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.

Our Readers’ Top Pick for a Crochet Stitch Dictionary in 2019

Melissa Leapman's Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters
Melissa Leapman’s Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters, Published by Quarto US / Creative Publishing International

For the past few months, I’ve been working on updating my Christmas Gift Guide for 2019. One of the mainstays on the list for the past couple of years has been the book you see pictured here: Melissa Leapman’s Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters. This has also been the crochet book that sold best through our affiliate links so far in 2019.


I finally made the decision to pull it off our list of best gifts in 2019 — but that’s only because so many of our readers have already bought copies of this book for themselves and all their friends who crochet. It hasn’t actually stopped being a great gift.

I own a copy of this book, and it is one of my most frequently-used crochet references; if you’re looking for a substantial gift to give a crochet enthusiast, one that s/he’s likely to get a LOT of use from, this book is a fantastic choice.

Learn More About This Book:

Knitting Warm Mittens for Winter

If you're interested in knitting warm mittens for winter, check out this new  book called Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.
If you’re interested in knitting warm mittens for winter, check out this new book called Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.

It’s December! Winter is fast approaching. The first official day of winter isn’t until later this month — Saturday, December 21, 2019, to be exact. I don’t know about you, but in my neighborhood, it feels like winter is already here.


Those of us who live in the colder regions are already starting to bundle up in warm mittens, scarves, hats and sweaters. For me, knitting some new mittens is high on the priority list.


You too? If you’re thinking of knitting some new mittens right now, I have bunches of pattern suggestions you might want to consider.


For starters, Trafalgar Square Books has a lovely new knitting pattern book available that features knitted accessories including mittens, socks, hats and a cowl — but the majority of the patterns are for knitting mittens. The book is called Winter Knits From Scandinavia.. The patterns included in this collection are all beautiful, sophisticated, eye-catching designs that have broad appeal.


Maja's Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Maja’s Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books

Maja’s Swedish Mittens is another charming option for a mitten pattern book you might enjoy. This particular book features only patterns for making mittens and fingerless gloves — no socks, cowls, sweaters or other types of patterns are included. If you want to make mittens that convert to fingerless gloves, there’s an extremely useful and practical pattern included you can use for that purpose.


One more option to consider is Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens. This delightful book features mitten patterns that have amazing “personality” — lots of unique animal designs and remarkable design themes. Definitely take a look at this book if you enjoy raking in the compliments, because people are likely to be staring at your hands and asking where you got your fabulous mittens when you wear any of the projects you make from this book.


If mittens aren’t what you feel like knitting right now, no worries. We have bunches of other project ideas you might enjoy. You’re invited to check out this list of winter knitting and crochet patterns to find ideas for making just about any type of project you might want to get started on knitting or crocheting this winter. Happy crafting!

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.

What Do You Want for Christmas This Year?

I’m in the process of updating my Christmas gift guide for 2019. It’s harder than I expected it to be. There are sooooo many worthwhile yarns, tools, patterns, books, organizers and other gifts available that trying to choose the best ones is mind boggling. I’ve made an effort to narrow it down to the items that I think would have the broadest appeal to the largest numbers of my readers, but I am sure I must have missed some great suggestions.


It occurs to me that it’s been awhile since I asked y’all what you want for Christmas. Want to share your wish list? I’m particularly interested in knowing which yarns you’re wishing for this year. I look forward to your comments!

One of My Top Gift Suggestions From Last Year’s Christmas Gift Guide

Knitting for the Fun of It! Book by Frida Ponten, Published by Trafalgar Square Books. The book cover, pictured here, shows several of the colorful knitting projects you'll learn how to make using the patterns and instructions included. Click the photo to shop for this book at Amazon.
Knitting for the Fun of It! by Frida Ponten, Published by Trafalgar Square Books. The book cover, pictured here, shows several of the colorful knitting projects you’ll learn how to make using the patterns and instructions included. Click the photo to shop for this book at Amazon.

