The gift card idea seems to be very popular. She said she didn't want to spend much, though, which makes me wonder whether it would be worthwhile if the amount is small. I'm still going to lobby for the ipod cozy idea (doesn't necessarily have to be used that way) because it'd cost next to nothing if she used stash or leftover yarn -- and the time it would take her to knit it would probably be less than driving to the store to buy something. Plus, it's personal and hand-made. JMO.
There is no right way to knit; there is no wrong way to knit. So if anybody kindly tells you that what you are doing is "wrong," don't take umbrage; they mean well. Smile submissively, and listen, keeping your disagreement on an entirely mental level. They may be right, in this particular case, and even if not, they may drop off pieces of information which will come in very handy if you file them away carefully in your brain for future reference.