Dressing up for Valentine’s Day Knit or Crochet Lovely Jewelry, Shawls, Wraps, Scarves or Other Romantic Projects to Wear on Valentine's Day

Want to wear something special and lovely on Valentine’s Day this year? If so, we offer you several suggestions for delightful knitting and crochet projects to consider when your goal is dressing up for Valentine’s Day.


If you're dressing up for Valentine's Day this year, consider making a pretty scarf using this free Valentine's Day crochet scarf pattern.
If you’re dressing up for Valentine’s Day this year, consider making a pretty scarf using this free Valentine’s Day crochet scarf pattern.

For starters, this beautiful yet practical Valentine Scarf would be a fantastic way to accessorize. You could dress it either up or down for daytime or evening wear. If you’re going for a casual look, this scarf pairs well with jeans or khakis and a long-sleeved t-shirt or sweater. Alternatively, if you’re dressing up, you could pair it with a dress, skirt, or suit. This scarf pattern is available for free here on our website.


The Damask Rose Wrap, a Crochet Shawl Pattern Designed by Katya Novikova, From Delicate Crochet, Published by Stackpole Books
The Damask Rose Wrap, a Crochet Shawl Pattern Designed by Katya Novikova, From Delicate Crochet, Published by Stackpole Books

If you’re planning a romantic night out with your sweetheart, and you’re in need of a dramatic shawl or wrap to throw on over your cocktail dress, you have countless choices for great patterns to try. If you want to crochet the shawl you’ll wear, I highly recommend choosing one of the elegant, dressy shawl patterns from Delicate Crochet by Sharon Hernes Silverman. If you’d prefer to knit your shawl, check out Vogue Knitting’s second collection of shawl and wrap patterns for suitable knitted shawl patterns that are delightfully creative and stylish.


If you’d like to check out more options, you’re invited to visit our page of shawl and wrap patterns. There are many beautiful styles to chose from.

More Fantastic Knitting and Crochet Patterns for Dressy Occasions

More Fun Stuff for Valentine’s Day

Crocheted Flowers for Valentine’s Day 2020 Find Amazing 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.



Valentine-Friendly Crochet Motif Patterns From Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng

Valentine Friendly Crochet Flower Mandala Motif: This 8-pointed crochet star features a flower motif in the center. The pattern is from the book Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng, published by Interweave. This red, pink and white colorway of the floral design is not included in the book, but it's really easy to re-color all the patterns in this book using the color theory information Sandra has included. This colorway of the floral motif was crocheted and photographed by Amy Solovay.
Valentine Friendly Crochet Flower Mandala Motif: This 8-pointed crochet star features a flower motif in the center. The pattern is from the book Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng, published by Interweave. This red, pink and white colorway of the floral design is not included in the book, but it’s really easy to re-color all the patterns in this book using the color theory information Sandra has included. This colorway of the floral motif was crocheted and photographed by Amy Solovay.

Crochet Kaleidoscope is one of my favorite crochet pattern books. It features patterns for gorgeous crochet motifs including flowers, squares, circles and many others that you can crochet in any color palette you choose — including Valentine colorways and many others. The book also includes patterns for making inspiring finished projects in addition to the motifs. There is also helpful color theory information, which makes this book a truly unique and useful reference for crochet enthusiasts.

More Crochet Flowers

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

Related Resources:

2020 New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for Knitters and Crocheters Set Some Goals for Your Knitting or Crocheting in the New Year!

Happy 2020, 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 2019? 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 2019? 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!

    Valentine Gift Ideas for 2020

    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. Our list of pouch patterns has several guy-friendly options to consider.

    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!

    Dressing Up for New Year’s Eve DIY Fashion Ideas for the First Holiday of the New Year

    If you're dressing up for New Year's Eve this year, consider making a Gentle Whisper shawl like the design pictured here. This is the perfect bit of finery to pair with a cocktail dress or party dress.  The crochet pattern is by Judith Butterworth. This shawl is included in Delicate Crochet by Sharon Silverman, published by Stackpole Books.
    If you’re dressing up for New Year’s Eve this year, consider making a Gentle Whisper shawl like the design pictured here. This is the perfect bit of finery to pair with a cocktail dress or party dress. The crochet pattern is by Judith Butterworth. This shawl is included in Delicate Crochet by Sharon Silverman, published by Stackpole Books.