Pictured here is Knitting for the Fun of It! which is one of my all-time favorite knitting books. Last year, this book was high at the top of the list of my suggestions for the best Christmas gifts for knitters enthusiasts. I decided to remove it from the gift guide this year, because many of you already purchased it for your friends last year. But, for those of you who are new to my blog and newsletter, this book remains an excellent gift idea — and it’s also a good choice for knitters who enjoy knitting gifts for others. There are numerous patterns for knitting small, quick, “giftable” projects included in the book, like wrist warmers and fingerless gloves. The book also includes instructions for dyeing yarn — and what knitter wouldn’t want to receive hand-dyed yarn as a gift, if you are adventurous enough to want to try that this holiday season?


This book is high up on my list of must-have gifts because the patterns in the book are stylish, sophisticated and SUPER EASY! Not all the patterns are easy ones, but there are enough easy patterns that you can feel confident in buying this book for a beginning knitter; she’ll find plenty of projects worth making.


Although there are several solid-colored knitting projects included in the book, most of these patterns are bold and colorful without going over the edge. They’re exactly the items you want to grab when your outfit looks unremarkable. A few examples include a colorful chevron scarf; embroidered wrist warmers; a pair of colorful striped socks; eye-catching patterned mittens; and others. The book will even teach you how to dye your own yarns.


Learn More About This Book:

So tell me, lovelies, which yarns are you dying to add to your stash this year? Do you have any recommendations for new pattern books that you’ve recently been working with and LOVING enough to suggest them as great gifts for other knitters and crocheters? Thanks in advance for any insights you’d care to share.

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 2019. 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 Tunisian 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 might 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 invite you to check out my ideas for how to organize yarn. If you live in a small space, this is definitely must-know information.


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

Related Resources:

Christmas Blankets to Crochet

There are bunches of reasons you might want to crochet a Christmas blanket. Perhaps a blanket would make the ideal gift for one of your friends; or perhaps you’d like one for making your own home cozier and more festive during the holiday season. If you’d like to crochet a Christmas blanket for Christmas 2019, perhaps you’ll be interested in the following patterns:

Christmas Tree Blanket With Checkerboards

Crochet Christmas Blanket -- Free Pattern
Crochet Christmas Blanket — Free Pattern

To make this blanket, you crochet squares in 3 different patterns; one is a square with a Christmas tree motif, and the other 2 are checkerboards. Then you sew the squares together and add an edging. You can check out the free crochet blanket pattern HERE. There’s also a free pattern available for a matching Christmas pillow.

Peppermint Pinwheels Crochet Blanket Pattern

The Peppermint Pinwheels Afghan by Carole G. Wilder, published in Crochet Afghan Revival by Leisure Arts.
The Peppermint Pinwheels Afghan by Carole G. Wilder, published in Crochet Afghan Revival by Leisure Arts.

This festive blanket is an intermediate-level crochet pattern. To make this project, you’ll ideally want to use red and white worsted weight yarn plus a size H / 5.0 mm crochet hook. If you crochet to the correct gauge and follow the pattern instructions, the end result will be a blanket measuring approximately 56 inches (142 cm) x 56 inches (142 cm).


Would you like to make an afghan just like this one? Grab the pattern at either of the following links:

Design Your Own Christmas Blanket

Want to customize your own Christmas afghan? If so, there are several other resources you should know about.


Design Your Own Christmas Blanket using this Puff Stitch Christmas tree square
Design Your Own Christmas Blanket using this Puff Stitch Christmas tree square

This oversized Christmas tree square could be used for designing your own Christmas blanket, or for any other similar Christmas projects you might happen to have in mind. This is a free crochet pattern, so please don’t hesitate to use it if you can think of something you’d like to make with it. And check out this page of Christmas patterns, because we’ve made bunches of other free Christmas designs available in addition to this one. It’s our Christmas gift to you — enjoy! (The page also includes links to some of our favorite pay-for Christmas books and patterns, plus links to our favorite free patterns made available by other designers, in addition to the free designs we’ve made available).

