Who’s Hitting the After Christmas Sales?

So, it’s December 26, 2016. You survived another Christmas. WOOHOOOOoooo! Now it’s time for those happysad mixed feelings that come in the wake of the holiday season: “Whew, that’s over and done with!” followed by “phooey, the credit card bills are here already? How’d they get here so fast?” Followed by wave after wave of emotion as you take down the tree, look at your holiday photos and maybe even make a few pages for your scrapbook.

Another Christmas is now behind us — but if you celebrate Christmas, it’s never too early to get going on next year’s Christmas projects. Maybe you could hit the after-Christmas sales, load up on some cheap supplies, and get started!

Or not…

Either way, you’re invited to grab any of our Christmas patterns so you’ll have ’em in your pattern stash when you do get around to working on Christmas designs again — whether it’s this week with deeply discounted Christmas yarns, or next year when the festivities start all over again.

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and that your new year will be prosperous and blessed. For those of you who are shopping today, here’s hoping you’ll score bunches of amazing bargains.



XOXOXOXOXOXO,

Amy Solovay

Make Christmas Napkin Rings With These Free Crochet Patterns

If there’s ever a time that you want to set a pretty table, it’s Christmas dinner. The table sets the mood for the entire meal; you want it to look amazing for your loved ones, not to mention for the family photos (especially if you’ll be posting them online.)

There are many possible ways to pretty up your table, and many different elements that could enhance you table settings and make them spectacular.

Christmas Place Setting With Beaded Napkin Ring, Crochet Placemat and Beautiful Crocheted Edgings

Christmas Place Setting With Beaded Napkin Ring, Crochet Placemat and Beautiful Crocheted Edgings

Of course, if you have a set of fine china or holiday dishes, it’s the ideal time to get them out and put them to use. Christmas is also the ideal occasion for using a pretty tablecloth or table runner. If you own a beautiful vase, it would be lovely to fill it with flowers and create a unique centerpiece.

And once you’ve done all that, you’d feel pretty silly putting paper towels on the table to use as napkins, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

This realization could lead you down a whole new rabbit hole: How do you fold the napkins and keep them in place?

The answer, of course, is that you’ll want to use napkin rings to do that.

For you DIY types who like to make creative pretties to dress up your home decor, I invite you to consider the following free patterns for crafting your own napkin rings:


If you like the idea of making napkin rings, but the ones pictured above aren’t quite what you have in mind for your table, you’re invited to check out this list of 16 ways to make napkin rings. The list includes bunches more ideas, some of which involve craft techniques other than knitting or crocheting.

More Ideas for Christmas Table Settings

I wish you a joyous holiday season this year, filled with peace, love, light, creativity and blessings.

Kitchen Stitchin’ With a Christmas Theme Crochet Lovely Christmas Potholders and Other Christmas-Themed Kitchen Projects

Update From 12/16/2016: If you celebrate Christmas, please be sure to check out our brand new 2016 Christmas gift guide featuring our suggestions for the best gifts to give crochet and knitting enthusiasts. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Kitchen Stitching' With a Christmas Theme: Get Free Patterns for Crocheting Potholders and Other Kitchen Designs

Kitchen Stitching’ With a Christmas Theme: Get Free Patterns for Crocheting Potholders and Other Kitchen Designs

Holidays, cooking and baking seem to go hand-in-hand, don’t they? So I think it’s a great idea to turn our attention to some of the pretty holiday-themed kitchen accents we can crochet.


Pictured here is a cupcake potholder crocheted in Christmas colors. It’s one of the many designs included in our list of knit and crochet potholder patterns.

You could take any design on the potholder pattern list and crochet it in Christmas colors, but some of the designs on the list are already “Christmas-y” as is. For example, this striped potholder resembles a candy cane if you crochet it in red and white yarn. (If not, it’s just an ordinary striped potholder, as you can see here.)


This red, white and green striped potholder is also festive and Christmas-y.


I haven’t got around to crocheting this Christmas tree design in cotton yarn to use as a potholder yet, but it’s on my to-do list to try. Please feel free to use that idea if you’d like. If you do, keep in mind that the design as originally written was meant to be used as an afghan square, and was crocheted in acrylic. You don’t want to use acrylic or other synthetics for making potholders, as I explain in my article about which yarn to use for crocheting potholders.


