Valentine Gift Ideas for 2018

As a child, I adored Valentine’s Day. It delighted me to make paper Valentines for all the other children I knew.

As an adult, I haven’t outgrown my fondness for making Valentines. Nowadays I enjoy adding crocheted edgings to some of them, and putting other artistic touches on them as well. I find it satisfying to make lovely things to give to others, even small things like Valentine’s Day cards.

I’ve discovered that it’s even more fun to make Valentine gifts for my loved ones — or at least, to add handmade touches to my gifts at times when it isn’t practical to create an entire gift from scratch.

If you celebrate this holiday, and you plan on giving Valentine gifts this year, here are some ideas for things you can make:

Enclose Your Valentine’s Day Gift in a Heart-Shaped Pouch

Valentine Crochet Heart Pouch

Let’s say you want to give candy or some small item as a Valentine gift to a sweetheart, friend, or colleague. A heart-shaped pouch would be a fun way to package it.


This is one of those designs where you can really showcase your own creativity. There are many different ways you could decorate this pouch — so feel free to dress it up with appliques, beads, ribbons, buttons or whatever other pretty baubles your heart desires.


If your intended recipient is a guy and the heart idea isn’t quite right for this occasion, you could always choose another pouch design instead.

Crocheted Hats for Him

Men's Slip Stitch Hat and Scarf Set

If your intended gift recipient is a guy, perhaps a crocheted hat would be a nice gift for him. The one pictured here is part of a hat and scarf set that I think is particularly nice for guys. It’s a bit of a time-consuming project, so I wouldn’t recommend it as a gift for casual acquaintances – but for the right guy, I think it’s worth spending the time on it. I can say that, having made the set for my own husband (although not specifically as a Valentine’s gift…) and he got significant, daily wintertime wear out of the hat for years before it got too shabby to make any more public appearances. Which reminds me that perhaps it’s time for me to begin making him another one…

Crocheted Jewelry for Her

If your intended gift recipient is a gal, jewelry might be a nice gift for her.

Valentine Flowers

There are all kinds of interesting things you can do with pretty crocheted flowers. You can attach them to hair accessories like headbands and hair clips. You can transform them into brooches or magnets. You can use them as embellishments on gift packages. Et-cetera!

More Valentine Ideas

Here’s a link to a list of free Valentine crochet and knitting patterns. The list includes bunches more ideas for interesting Valentine and heart-themed projects you can crochet. Happy crafting!




Copyright Notice: Photos, patterns and text © Michael & Amy Solovay; all rights reserved. Please do not copy these pictures, patterns or posts on other websites. Please do not pin our photos, especially not the pic of Mike in his hat or any other pics of him or our family.

Thank you for your interest, and thanks for visiting!

2018 New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for Knitters and Crocheters Set Some Goals for Your Knitting or Crocheting in the New Year!

Happy 2018, everyone! Who’s making New Year’s resolutions this year? Anyone want to share theirs?


If you need some goal-setting inspiration for a new year or any time, here’s a quick list of possible knitting, crochet and craft related resolutions you could make.

  • I will learn how to crochet or how to knit – for those who don’t already know how
  • I will teach someone how to crochet or knit- or even better, teach __* people how to crochet or knit
  • I will knit or crochet __* item(s) for charity
  • I will complete __* projects (or more)
  • I will finish or frog (unravel) all my unfinished projects
  • I will learn __* new knitting or crochet stitches
  • I will learn a new knitting or crochet skill — perhaps corner-to-corner to crochet or sock knitting
  • I will create an exquisite family heirloom to be passed down to a child or grandchild- perhaps a beaded bag worked from a vintage pattern, or an elegant lace tablecloth
  • I will organize my yarn / thread stash, and donate or give away any yarns / threads I don’t plan to use

*__= fill in this blank with whatever number you think would be a good goal. Pick a number that is small enough to be manageable, yet large enough that you’ll feel like you really accomplished something when you’ve reached the goal.

Resources for Achieving Your New Year’s Resolutions:

Learn How to Crochet or Knit; Learn New Crochet and Knitting Skills: You can take a variety of different crochet, knitting and crafting classes either online or in person. If you’d be interested in the the online version, there are several resources I can recommend:

Learn New Knitting or Crochet Stitches: Here are a few you can try:


Afghan Stitch
Afghan Stitch

  • If you haven’t already learned Tunisian crochet stitches such as afghan stitch and Tunisian crochet mesh stitch, these stitches will greatly expand your capabilities in crochet.
  • Shell stitch
  • Edge stitches to knit and crochet
  • See more choices: free knitting and crochet stitch instructions
  • Get Inspiration for Organizing Your Yarn and Craft Supplies:


    Planning to get organized in 2018? Need some new organizers to keep your yarn looking its best for your crochet or knitting projects? The ArtBin Super Satchel 1-Compartment is the ideal organizer to use for this purpose.
    Planning to get organized in 2018? Need some new organizers to keep your yarn looking its best for your crochet or knitting projects? The ArtBin Super Satchel 1-Compartment is the ideal organizer to use for this purpose.