Crochet Stitch Dictionaries for Designing Your Own Christmas Blankets:

Most crochet stitch dictionaries aren’t specifically Christmas books, but you can use them for designing whatever Christmas projects you like — including blankets. If you enjoy designing your own blankets and other projects, the following are some wonderful stitch dictionaries you might want to consider adding to your crochet book stash:


500+ Crochet Stitches With CD — Booklet + CD Bundle:


If you have a need for massive quantities of different crochet stitches to work with,this bundle is the all-time, absolute BEST VALUE I know of. The bundle includes a CD-rom with 7 different PDF-formatted crochet stitch dictionaries, PLUS a beginner’s guide to crochet in paperback format. These books are mostly stitch dictionaries, but a couple of them also include stitch sampler blanket patterns. The paperback book also includes 2 lovely, appealing blanket patterns. So you actually get a nice mix of stitches, PLUS you also get a few blanket patterns, too. Plus you also get a beginner’s guide to crochet.


Various authors wrote the PDF e-books, which means that you get access to crochet stitches in a whole bunch of different styles. The books’ authors include some of the crochet’s most noteworthy “celebrities” — like Darla Sims and the late Jean Leinhauser, who has been acknowledged as one of the Great Matriarchs of needlework publishing.


Overall, I think this is a pretty incredible offer. If you need a new stitch dictionary, you should definitely consider grabbing this bundle before the folks at Annie’s come to their senses and raise the price on it.


Learn More About This Bundle:

50 Stitches for Afghans:


50 Stitches for Afghans, a crochet stitch dictionary by Darla Sims, published by Annie's Crochet
50 Stitches for Afghans, a crochet stitch dictionary by Darla Sims, published by Annie’s Crochet

One of my favorite crochet pattern designers, Darla Sims, wrote this beautiful book giving you 50 different stitches that are all suitable to use for crocheting afghans and blankets. None of them specifically intended to be Christmas patterns (although, to my eyes, the 24th stitch pattern in the book looks a lot like Christmas trees; if you were to crochet rows 3 and 4 in pine green yarn, and the other rows in white yarn, I think it would look like rows of evergreens in the snow.) Anyway…while they aren’t specifically Christmas patterns, they’d be totally usable for designing Christmas blankets. Simply use Christmas-friendly colors for crocheting them, and combine them with Christmas-friendly motifs from other sources if you want to create a more overtly Christmas-friendly design.


Learn More About This Book:

We hope these ideas are inspiring to you, and that you’ll be able to find or design exactly the right pattern for the Christmas blanket of your dreams. Happy crocheting, and Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate this holiday.

Crocheted and Knitted Mittens Make Fantastic Christmas Gifts

Do you enjoy making Christmas gifts for your loved ones? If so, you still have some time between now and Christmas to finish some wonderful handmade gifts for them.


There are zillions of possibilities for nice things you could make for your family and friends. But if you live in an area where December is a cold month, mittens make lovely, practical gifts that the recipient will be able to use right away.

The Following Books Offer You Fantastic, Gift-Worthy Mitten Patterns to Knit and Crochet:

Maja’s Swedish Mittens

Maja's Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Maja’s Swedish Mittens, a knitting pattern book by Maja Karlsson, published by Trafalgar Square Books

Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens

Jorid Linvik's Big Book of Knitted Mittens: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Knitting Patterns
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Mittens: 45 Distinctive Scandinavian Knitting Patterns

Winter Knits From Scandinavia

Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.
Winter Knits From Scandinavia by Jenny Alderbrant, published by Trafalgar Square Books.

Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family

Crochet Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family, published by Annie's Crochet
Crochet Hats, Scarves & Mittens for the Family, published by Annie’s Crochet

These books would all be excellent choices if you want to crochet or knit mittens for your inner circle for Christmas 2019 — or any time.


Here’s wishing you and yours a blessed holiday season this year.

See Also: Christmas Crochet and Knitting; Christmas Crafts

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