Would-be knitters deterred by a dropped stitch, take heart: There's salvation in a kit.
Felting — shrinking a knitted item by wetting and agitating it in hot water, then shaping it — is the passion of Maggie Pace, founder of Pick Up Sticks. The Oakland-based company produces gift-friendly kits with patterns and yarn to make home and fashion accessories, such as this Plum Blossom pillow ($32, needles and pillow form not included).
"Felting is so forgiving of basic knitting mistakes," says Pace, an advanced but admittedly sloppy knitter. Her enthusiasm is contagious: "When I started, I felted everything that wasn't pinned down." And her designs, from cozy pillows to chic bell-shaped hats, are sure to inspire a similar addiction.
Resource: Kits from $11; Pick Up Sticks or 510/339-2129.