    Are you thinking of dressing up for New Year’s Eve this year? Do you want to whip up something unique and special to wear on this occasion? Here are a few ideas, with suggestions for patterns for knitting or crocheting each item.

    Dressy Shawls and Wraps to Knit and Crochet for the Holidays

    A lace wrap would look stunning worn overtop of a little black dress. There are so many incredible shawl and wrap options that it’s a challenge to choose just one to make and wear during the holiday season. I’m eyeing the choices available in Delicate Crochet as some of the most appealing possibilities for holiday apparel. The book offers you 8 different patterns for lacy shawls and wraps to crochet, plus bunches of other stylish, feminine apparel that would be perfect for holiday and everyday wear.


    Pictured above is the wrap I think I’d most want to make for New Year’s Eve this year. It’s the “Gentle Whisper Shawl” by Judith Butterworth. I think it would be a gorgeous holiday wrap, yet it would also be wearable for many other occasions (and non-occasions) too.

    Here you can see the Iced Silver Fox Top by Kristin Omdahl, which is another holiday-friendly pattern from Delicate Crochet. Stackpole Books is the publisher of this pattern book.
    Here you can see the Iced Silver Fox Top by Kristin Omdahl, which is another holiday-friendly pattern from Delicate Crochet. Stackpole Books is the publisher of this pattern book.

    But with so many fabulous shawl patterns available, it’s a tough choice. Of the 8 wrap patterns included in Delicate Crochet, my opinion is that 6 of the options are dressy enough for pairing with cocktail dresses and party dresses. If you were to stick with using the yarns suggested in each pattern, I think that the other 2 options are more casual than what you’d probably want to choose for New Year’s Eve, although they are lovely.

    This one book gives you SO MANY fabulous options for holiday apparel beyond just wraps and shawls. Some of the other patterns included in the book are also holiday friendly — a lace skirt, dressy lace tops, a dazzling sequinned cardigan, a beaded necklace, lacy ribbon trimmed fingerless gloves and more.


    If you’d rather knit your shawl than crochet it, check out Vogue Knitting’s collection of shawl and wrap patterns. The book includes patterns for making just about every imaginable type of knitted shawl or wrap you could want — including many styles that are appropriate for pairing with party dresses.

    Jeweled Neck Warmer

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

    I designed this easy, beginner-friendly neck warmer with the holiday season in mind. This piece is sort of like a cross between a necklace and a scarf; it’s warmer than a necklace would be, and it’s dressier than your average winter scarf. In fact, it’s dressy enough to wear out on New Year’s Eve, so if you are tired of freezing in the name of fashion, why not give this project a try.

    Dressy Holiday Jewelry

    Rose Chip Bead Necklace in Wire Crochet

    This gorgeous necklace is lovely for accessorizing on any occasion that calls for a bit of sparkle. It’s a bit artsy and, I think, totally fabulous. It’s often a conversation-starter when I wear mine; people are typically fascinated by the dichroic glass pendant, and interested to learn that each one is unique and handmade.

    If you’re spending your New Year’s Eve socializing with a rather conservative group, a pearl necklace might be a better choice in the jewelry department.


    Whatever your plans are for New Year’s Eve this year, I hope you will find something fabulous to wear — and that you’ll have SO MUCH FUN ringing in the new year! Here’s wishing you a prosperous, creative, JOYFUL 2020!

    Related Resources:

    About the Author: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She has been crocheting and crafting since childhood, and knitting since she was a teenager. Her work also appears at AmySolovay.com, ArtsWithCrafts.com and Crochet-Books.com. Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials. If you’re already an Instagram user, Amy also invites you to follow her on Instagram.

    Who’s Hitting the After Christmas Sales?

    So, it’s December 26, 2019. 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

    Celebrate Winter by Crocheting Snowflakes Today Is the First Day of Winter!

    Celebrate Winter by Crocheting Snowflakes! Grab This Free Pattern for a Winter Crochet Snowflake Applique
    Celebrate Winter by Crocheting Snowflakes! Grab This Free Pattern for a Winter Crochet Snowflake Applique

    This year, the first day of winter is today — December 21, 2019. Happy winter, everyone!