    • Take a look at my favorite yarn organizers and yarn organization strategies on this page. One higlight: A former colleague of mine, Beth Peterson, shared some truly inspiring photos of her organized crochet supplies. She’s been keeping everything in a basket, which is lined with a custom-made holder for her crochet hooks. Check it out!
    • How are your knitting, crochet and supplies organized? We’d love to have information about how you approach it; please share tips in the comments section.

    Learn New Knitting and Crochet Skills

    We’ve posted a wide variety of resources to help you with learning new skills and techniques in crochet.


    Share Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Are you making any knitting or crochet-related new year’s resolutions this year? If so, please share them in the comments section!

    Getting Your Craft Supplies Organized and Put Away in Time for the Holiday Rush

    It’s now December of 2017. Thanksgiving is behind us, and the holiday season is now in full swing. December 25 will be here before you know it. Are you ready?

    If you entertained family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday, you might have already done massive amounts of cleaning and housekeeping to prepare.

    Or maybe you didn’t have to.

    Or maybe you did have to, but the amount of cleaning you did wasn’t enough to completely eradicate all chaos at your place. I’ve definitely been there myself.

    Back when we were “landlubbers”, Mike and I always used to host Thanksgiving at our place, and it was a mad scramble to get ready for having everyone over. I confess that there were many times in the past when I cleaned the main living areas like a madwoman, but shoved bunches of disorganized clutter into boxes in closets, under beds and out in the garage. Once I even stuffed a bag of miscellaneous craft supplies in the clothes dryer. Then I didn’t remember it was there, and a few days later, Mike accidentally dried it along with some socks and underwear he had washed.

    OOPS.

    Cleaning up after my cleanup was a confusing, stressful and chaotic situation. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

    I have some organization strategies and tips to share after getting a major handle on my own formerly out-of-control crafting chaos. I’m hopeful that maybe my experiences could help some of you get organized too.

    Here are the steps I recommend taking:

    1. Go through all your craft supplies and sell, donate, give away or trash anything you’re not going to use.
    2. For the stuff you’re keeping, decide on a storage and organization system with two crucial characteristics: everything you store needs to be easy for you to see and everything you’re storing also needs to be easily accessible. Otherwise, it’s out of sight, out of mind; and anything that’s out of mind, you might as well have sold it or given it away in step one above. For example, you should automatically reject any system that requires you to store your craft supplies in cardboard boxes stacked deep underneath of other cardboard boxes in an inaccessible area such as the attic, because such a system pretty much guarantees you will never use the supplies you have stored there. If you can’t see them and can’t reach them, you’re likely to forget about them before they ever get used.
    3. Once you’ve decided on a system, implement it and use it. After every crafting session, be sure to put your supplies away in their proper places so you can easily locate them next time you want to work on your project(s).
    4. It’s also helpful to designate a spot to keep your projects in progress; I’m now using an ArtBin Yarn Drum for this purpose.

    In my experience, clear organizers or translucent organizers work best; they allow you to see everything you have stashed without opening each organizer. This will save you tons of time when you look for your supplies.

    It can also save you bunches of money. How many times have you accidentally purchased a duplicate of something, perhaps a duplicate crochet hook or set of knitting needles, because you couldn’t find the one you already own? Getting organized will allow you to both save money and be much more productive than you would be otherwise.


    Here are links to product reviews of several of my favorite craft organizers:


    Craft Organizers by ArtBin
    Craft Organizers by ArtBin

    • ArtBin Hook & Needle Nook, Item#: 6930AB — This hard plastic storage case is exactly what you need for organizing traditional crochet hooks and steel crochet hooks. It can also be ideal for organizing Tunisan crochet hooks and knitting needles that are 12 inches long or shorter.
    • ArtBin Solutions Storage Cabinet, Item#: 6994AB — If you do bead crochet, bead knitting, wire crochet or wire knitting, this is an outstanding organizer for keeping track of your beads, findings, tools, and wire. It also works well for organizing embroidery floss and other sorts of craft supplies
    • ArtBin Super Satchel 1-Compartment, Item#: 6955AB — This is a fantastic multi-purpose craft organizer that’ll help you organize just about any type of art or craft supply you might need to find a place for.
    • ArtBin Mini Sidekick, Item#: 6815AG — This versatile hard plastic caddy is ideal for storing scrap yarn, balls of crochet thread, and a variety of other craft supplies.
    • ArtBin Thread Storage Tray — If your toddler or kitten has ever run off with a spool of your thread, leaving a tangled mess in his wake, you’ll definitely appreciate having a solution for wall-mounting your thread collection out of his reach. Even if that’s never happened to you, you’re likely to agree it’s much more pleasant having your thread all organized and easily accessible in one handy spot.