Be sure to visit our directory of Christmas patterns if you’d like to find even more Christmas projects to make — like the cute little Christmas tree ornament that’s also pictured here.


Happy stitching, and happy holidays!

A Cute Christmas Tree Decoration to Crochet

A Cute Christmas Tree Decoration to Crochet

A Cute Christmas Tree Decoration to Crochet

Here’s a fun needlework project idea for those of you who celebrate Christmas. It’s a cute Christmas tree decoration to crochet.

You could use this little Christmas tree as an ornament or a door hanger. (If you want to make it a door hanger, just be sure to make the hanging loop long enough to fit over the doorknob where you want to hang it.)

This project is made by crocheting and joining two easy Christmas tree shapes that you can make using our free symbol crochet chart and pattern.

This is a quick crochet project with a lot of creative potential. You’re invited to grab the free chart and ornament pattern from our website, and give this project a try.

Project Ideas for Using Layered Crochet Stitches

I’m getting ready to move, so I am going back through all my projects and deciding which of my finished objects to donate, what to gift to friends, what to keep and what to unravel. This is a bit like traveling back in time. It’s refreshing my memory on so many different ideas I had in the past, and so many different directions my knitting and crochet could take next.


This swatch is comprised of single crochet and chain stitches that are layered over each other in interesting ways. This idea is further developed into some crochet necklaces which you can make using free patterns available on the Internet.

This swatch is comprised of single crochet and chain stitches that are layered over each other in interesting ways. This idea is further developed into some crochet necklaces which you can make using free patterns available on the Internet.




Here’s a peek at a swatch of layered crochet stitches I worked back in 2009, when I first began designing crochet patterns for public consumption.

I’ve learned a lot between now and then; there are good things and bad things about the direction of the growth I’ve experienced in that time. I think in many ways, I’ve become more adept at pattern writing, and my patterns are clearer than they were in the earlier days. The downside is that, in the early days, I was more willing to try complex things that were difficult to explain via crochet patterns. Since many of my readers are beginning crocheters, somewhere along the line I began making choices that are safer, simpler and more beginner friendly. So some of the resulting clarity has come at the expense of work that is a little more interesting, different and unusual.


Looking at this swatch is a good reminder of the kind of work that I used to do in the past but haven’t done much of lately. I used to take more risks with my crocheting, and I was more willing to spend time on pieces that failed, or at least failed to achieve “commercial success.” At the time, since I was just getting started with designing for the public, I didn’t even understand what “commercial success” was. I have a clearer understanding of that now, although I am still learning more every day.


In the swatch pictured above, the lower layer of the fabric is single crochet. The upper layer consists of arches of chain stitches and single crochet.

After I initially created this swatch, I developed the concept into several finished projects:

Looking at this swatch reminds me that there are so many other different directions this idea could go in:

  • Different ways to work out the stitch repeat
  • Different color combinations to try
  • Different yarns to use
  • Different finished projects that could result

I crocheted both this swatch and my necklaces with embroidery floss. I think that using a thicker yarn would make an awfully thick fabric, but I’d still be interested to try it and see what happens. When worked with bulkier yarns, it could perhaps make an interesting purse or tote bag…a coffee cup cozy…the cuffs of a garment or the lower edge of a sweater…the lower edge of a hat…so many ideas!


For now, though, I have to resume with my decluttering and destashing, so instead of working on new ideas and new patterns I will have to content myself with linking you up to pages I’ve already posted:

Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Don’t you just hate it when you run out of cash before you run out of gifts you need to buy? That’s such a complete and total bummer, isn’t it?

Last-Minute Christmas Gifts You Can Make

Last-Minute Christmas Gifts You Can Make

Happily, for crafters who maintain a sizeable yarn stash and some related craft supplies, this sort of thing is almost a non-issue.

If crafting has taught me anything at all over the years, it’s this: if I have supplies left in my craft supply stash, and at least a couple of hours left before I have to present the gift to its recipient, I’ll never be empty-handed in the gift department. I’ll always have a gift worth giving, and it will be a gift created exclusively with the recipient in mind. (Except, I admit that I sometimes make a few extra give-to-anybody-type-gifts ahead of any gift-giving occasion, in case an unexpected long-lost relative or guest drops by for a visit.)

