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Knitters' wits craft Christmas gifts

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Sandy Scharlow, Toledo, works on a Christmas tree skirt for a gift during an open house at Yarn Cravin' in Perrysburg.

The Blade/Andy Morrison
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While some folks frantically paw through deal bins on Black Friday or browse online sites until their eyes cross on Cyber Monday, others are sitting quietly in nook in Yarn Cravin' and making a Christmas gift with their own two hands.

The Perrysburg yarn shop is a knitter's Cheers, where everyone knows your name and can rattle off a pattern without dropping a stitch. There is a club of sorts, dubbed InsanKnitty, that meets here on Tuesday evenings, but folks congregate at the temple of handicrafts nearly every of the six days a week the shop is open.

"Each little group kind of has their own day," co-owner Dale Ann Ceparski said.

PHOTO GALLERY

The transformed house at 146 East Second St. was crowded with shoppers recently for the Christmas Open House, featuring discounts on red and green yarn.

Kris Pettee, of Toledo, had an armful of skeins and was still contemplating what they may become -- perhaps a shawl or maybe a hat. The yarn will tell her what it wants to be eventually.

"I look for something that draws my attention," she said.

Supplies for a knitted or crocheted gift are not cheap, co-owner Bobbi Aspacher admitted. Some beautifully hand-dyed yarns can cost $30 or more, not to mention needles, patterns, and sheer time.

But people who make the items do so out of passion for the craft and for the person who will receive the completed creation, she said.

And there's a quality that can't be beat.

"There's nothing better than hand-knit socks .. in comparison to store-bought socks," Ms. Aspacher said.

Her older sister, Joyce Scanes, of Toledo, agreed as she was perusing the shop.

"You make it for somebody who is going to appreciate it and love it," she said.

Hats, socks, scarves, sweaters, and mittens all can be personalized just by the riot of colors tucked into cubby-hole shelves throughout the store. There are luxuriously soft yarns for shawls and afghans, and some yarns are perfect for making felted purses or crocheting extra touches to dish towels, ornaments, key chains -- the possibilities are endless.

If you don't know how to do any of that, the shop owners will teach you. Various classes are scheduled throughout the year, and private lessons are available as well, Ms. Aspacher said.

For information, call Yarn Cravin' at 419-872-YARN (9276) or visit www.yarncravin.com.

Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at 419-356-8786, rconklin@theblade.com, or on Twitter @RebeccaConklinK.

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