    These are all products I own and use, and I recommend them.

    There are a few additional items in my craft storage and organization system that I haven’t written about yet. Some of them may surprise you, because they involve some clever re-purposing of boating gear that sailors and yachties use to keep their vessels shipshape — but once you see the logic in the system, I think perhaps some of you will want to give it a try.


    I’m in the process of compiling a complete guide to organizing craft supplies, including suggestions for the best organizers to use for a variety of purposes. If this is an area you need help with, I invite you to subscribe to my free knitting and crochet newsletter in order to be alerted when new articles in the series become available; it also assures you of receiving alerts when new free patterns, stitch tutorials, product reviews and other new articles of interest to knitters and crocheters become available.


    It really doesn’t matter if you implement my craft storage and organization system or one you devise on your own; what matters is that you get organized to your own satisfaction. If you plan to entertain your family and friends for the holidays this year, you want your crafting to be a source of pride, rather than having out-of-control-crafting clutter and chaos that becomes a source of embarrassment.


    I wish you and yours the happiest of holidays this year!



    Sincerely,

    Amy

    Celebrate “I Love Yarn” Day 2017 With Easy Crochet Projects for Beginners

    I Love Yarn Day --Celebrate With  Crochet, Knitting and Yarn Crafts
    I Love Yarn Day — Crochet, Knitting and Yarn Crafts
    Guess what! Today is “I Love Yarn Day”, an extra-special day the Craft Yarn Council has designated for fun activities, yarncraft project ideas and free patterns just for the occasion. If you’d like to win some new knitting and crochet supplies, check out the I Love Yarn Day scavenger hunt featuring a spectacular prize package:

    List of FUN, AMAZING Prizes for YARN LOVERS:

    Send your scavenger hunt entries to the Craft Yarn Council before the deadline, which is October 21st 11:59 pm CT, and you will be entered to win 1 of 20 prizes totaling more than $1,200:

  • Interchangeable “Takumi” Circular Knitting Needle Combo Set
  • Interchangeable “Takumi” Tunisian Crochet Hook Combo Set
  • Prize package of Red Heart yarns
  • 3 Clover PomPom Makers
  • 2, 1- year subscriptions to Creativebug online classes
  • 3 sets of booklets from Leisure Arts: Emoji Crochet, New Twist on Macramé and Yarn Crafts
  • Prize package of yarn from Lion Brand Yarn Co.
  • Amazon gift card from Prime Publishing
  • 1-year subscription to I Like Crochet digital magazine from Prime Publishing
  • 3 Boye Pom Pom Tassel Makers
  • 2 Prize packages of newest yarns from Yarnspirations
  • 2 Vogue Knitting Ultimate Knitting Books
  • Just imagine all the gorgeous projects you could make if you were to win any of these goodies! If you’re new to knitting or crochet and you don’t already have a yarn and pattern stash accumulated, winning one of these prizes would definitely be a great start! And if you’re an experienced crafter, as you already know, you can never have too many yarncrafting supplies…

    Stitching It Forward: Teach Others How to Craft With Yarn:

    Knitting, Crocheting, Weaving, Spinning and Yarn Bombing

    As part of this special celebration, the Craft Yarn Council has requested that ALL fiber fans will share our love for yarn and “stitch it forward” by teaching at least one other person to knit, crochet, weave, spin or yarnbomb. Since crochet is the yarncraft I’m most proficient at, I would be honored to teach YOU how to crochet if you do not already know how. To get you started, I’ve put together the following list of free tutorials and easy crochet patterns for beginners:

    Learn How to Crochet With Free Instructions and Tutorials:

    A slip knot is the first thing you need to know when you’re learning how to crochet. Click here to see a free crochet slip knot tutorial.


    A slip knot is NOT the only way to start crochet projects — but it is one of the most popular ways. See how to start crochet for some other insights about how to get a crochet project started.