    To me, nothing says “winter” quite like snowflakes. So here’s a free pattern for a winter snowflake applique that you can use for embellishing many different kinds of craft projects.


    Crochet Snowflake Potholders
    Crochet Snowflake Potholders

    I’ve made this pattern bunches of times. So far, my favorite thing to do with this snowflake is using it as an embellishment for this snowflake potholder. It could also make a cute Christmas tree ornament; simply add a hanging loop made of chain stitches, or a purchased wire ornament hanger.

    Find More Fantastic Crochet Snowflake Patterns:

    If you want to get your hands on a whole bunch of amazing snowflake patterns, I recommend
    Crochet Snowflakes Step by Step by Caitlin Sainio as a book you’ll want to check out. This book is exclusively dedicated to the topic of crochet snowflake patterns — and the book includes thorough step-by-step instructions for each snowflake, with pictures. Not only that, you also get international symbol crochet charts and written-out text instructions, too. It’s a lovely book!


    Hexagon Motif #65 From Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng, Published by Interweave. I've modified the pattern to add a hanging loop to transform it into a Christmas ornament. I've also recolored it in red, green and white Cascade 220 yarn.
    Hexagon Motif #65 From Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng, Published by Interweave. I’ve modified the pattern to add a hanging loop to transform it into a Christmas ornament. I’ve also recolored it in red, green and white Cascade 220 yarn.

    Another book I highly recommend is Crochet Kaleidoscope by Sandra Eng. It isn’t at all supposed to be a book of snowflake patterns; it’s actually a library of crochet motif patterns, with a few more elaborate finished projects like a blanket, shawl, pillow and table runner also included. However, the book includes a whole section of hexagon motif patterns, and some of the hexagons included in the book make AWESOME snowflakes. Pictured at right, you can see one example. I’ve also crocheted this same motif in solid ice blue, which is another option for making this motif look like a snowflake. You can see the blue version pictured on this page.


    This book also includes international symbol crochet charts for each project. This book was my most-used crochet pattern book last year in 2018, and I’m looking through this book again as I plan my new projects for 2020. I think you’ll LOVE it too!


    I hope this post has pointed you in the direction of some lovely new snowflake patterns to crochet! Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed winter season this year.



    Happy knitting and crocheting,

    Amy Solovay

    Related Resources You Might Also Enjoy

    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 16, 2019. 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.

    Related Resources:

    Afghan Stitch Bracelet in Wire Crochet Free Crochet Pattern and Instructions

    Afghan Stitch Bracelet in Wire Crochet
    Afghan Stitch Bracelet in Wire Crochet

    I enjoy messing around with different crochet techniques.


    Tunisian crochet is one of my favorites. It’s fascinating to explore the infinite possibilities for working in this technique, which has been handed down to us from times past. My vintage crochet books include cryptic instructions for many different Tunisian crochet stitches, including the afghan stitch and others.


    I also find wire crochet endlessly fascinating. I’ve completed quite a few projects in this technique. While I don’t find it relaxing to work in this technique, I do usually love the results.


    Usually.

    .

    OK, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. Make that sometimes. Sometimes I love the results.


    The thing is, wire crochet is not always the ideal technique for perfectionists. If you find it satisfying to crochet nice, neat, precise, evenly spaced stitches, you may find wire crochet a bit disappointing. While it’s technically possible to crochet evenly using wire, in practice it is pretty darned difficult to do.


    This is one reason why I love the results sometimes, and sometimes not.


    When working in yarn, I’ve practiced the afghan stitch to the point that I’m technically proficient at working it; I’m able to make a pretty tidy fabric using the stitch.


    When I tried working the afghan stitch in wire, however, all of that went right out the window.

    In the picture above, you can see my first attempt at working the afghan stitch using wire. I crocheted a small sample strip of the stitch using copper craft wire, which I then transformed into a beaded bracelet.


    I think this design is pretty, and it has significant potential — although I’m not entirely happy with my first attempt. I’ve concluded that it would take more practice for me to produce a piece that’s up to my usual standards.


    If you’d like to read more about my experiences with making this bracelet, and the techniques I’ve used to complete it, I invite you to take a look at the free bracelet pattern and instructions that I have shared.


