Every year about this time I get asked, "What is a good gift for the knitter in my life?" In addition to any random yarn purchase (which may or may not be a hit), here are some other ideas to consider. Share this info with your non-knitting friends--trust me, they want to know this stuff!
Books: Find out what they might have already or just go with something new. Here's a fun new book to consider--Increase, Decrease: 99 Step-by-Step Methods; Find the Perfect Technique for Shaping Every Knitting Project by Judith Durant.
Stitch Markers: You literally can NOT have too many stitch markers. Go to Etsy and look around at some of the wonderful things folks have made--here are some that I LOVE by a sweet gal in Georgia. Or if you're brave, check out a yarn store in your area; chances are they have some cute stitch markers on hand. If you're not sure what they are used for, don't worry, the knitter on your list will know!
Knitting Gadgets: Who wouldn't want a tape measure shaped like a sheep? Or a cute little project bag? Or tiny sharp scissors? Like stitch markers, these are things that are a blessing when available in abundance, and somehow scissors tend to walk away from my own knitting bag when my back is turned. A back-up pair is a must. There are some amazing, one of a kind tape measures and button/knitting/fun-related items over at All About the Buttons. I love the Dachshund one she made for me!
Knitting Lessons: Sign your knitter up for a fun class to increase their knitting knowledge. Or pay for private lessons so they can improve their techniques and ask all those knitting questions they've been afraid to ask. Live in the Charleston area and don't know a good knitting teacher? Ahem, cough, cough, yes you do, cough cough.
Gift Certificate: Best scenario: you live in the same city as your knitter and you acquire a gift certificate from your knitter's favorite local yarn shop. Next best scenario: KnitPicks has yarn, needles, gadgets, books and more, plus you can print the gift certificates yourself last minute if necessary.
No matter what you decide to get, the fact that you have taken an interest in their interest will make the gift special. You might even find yourself on the receiving end of some hand-knitted goodness!