heartfelt of the gifts on my list. Making gear is about more than saving money. Once one takes into account the amount of time they spend planning, designing, replanning and sewing, the cost of the item is nearly on par with simply buying from an already reputable cottage company. That isn’t why so many people decide to make their own gear. We do it to have the feeling of accomplishment that can only come from sleeping under a tarp you made, while warm under the quilt you put the finishing touches on just the week before. However, money is needed to start the process, and I don’t mean to make anyone feel bad for giving the gift of cuben fiber by putting this last. So if your MYOGer knows what materials they need or has a project in mind but needs the capital to start, a little bit of money or materials could be just the thing to fit under the tree.

These are the things I want most for the holidays this year. What does everyone else want to have a Merry MYOG holiday this winter?

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