    If you’re new to the wire crochet technique, this is NOT a good starter project; I’d recommend trying this beaded wire crochet napkin ring first. That project is much easier than this one is.

    Related Resources:

    See Also: The Best Christmas Gifts for Jewelry Makers

    The Ideal Christmas Gifts for Kids Share This One Characteristic

    Are there any kids on your gift list who are between the ages of 6 and 18? If so, I have a suggestion: Instead of giving them toys or candy, give them gifts that will teach them truly useful skills — skills that will engage them, keep them busy and provide them with a lifetime’s worth of benefits.


    Why do I make this suggestion?


    Lots of reasons.


    As a freelance writer, one of the topics I covered most frequently in 2019 was the opioid crisis in the United States (which is on its way to becoming a global crisis). It’s tragic.


    What I discovered in the course of my research about this crisis: The reasons for the crisis are numerous and complex. But, surprisingly, one of the things that most frequently drives people to abuse drugs is boredom.


    Boredom!


    And how do you prevent children and teenagers from becoming bored? That isn’t easy, is it?


    Well, I can’t speak for everyone. But, as a teenager, I was not ever bored. Not ever!


    Why not?


    I wasn’t ever bored because there were lots of things I liked to spend time on. I enjoyed crochet, knitting, crafts, reading, journaling, writing stories, cheerleading, watching movies, playing with my pets, spending time with my family and friends, going out with my boyfriend and working as a waitress at a local restaurant. There simply wasn’t any reason for me to be bored.


    When I felt like maybe boredom could be coming on, the first thing I would do was reach for my crochet hooks and yarn. Using drugs was something that never even occurred to me as a possibility. Sure, I knew people who used drugs. And there were people who offered me drugs. I had no reason to accept the offers. I led a full life without drugs.


    Ultimately, the gift of a full life is the gift that we need to give to our children if we hope to see an end to the opioid crisis.


    We need to spend quality time with our children. We also need to encourage them to seek deep, meaningful friendships with others. We need to empower them to choose friends who will encourage them to be their best selves.


    We need to teach them to read for pleasure.


    We need to teach them useful skills that will engage them and give them ways to express their creativity. For me, crochet and knitting were the two that did the trick — and they’re two that I highly recommend teaching your kids (because they’re easy, popular, the barriers to entry are low, and there are easily accessible supplies available in an abundance of places ranging from your local Walmart to the internet to local craft stores if you happen to have them). But there are zillions of other possibilities: gardening, cooking, painting, drawing, computer programming, playing a musical instrument, martial arts, team sports — the list is really endless.


    Since this is a knitting and crochet site, and since knitting and crochet were such an integral part of my own engagement in childhood, I’ll finish up this post by making some recommendations for fantastic gifts that can point a child in the right direction of these specific skills. But, really, I think the most important thing is to empower your children to learn at least one useful life skill that is of interest to them. It doesn’t have to be knitting or crocheting.

    Finger Knitting for Kids: Super Cute & Easy Things to Make

    Finger Knitting for Kids book by Eriko Teranishi, published by Tuttle Publishing
    Finger Knitting for Kids Book: Super Cute & Easy Things to Make by Eriko Teranishi, published by Tuttle Publishing

    This is a truly adorable book filled with useful, easy-to-understand information aimed at kids. The book includes tutorials for finger knitting plus instructions for making bunches of super cute projects including scarves, hair accessories, home decor items and more. The projects are all appealing ones that I think could be good motivators for kids — particularly girls, but there are a few boy-friendly items too — to want to learn how to do finger knitting.


    Learn More About This Book:

    Amigurumi Adorable Collection

    Amigurumi, an Adorable Collection: Heroes, Animals and Monsters to Crochet, published by Leisure Arts
    Amigurumi, an Adorable Collection: Heroes, Animals and Monsters to Crochet, published by Leisure Arts

    Amigurumi patterns are good motivators for younger kids to learn how to crochet — because what child wouldn’t want to have such fun toys to play with after they’re finished crocheting? And many of the patterns are easy ones, requiring only chains, single crochet, and slip stitch plus some shaping and finishing skills.


