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!

Free Bracelet Patterns to Crochet With Beads and Wire

Red Coral Chip Bead Crochet Bracelet
Red Coral Chip Bead Crochet Bracelet

Would you believe this bracelet is crocheted? To my eyes, a piece like this doesn’t look much like crochet — but it definitely is, since the project was made using a crochet hook and crochet stitches. The difference is basically in the materials I used; instead of thread or yarn, I used wire to work the stitches. The entire bracelet is comprised of the ultra-simple beaded chain stitch.

Crochet stitches look different when worked in wire than they do when worked in yarn or thread. If you add chunky beads to the mix, like I did here, they can obscure the crochet work even more.

I’ve posted a couple other similar bracelets here and here — and you can see even more ideas on our list of free crochet bracelet patterns.

Want to see how to do projects like this in more detail? If so, there are a couple of pages that you might like to take a look at.

The first page I suggest is this bead and wire crochet tutorial, which will show you the basics of the technique.

I also recommend checking out our wire crochet patterns. Some of them include beads and some don’t. I think there’s a nice mix of patterns for you to choose from.

See Also:


Crocheting Beautiful Beaded Baubles

I find beads completely fascinating, not to mention irresistible. Do you share this fascination too?


Crochet Heart Applique With Beads

I think beads are gorgeous all on their own — and I enjoy looking at them even when they are unused, sitting on a shelf, packaged in their humble little tubes and containers.


But when you combine them with crochet, and start using them to make beautiful beaded baubles — that’s even better. When you find a combination of beads and thread or yarn that work well together, the results can be spectacular.

This beaded heart applique is one example of a little crocheted trinket that is greatly enhanced by the presence of beads.

In the photo collage pictured here, you can see two different views of the beaded heart shape. At left is how my sample heart looked after I finished crocheting it, but before I figured out what to do with it. If you follow the pattern as directed, you’ll hopefully end up with a heart shape that looks something like that. Of course, you can choose different colored beads and thread to make the design your own.

On the right, you can see one idea for what you can do with this heart; you can use it as a mini photo frame in a scrapbook page or album. It also makes a lovely applique on crocheted, knitted or sewn craft projects.

I picked this particular project to highlight since Valentine’s Day is coming up soon — and it’s an ideal Valentine project. However, there are many beautiful examples of beaded crochet, and many lovely free patterns and tutorials on the Internet.

Find More of Our Web Pages on the Topic of Bead Crochet:

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!

    Who’s Hitting the After Christmas Sales?

    So, it’s December 26, 2017. 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.

    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

    Free Online Sock Knitting Class With Vickie Howell on November 9, 2017 Learn How to Knit Socks

    Sock Knitting Class With Vickie Howell: Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks
    Sock Knitting Class With Vickie Howell: Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks

    Would you like to learn how to knit socks? If so, perhaps you’ll be excited to learn about a free broadcast of Vickie Howell’s class called Knit Maker 201: Knit Socks at Creativelive. The free broadcast of this sock knitting class will take place on November 9-10, 2017. My understanding of the situation is that, if you want access to the free broadcast, you’ll have to RSVP for the class before it starts to air on November 9th. Tip: After you click through to the course description page, look up at the top right-hand side of your monitor for the black button that says “RSVP”. (There’s also a blue button that says “Buy” if you prefer to just buy the class and watch it immediately.)


    I RSVP’ed for the class and am looking forward to it. 🙂 I hope you’ll have a chance to check it out, too.


    This isn’t usually a free class; the regular class price is $29. So getting in on the free broadcast is actually a really good deal. If for some reason you miss the free broadcast, or any part of it, you’ll be able to access the class at its regular price any time afterwards.

    Creativelive offers bunches of excellent classes on a variety of topics — knitting, crochet, sewing, photography, business and more. You can click here to see what other classes are airing soon at CreativeLive.

    Learn More About Sock Knitting:

    Supplies You’ll Need for Sock Knitting

    To knit socks, you’ll need sock yarn and appropriate knitting needles. Most people knit socks using sets of double-pointed sock knitting needles. I’m pretty sure it’s also possible to knit socks using a circular knitting needle that has an ultra-short cord length — if you can find a needle that’s the right size.

    Where to Find Spectacular Sock Knitting Patterns

    Denise Samson included 4 excellent sock patterns in her book called The Cable Knitter’s Guide published by Trafalgar Square Books. The sock patterns are as follows:

    • Cozy Slippers — These are gorgeous cabled slipper socks that look like they’d be worth the effort — they are that pretty. If you knit gifts for loved ones, the slippers would be an extra-special gift.
    • Socks With Reversible Cables — These slouchy socks have cabled cuffs that you can pull up or fold down. The cables look the same on either side, so there’s no need to worry about hiding a “wrong” side.
    • Knit Socks With Reversible Cables from the Book The Cable Knitter's Guide by Denise Samson, Published by Trafalgar Square Books
      Knit Socks With Reversible Cables from the Book The Cable Knitter’s Guide by Denise Samson, Published by Trafalgar Square Books
    • Maj’s Ankle Socks — These elegant lace ankle socks feature a lovely cabled design.
    • Lace and Cable Knit Ankle Socks from the Book The Cable Knitter’s Guide by Denise Samson, Published by Trafalgar Square Books
    • Tormrod’s Stockings — These intricate cabled knee socks are guy-friendly; the author designed them for her significant other to wear on his camping trips and ski trips.

    The socks aren’t the only fantastic patterns in the book; this book is actually sort of like a cable stitch dictionary that also offers you finished patterns for trying out the cables. There are also excellent patterns for blankets, sweaters and bunches more accessories.

    My Sock Knitting Saga

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit socks. When I was a teenager, I invested the money in buying a lovely set of bamboo double-pointed needles; but I couldn’t figure out how to use them despite having looked at several books and magazine articles on the topic of sock knitting. I made an honest effort to learn how to knit socks, but without someone to show me the finer points, it wasn’t long before I lost interest. There were too many other amazing projects to work on. I decided to invest my efforts in knitting sweaters and hats, and I never actually returned to sock knitting.


    Until now…


    When I was traveling in Europe a few years ago, I bought a circular knitting needle that I think (hope) will work for knitting socks. I’m thinking it will be preferable to dealing with bunches of individual double-pointed needles. Having never successfully knit socks with any type of knitting needles, the jury is out on whether I will be able to do this. We’ll see!

    I’ll be pulling my circular and double-pointed knitting needles out of the closet and tuning in to Vickie Howell’s sock knitting class on November 9th to see if I can finally learn how to knit socks. Here’s hoping I’ll have more success this time around than I have in the past — and here’s hoping you’ll join me and learn how to knit socks, too!

    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.

    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.

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