    Learn How to Crochet a Granny Square for Beginners
    Learn How to Crochet a Granny Square. Cascade 220 Is the Yarn I Used to Crochet This Square.

    When I teach beginners how to crochet, I recommend the granny square as an ideal first crochet project. To crochet the most basic, beginner-friendly granny square, you’ll need to know how to work the chain stitch, the slip stitch and the double crochet stitch:

    This easy crochet neck warmer is another beginner-friendly crochet project:


    Easy Crochet Neck Warmer Pattern for Beginners
    Easy Crochet Neck Warmer Pattern for Beginners

    There are many other amazing crochet stitches to learn, but there are bunches of projects you can make with only the chain, double crochet and slip stitch. The pretty neck warmer pictured above is a crochet project that only requires the chain stitch and the double crochet stitch.


    If you want to learn even more, I invite you tocontact me and ask to be added to my list of knitting and crochet newsletter subscribers. I often make new patterns, stitch tutorials, book reviews and other resources available that I think you will enjoy.

    See Also:

    This page was last updated on October 15, 2017.

    Halloween: The Ideal Holiday for Beastly Crochet Patterns

    Brenda K.B. Anderson’s pattern book, Beastly Crochet, wasn’t specifically intended to be a book of Halloween patterns. However, if you celebrate Halloween, October is a great time for crocheting the patterns in the book. That’s because this pattern collection is all Halloween friendly.

    Beastly Crochet Book by Brenda K.B. Anderson, Published by Interweave Press
    Beastly Crochet Book by Brenda K.B. Anderson, Published by Interweave Press


    For example, let’s take the critters on the Beastly Crochet book cover (pictured.) If you look closely at their mouths, you’ll see these little monsters are stuffed with candy. They’re the perfect storage units for all the Halloween candy your little trick-or-treaters or party-goers might collect on Halloween night. Cute, aren’t they? You can crochet and felt them using the pattern and instructions given in this book.

    If you want to make Halloween costumes for yourself or a child you know, this book has patterns you could use. There’s a super cute pattern for Sasquatch Slippers and Mittens, which I think might also work as bear claws. So you could dress up as a sasquatch or a bear if you make these. There’s also a vampire hat which could be the basis for an interesting Halloween costume.


    The sweet skull hairpins are totally Halloween friendly. If those aren’t quite what you had in mind, you can check out bunches more knit and crochet skull patterns on our website. The link takes you to a list that’s mostly free patterns aside from the ones included in this book. The book also includes a sugar skull bag pattern, which I think is a little creepy — but I guess that’s the idea, right?


    One of the fantastic things about this book is that the patterns are great for Halloween, but you can also use them at other times too. That translates to a great value for the time and money you spend on both the book and the projects. A big thumbs up to that!

    Overall I really enjoyed this book, which tells you a lot since I am not someone who ordinarily enjoys crocheting skulls or creepy projects.

    If you want more details about the book and its contents, I invite you to click here for my detailed book review.

    See Also:

    What to Make for Mom This Mother’s Day

    This year, Mother’s Day will fall on Sunday, May 14, 20167. That gives you some time to delight a special Mom (or perhaps a grandmother, mother-in-law, or stepmom) by making a handmade gift to give her this Mother’s Day.

    If this is an idea that sounds interesting to you, we invite you to browse through our Mother’s Day gift ideas to find ideas for the perfect gift. Here we’ve presented a roundup of a few fantastic ideas for Mother’s Day craft projects; we hope you’ll be inspired by these suggestions.

    Design a Sweater That Your Mom Would Love!

    Design a Custom-Knit Sweater Your Mom Will Love With Melissa Leapman's New Book, 6,000+ Pullover Possibilities
    Design a Custom-Knit Sweater Your Mom Will Love With Melissa Leapman’s New Book, 6,000+ Pullover Possibilities

    Melissa Leapman is an authority on sweater knitting design. She’s enjoyed a successful career as a knitwear designer and has designed sweaters and sweater patterns for bunches of books, magazines and clothing companies. Melissa shares a simple, beginner-friendly, step-by-step sweater design process in a brand new book called 6,000+ Pullover Possibilities. So if you’ve always wanted to design custom-made sweaters to give as gifts to your loved ones, this book will guide you through the process. If your mom knits, the book itself would also be a spectacular gift for her. Click here to shop for the book at Amazon, or click here for more info in my detailed book review of this title.

    Knit or Crochet a Shawl for Mom

    Learn How to Knit a Variety of Stunning Shawls and Wraps Using the Patterns in Vogue Knitting Shawls and Wraps 2 by the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine. This Delightful Pattern Book Is Published by Sixth & Spring Books.
    Find a Variety of Stunning Patterns for Shawls and Wraps in Vogue Knitting Shawls and Wraps 2 by the Editors of Vogue Knitting Magazine. This Delightful Pattern Book Is Published by Sixth & Spring Books.