We’re getting dangerously close to Christmas, given that today’s date is December 24, 2015. I’d bet money that, by now, some of you have exhausted your gift-giving budgets, but you’re still stressing out about about what to give somebody-or-other. Yikes!

I’m here to help you with some suggestions for last-minute gifts you can make using supplies that most knitters and crocheters would typically have on hand.

Gift-Worthy Projects You Can Whip Up in a Hurry:

If you need to crank out a quick gift, hurry up and grab any of these free patterns from the Internet. Then raid your craft supply stash and get busy!

Quick Christmas Ornaments

See that cute little Christmas tree-shaped ornament pictured at bottom left in the photo posted above? You don’t need anything fancy to make this — the pattern is free on our website, plus you need a little green yarn, a little brown or tan yarn, some stuffing material, and a few buttons or beads for decorations. If you don’t have any buttons or beads, you could try cutting out some little felt or fabric circles to stitch to the tree. Or embroider some little ornaments using colorful yarn, embroidery floss or crochet thread.

This is a reasonably safe idea for a gift, considering that anyone who celebrates Christmas could probably use an ornament.

An even quicker ornament: this easy lace crochet wreath is super quick to make, and it’s really pretty, too. If you have a little ball of green yarn left over from another project, you have most of what’s needed to make this project. You’ll also need ribbon and a scrap of red yarn, or other appropriate baubles for decorating your wreath.

Another idea along the same lines: this cute little wreath ornament is another quickie gift idea — although it’s small, so you might want to make a coordinating set of several wreaths to put in the same gift box.

Pouches:

Pouches make fast, easy gifts (not to mention that they make fantastic giftwrap substitutes, if you run out of actual giftwrap.) The only potential problem with that idea is, you might not have the right zippers in your craft supplies stash — but if you do, this idea is definitely a keeper.


You can give pouches to people of either gender and any age; just customize the pouch accordingly. Bonus points if you can add a few goodies to the pouch, like wrapped candies, small toys, pencils or pens, to “sweeten” the gift.

Potholders and Kitchen Gift Sets:

If you have some appropriate yarn and a few hours, you can whip up sets of potholders, or kitchen gift sets, for the chefs on your gift list. If you happen to have red, green and white or off-white yarn in either wool or cotton, you could make cupcake potholders like the one pictured. No need to have these colors specifically, though. If you have any 3 – 4 cupcake-friendly colors of yarn on hand, you could re-color the design to use what you have.

You have a head-spinning number of options for different potholders you could make, so please check out our list of potholder patterns if this idea appeals to you.

Jewelry

For the ladies on your gift list, jewelry makes a great gift. Bracelets, especially, are pretty quick to make, and don’t use up many supplies.

Christmas Cookies:

If you’re a passable chef, Christmas cookies are a no-brainer as a last-minute gift. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you can usually find a cookie recipe that’ll work. Even if your pantry isn’t all that well-stocked, look for a sugar cookie recipe that doesn’t require much more than flour, sugar, butter, salt, eggs and a flavoring like almond or vanilla.

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it! I hope you will enjoy every minute of your holiday.

Peppermint Candy-Inspired Crochet Potholders for Christmas 2015

Christmas Potholders Inspired by Striped Peppermint Candies. A Free Crochet Pattern Is Available for This Design.

Christmas Potholders Inspired by Striped Peppermint Candies. A Free Crochet Pattern Is Available for This Design.

Have you begun your countdown to December 25, 2015? Perhaps you’ve already started your Christmas crafting, and perhaps you haven’t — but either way, you still have plenty of time to whip up some Christmastime projects. Especially potholders, which are quick projects that don’t take much commitment.

If you’re in the mood to work on some Christmas crafts, we have plenty of ideas, not to mention free patterns, for you to try.

Pictured here: peppermint-candy inspired potholders that are reminiscent of the minty sweet treats you see in stores during the holiday season. They’re festive, attractive and tasty — just the thing to have in your kitchen while you’re doing your holiday baking, or planning your holiday parties and meals. Those fun little mints are ideal for everything from decorating your Christmas cookies to covering up the scent of eggnog on your breath.