    The book you see pictured here, Amigurumi Adorable Collection, gets my vote as being one of 2019’s best value crochet pattern books. There are bunches of fun, playful, adorable patterns packed into this book at a super affordable price. The patterns in this book are suitable for boys and girls, both. I think any child who’s old enough to crochet would be excited to have a copy of this book.


    Learn More About This Book:

    Crochet for Girls

    Crochet for Girls book by Zess, published by Stackpole Books
    Crochet for Girls book by Zess, published by Stackpole Books

    If you’re shopping for Christmas gifts for one or more girls, I think Crochet for Girls by Zess is an excellent book to consider. This book will empower your girl(s) to crochet some fun, stylish new wardrobe pieces like sweaters, dresses, skirts, hats, leg warmers and purses. They’ll be able to enjoy all the satisfaction that comes from choosing suitable yarns and colors and then making their own garments and accessories.


    The majority of the patterns in this book are for girls’ sizes 4,6,8 and 10. I think the ideal age for starting to crochet is usually around age 6; and you couldn’t expect a girl much younger than 6 to be able to read this book anyway. So if you’re going to give this book as a gift to a girl, I’d recommend giving it to a girl between the ages of 6 and 10. It’s also possible that there may be some mature 5-year-olds who could enjoy success with crochet, although they would need major help with actually making a project.


    This book would also make a great gift for a mom who wants to crochet clothing or accessories for her daughters between the ages of 4-10.


    This book is simply delightful, and I think girls will really enjoy crocheting from this book. They’re also likely to enjoy wearing and using the projects they make from it. I wish someone would make a comparable book on Crochet for Boys…

    Crochet Hooks

    Any crochet hook or crochet hook set could be a good gift for a new crocheter who doesn’t already have the tools and supplies needed for crochet. If you’re totally, completely dead broke, a single aluminum crochet hook only costs about $3 and would be sufficient to help a new crocheter get started. Boye and Susan Bates are 2 of the most popular brands of aluminum crochet hooks. Either of these brands are great for beginners; both make sturdy enough hooks for beginners to succeed with. In general, a size H hook would be a good choice for a first crochet hook — or a size G, if your crocheter will be focusing mostly on making amigurumi crochet projects.


    But, ideally, if you have the resources, it would be ideal to give your aspiring crocheter a set of multiple crochet hooks so s/he has the tools to crochet a broad variety of projects. A no-frills set of aluminum crochet hooks is still a budget-friendly gift. If you have a bigger budget for this particular gift, a set of sturdy ergonomic hooks, like Clover Soft Touch crochet hooks, would be an improvement over the simple aluminum ones. But any crochet hook that gets your gift recipient started is a good choice. S/he can always upgrade later.

    Knitting Needles for Beginners

    I think the finger knitting book I mentioned above is an excellent choice for beginners to knitting for a number of reasons. One is that it entirely eliminates all the stress around learning how to hold knitting needles and figuring out which knitting needles to buy (never mind the expense of knitting needles. In general, needles are pretty affordable, but the expenses add up if you end up buying new needles frequently.)


    But if you want to buy knitting needles as a gift for a new knitter, there are 2 resources I recommend consulting. The first is our beginner’s guide to knitting needles; and the other is whichever pattern your beginning knitter will start with. If there’s a pattern s/he wants to make, the ideal knitting needles are the size and style of needles recommended in the knitting pattern.

    The Best Yarn for Beginners to Crochet and Knitting

    Cascade 220 Worsted Weight Wool Yarn
    Cascade 220 Yarn

    In general, the best yarn for new knitters and crocheters is smooth and either light or bright colored. If there’s a pattern s/he wants to work, buy the yarn recommended in the pattern.


    Otherwise, if you have absolutely no idea which yarn to buy for a beginning crocheter or knitter, I recommend Cascade 220 as being one of the top choices you’d want to consider. This yarn is sturdy, affordable, virtually flaw-free and easy to work with. It stands up to insane amounts of abuse. It comes in a huge color palette, so you’ll be able to find the colors you need. It’s easy to fix mistakes made with this yarn. In short, it’s everything a beginner could possibly want in a yarn.


    So there you have it: Those are my thoughts on the ideal Christmas gifts for kids. I welcome your comments, particularly if you have other actionable suggestions for how to empower kids to lead happy and fulfilled lives — or other suggestions for gifts that will help them do so.

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