    Shawls make delightful gifts for moms and grandmas. Shawls can be warm, substantial and comforting; or light, lacy and frivolous. They can be casual or dressy, chic or unassuming, fancy or simple.

    Cozy Blankets for Mom

    If you’re a fast and dedicated crafter, you have plenty of time left to make a customized blanket just for mom. You could use granny squares or other crocheted squares if that type of blanket would appeal to her. Be sure to add a pretty border or edging to finish it off.

    Fabric Crochet Pendant Necklaces

    Easy Fabric Crochet Necklace - Free Tutorial and Pattern

    Jewelry makes a great gift for mom, and this pattern allows for a lot of personalization that would make each piece unique and perfect for your mom (or for whoever you want to make it for.)

    See Also:

    A Spa Gift Basket

    Crochet a basket for mom. Fill it with fancy, extra-special crocheted washcloths plus scented lotions, beautiful sculpted soaps and a bath puff — or whichever toiletries your mom would find most enjoyable.

    More Ideas and Patterns for Lovely Gifts to Make Mom

    There are so many things that moms might love that it's hard to fit them all in one blog post. I invite you to browse our website to find even more knitting and crochet patterns, some that mom might love, some to make for Dad for Father’s Day, and hopefully even some to use for making something nice for yourself too.

    If you enjoy crafts other than just knitting and crocheting, check out a list of the best Mother’s Day craft ideas at The Free Crafts Website.

    Crocheted Flowers for Valentine’s Day 2017 Find Free Crochet Patterns for a Whole Bunch of Valentine-Friendly Flower Motifs

    Crochet Flower With Ribbon

    This pretty flower applique is useful at any time of year, but it’s especially appropriate for Valentine’s Day. You could pin it to a hat or lapel, or use it to embellish a Valentine gift you’re giving to a friend or loved one.

    I’ve crocheted my sample flower in shades of pink and purple, but it would be even prettier in red and white, or pink and white. Or perhaps you could even use red, pink and white all together in this flower, assuming you can find the right combination of button, ribbon and yarn. Any of these options would be ideal color schemes for crocheting Valentine’s Day themed flowers.

    If you’d like to crochet a different style of flower motif, you’re invited to visit our index of free crochet flower patterns. You’ll find many more flower designs to choose from.

    Related Resources:

    Setting the Table for Earth Day 2016

    Setting the Table for Earth Day 2016 With Upcyled Wire Crochet Napkin Rings Made From Pull Tabs

    For those of you who didn’t know, today — Friday, April 22, 2016 — is Earth Day. Happy Earth Day, everyone!

    I’ve posted some lovely free patterns you can use for dressing up your Earth Day table, or any holiday table for that matter. Check ’em out!

    Half Double Crochet Placemats — Free Pattern

    Awhile back I designed a place setting featuring this placemat made with organic cotton yarn, an environmentally friendly choice. The green color is an added bonus which ties in nicely with the overall “green” theme. The placemat is finished with a scalloped crochet lace edging and some woven yarn.

    Pull Tab Napkin Rings

    This project calls for upcycling some pull tabs and transforming them into these beautiful napkin rings, which are pictured above. The instructions for these napkin rings are available online for free.

    Best Napkin Fold for Crochet Enthusiasts

    If you have napkins with stunning crocheted edgings, this is a great way to show ’em off. Bonus points if the napkins, or edgings, are green.


    See Also:

    Crocheting for Earth Day and Every Day

    Crochet an Eco-Friendly Rag Bag for Earth Day or Any Day
    Crochet an Eco-Friendly Rag Bag for Earth Day or Any Day

    Earth Day is coming up soon. This year, we’ll be celebrating Earth Day on Friday, April 22, 2016 — mark your calendars!

    If you’d like to celebrate Earth day with an eco-friendly crochet project, there are many possiblilities to consider. For example, the gorgeous tote bag pictured above is a sustainable DIY project if you choose to upcycle old fabrics or clothes for your materials.

    Another similar option is an earth-friendly market bag made using organic cotton. You can get the market bag crochet pattern on the Internet for free.

    You could begin working on either of these projects today, and if you start using the bag every time you shop, it’ll result in fewer paper and plastic shopping bags that need recycling.

    To see bunches more Earth Day project ideas, you might want to visit the About.com crochet library of projects for Earth Day.


    Related Resources:

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