They’re also fantastic inspiration for bunches of different craft projects.

Potholders like these make excellent Christmas gifts, but they’re also nice to keep for yourself — especially if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen during the holiday season.

Happily, these little pretties work up quickly enough that you can make a pair for yourself, plus more pairs to giftwrap and present to the chefs and bakers on your Christmas gift list.

You can crochet these fun potholders in red and white, as pictured, to resemble candy cane stripes. If you change the colors, the look could be completely different, and maybe not even Christmas-y, depending on the colors you choose.

Give This Pattern a Try:


More Christmas Craft Ideas

Quick Crochet Projects for Christmas 2015 This Page Was Updated on 10-26-2015.

Hello Crocheters and Knitters!

Anybody need some quick, fun holiday themed crochet projects to work on? Here are a few ideas that I hope you can use if you have any "down time" in the next couple of months. (And if not..I hope you'll at least take a moment to grab the patterns anyway, 'cause you can always use 'em next year…)

Christmas Tree Applique

Quick, Easy Christmas Tree Applique -- With Free Symbol Crochet Chart and Pattern Available

Quick, Easy Christmas Tree Applique — With Free Symbol Crochet Chart and Pattern Available

It doesn't take long to whip up this quick little Christmas tree applique. You could use the applique to transform just about any type of crochet or craft project into a Christmas project. You could even use the applique on store-bought items if you're in a hurry.

Related Crochet Pattern: Christmas Tree Ornament

Ornaments come in handy for both decorating and gift-giving. They’re pretty quick to make, too. The ornament linked above is really similar to the Christmas tree applique pictured above — and no wonder, because the ornament is constructed using two of those appliques.


Christmas Crochet Cupcake Potholders

Awhile back, I posted a new variation of my cupcake pattern. It’s a cute potholder with a cupcake design.

Crochet Cupcake Potholder -- The Free Crochet Pattern and Cupcake Chart Are Available Online

Crochet Cupcake Potholder — The Free Crochet Pattern and Cupcake Chart Are Available Online

The original cupcake design was a square with a light pink background, darker pink frosting, red cherry, and tan “cake”. My new colorway: I changed the background to off-white, the frosting to green, and the cake to a slightly darker brown. I kept the red cherry the same.

To transform this design into a potholder, I added a red border around the outside edge, along with a hanging loop in one corner, and a bit of green surface crochet detailing.

I don’t do much Christmas baking any more, but if you do, perhaps you’ll enjoy having these potholders on hand while making Christmas cookies and cakes (and cupcakes! Don’t forget the cupcakes…)

Either way, I hope those of you who celebrate Christmas will enjoy your holiday season this year.

More Quick Crochet Projects for Christmas 2015:

More Holiday Crafting:

Through 10/28/15, Interweave is having a 40% off sale on patterns and ebooks for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you want to take advantage of this deal, click here and use the Offer Code COUNTDOWN.

Crocheting Bracelets Using Wire

Bracelets are reasonably quick projects to crochet, and I love them because they allow for so much easy experimentation — with materials, colors, textures and forms.


Wire Lace Cuff Bracelet -- Free Wire Crochet Pattern

I find that wire crochet bracelets are particularly interesting to experiment with. There are so many different ways you can make them. The wire, being stiff, can be sculpted in different ways if you like; and when you crochet with it, a sort of magic happens. It’s almost like creating a delightful fusion of lace and metalwork; the two disparate crafts intertwine and become one. Add beads to the mix, and the results are even more spectacular.

Pictured here are a couple of wire crochet bracelets that I’ve posted online, along with free patterns in case you’d like to crochet some similar pieces. The bracelet shown above is a wire cuff bracelet crocheted in Christmas colors. I adore its lacy look.

The bracelet shown at lower right is one of my latest beaded wire crochet projects. This design is crafted using wire, red coral beads, jasper stone beads, and glass beads. If you don’t already know how to make one of these, no worries, you can learn how to do it — for free! The free bracelet pattern is available right here on our website for you to use.


DIY Southwestern Turquoise and Red Coral Wire Crochet Bracelet Pattern

I’m showing you these particular bracelets because I think they are both nice designs for Christmas, which is coming up soon; it’ll be here before you know it. If you’d like to make yourself some pretty holiday baubles, these would be lovely to whip up for wearing to any upcoming holiday parties or gatherings. If these designs aren’t quite what you have in mind, our list of free jewelry patterns offers even more options. I hope you’ll enjoy browsing through them.

You may also want to take a peek at our wire crochet patterns, which include both jewelry and other projects.

If you have designed any wire crochet patterns of your own, you are invited to submit them for inclusion in our gallery; more details are available on our submissions page.

Thanks for dropping by!

Make-Ahead Christmas Gifts to Give Unexpected Guests

Do you have a big family? How about a bunch of friends, co-workers, and nearby neighbors?

On one hand, it’s lovely to have a large network of people you know — and can turn to for insights, gossip, entertainment, fun or help as needed.

On the other hand, the more people you know, and the more people you have in your life, the more likely you are to forget about somebody important when gift-giving occasions occur.

This is something that’s easily avoided with a little pre-planning.

The secret: create a space, perhaps a shelf in your closet, unused cupboard in the kitchen, or area in the garage, that’s devoted specifically to gifts for upcoming holidays and occasions. Devote most of the space to gifts you want to give to the main players in your life — but also set aside at least part of the space for stashing some make-ahead gifts that would be appropriate for many different people. These would be gifts you can give to unexpected guests.

Throughout the year, stock this space with likely-looking items that you either buy on sale, or make ahead of time.

This need not be just a stash of Christmas gifts. You may wish to keep a few baby items on hand so you always have something ready if you get a last-minute baby shower invitation. It’s also a good idea to have some birthday-friendly items, and an assortment of greeting cards, ready to put in your stash.

A Few Ideas for Stocking Your Make-Ahead Gift Stash:

If there are bunches of kids on your gift list, amigurumi toys are fantastic items to stash.


Christmas ornaments are failsafe gifts for people who celebrate Christmas. (Do avoid giving them to anyone who’s Jewish or Messianic…or for that matter, anyone at all who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.)


If your crowd is of-age and enjoys alcoholic beverages, bottles of liqueur or wine, tucked inside pretty handmade bottle cozies, are a possibility for making ahead of time.


Pouches full of small items like office supplies, little toys, wrapped candies, hair accessories or lottery tickets are creative gifts that work well for emergency gift-giving.

The office supplies might be appreciated by co-workers you don’t know all that well.

The toys would be fun gifts for kids.

The wrapped candies would be great for just about anybody who isn’t diabetic or on a restricted diet.

The hair accessories would be nice for little girls, tweens or teens.

The lottery tickets, well, I normally think they’re a waste of money — but in the past I have had fun giving tickets to coworkers.

One year I bought 50 tickets and gave them out, one each, to 50 different co-workers.

I wish I could tell you that somebody hit the jackpot, but the results were not that exciting. One guy won $20; several other co-workers won additional tickets. Overall, the state of California was the biggest winner…but at least that idea neatly solved the problem of how I could get gifts for 50 co-workers on a tiny budget of only $50.

In the past I’ve experimented with maintaining a gift stash like the one I’m describing. In my experience, the stashed items that came in handiest were the baby projects. For whatever reason, I never seem to get much notice when a new baby is about to make an appearance. For that reason, I always try to keep a few baby projects on hand, or at least in progress, so I’m never caught empty handed. Preferably, it’s nice to have a mix that includes some baby boy projects, some baby girl projects, and some gender-neutral projects — just to cover your bases.

A Tip: It’s a good idea to wrap each gift that you stash ahead of time, but if you do, discreetly stick a post-it note to the package with a note reminding you about what’s inside. Be sure to remove the note before you give the gift to its final recipient!

I hope these ideas will help you avoid possible embarrassment, not to mention some of the biggest stress-creators that come along with holiday entertaining and gift-giving. Won’t it be nice to never again have to worry when long-lost relatives turn up on Christmas morning — because you will be able to gracefully grab appropriate gifts out of your stash to present to them?


Wishing you and yours all the best for a happy fall, followed by a happy holiday season this year.

Holiday Patterns to Knit and Crochet: