Do you enjoy creating gifts to give to your family, friends, and colleagues? Have you started your holiday crafting yet? If you’re in need of some inspiration, or project ideas, for what to make for your inner circle this year, read on for a few pattern suggestions and book suggestions you might want to consider.
For knitters who need a broad variety of quick, creative, unique, gift-friendly patterns, I highly recommend Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Christmas Knits. This book has patterns for knitting some Christmas-themed items and also some plainer items that could be used all year around — so it’s useful for making birthday and other types of gifts beyond just Christmas gifts. Some of the patterns included in the book are truly fabulous ones!
If you want to crochet or knit gifts that are specifically Christmas themed, I invite you to check out our page of Christmas patterns.
If you enjoy making projects using multiple craft techniques, you might like Mags Kandis’ lovely book called Gifted: Lovely Little Things to Knit and Crochet. Interweave Press was the original publisher of this book, which features an interesting variety of craft patterns. Most of the included items are reasonably quick to make, and there are items that will suit many different recipients. The majority of patterns featured are knitting patterns, but there are a few crochet patterns included; there are also ideas for felting, needle felting, sewing, and even a few recipes. More details are available in my book review.
Are you in need of patterns for knitting or crocheting Christmas gifts for your loved ones, friends and colleagues? If so, our website is a great place to find project ideas, free patterns and recommendations for pay-for patterns that are truly worth the money.
Pictured above is a set that includes 2 crocheted potholders and one dishcloth. This set makes use of both Tunisian crochet and traditional crochet techniques for an interesting project that is as much fun to make as it is to give. I made my project samples in red, yellow and blue — but wouldn’t this set be adorable if you were to crochet it in red, white and green for Christmas? Or, you could re-color it into just about any 3 colors to match bakeware, dinnerware, kitchen decor, etc. If you have friends or relatives who like to bake Christmas cookies every year, this set would be a charming gift to give each of them.
If you aren’t yet familiar with Tunisian crochet, don’t worry; we’ve posted a free afghan stitch tutorial that will teach you the easy, basic stitch you need to know for crocheting these projects.
The patterns for making this set are free here on our website:
If you like this idea, but the set you see pictured above isn’t quite what you had in mind, I invite you to browse through our potholder patterns and dishcloth patterns to find more ideas. I’ve posted patterns for numerous other potholders and dishcloths that you might enjoy making — some of which are more “Christmas-y” than this set is. Here are a few highlights:
Christmas Crochet Potholder Patterns
Wonderful Knitting Patterns for Christmas and Other Occasions
Arne & Carlos Favorite Designs: This is an AMAZING book filled with gift-worthy patterns for Christmas ornaments, knitted birds, toys, dolls, crochet blankets, knitted slippers, Scandinavian-style sweaters and bunches of other super cool projects. If you’re a proficient knitter, and you want to buy one craft pattern book that could give you patterns to use for making gifts for basically everyone on your gift list, this would be my suggestion for the book to buy. Most of the patterns are for knitters, with a few crochet and embroidery projects included as well.
If you need more Christmas gift ideas, I invite you to check out the following pages on our website:
This year, Mother’s Day will fall on Sunday, May 10, 2020. That gives you some time to delight a special Mom (or perhaps a grandmother, mother-in-law, or stepmom) by making a handmade gift to give her this Mother’s Day.<
If this is an idea that sounds interesting to you, we invite you to browse through our Mother’s Day gift ideas to find ideas for the perfect gift. Here we’ve presented a roundup of a few fantastic ideas for Mother’s Day craft projects; we hope you’ll be inspired by these suggestions.
Design a Sweater That Your Mom Would Love!
Melissa Leapman is an authority on sweater knitting design. She’s enjoyed a successful career as a knitwear designer and has designed sweaters and sweater patterns for bunches of books, magazines and clothing companies. Melissa shares a simple, beginner-friendly, step-by-step sweater design process in a brand new book called 6,000+ Pullover Possibilities. So if you’ve always wanted to design custom-made sweaters to give as gifts to your loved ones, this book will guide you through the process. If your mom knits, the book itself would also be a spectacular gift for her. Click here to shop for the book at Amazon, or click here for more info in my detailed book review of this title.
Crochet a basket for mom. Fill it with fancy, extra-special crocheted washcloths plus scented lotions, beautiful sculpted soaps and a bath puff — or whichever toiletries your mom would find most enjoyable.
There are so many things that moms might love that it's hard to fit them all in one blog post. I invite you to browse our website to find even more knitting and crochet patterns, some that mom might love, some to make for Dad for Father’s Day, and hopefully even some to use for making something nice for yourself too.
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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.
Want to crochet a ladies’ scarf for Christmas? If so, you have zillions of possible choices — but the one pictured here is a particularly lovely choice. It’s totally gift worthy. And if you celebrate Christmas, this cheerful scarf could be a fantastic addition to your own wardrobe, too.
For those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas — and even for those of you who do — a quick color change would transform this scarf into an everyday design you could wear any time. You might prefer to crochet it in colors that match a favorite outfit, or a favorite sports team’s colors. There are many possibilities. I crocheted a couple of other versions in different holiday-themed colors.
The free crochet pattern is available here on our website, along with many other similar and not-so-similar patterns that might also be of interest. I invite you to browse through our pattern library to find a variety of different options for future crochet projects you’ll enjoy.
Do you have a big family? How about a bunch of friends, co-workers, and nearby neighbors?
On one hand, it’s lovely to have a large network of people you know — and can turn to for insights, gossip, entertainment, fun or help as needed.
On the other hand, the more people you know, and the more people you have in your life, the more likely you are to forget about somebody important when gift-giving occasions occur.
This is something that’s easily avoided with a little pre-planning.
The secret: create a space, perhaps a shelf in your closet, unused cupboard in the kitchen, or area in the garage, that’s devoted specifically to gifts for upcoming holidays and occasions. Devote most of the space to gifts you want to give to the main players in your life — but also set aside at least part of the space for stashing some make-ahead gifts that would be appropriate for many different people. These would be gifts you can give to unexpected guests.
Throughout the year, stock this space with likely-looking items that you either buy on sale, or make ahead of time.
This need not be just a stash of Christmas gifts. You may wish to keep a few baby items on hand so you always have something ready if you get a last-minute baby shower invitation. It’s also a good idea to have some birthday-friendly items, and an assortment of greeting cards, ready to put in your stash.
A Few Ideas for Stocking Your Make-Ahead Gift Stash:
If there are bunches of kids on your gift list, amigurumi toys are fantastic items to stash.
Christmas ornaments are failsafe gifts for people who celebrate Christmas. (Do avoid giving them to anyone who’s Jewish or Messianic…or for that matter, anyone at all who doesn’t celebrate Christmas.)
If your crowd is of-age and enjoys alcoholic beverages, bottles of liqueur or wine, tucked inside pretty handmade bottle cozies, are a possibility for making ahead of time.
Pouches full of small items like office supplies, little toys, wrapped candies, hair accessories or lottery tickets are creative gifts that work well for emergency gift-giving.
The office supplies might be appreciated by co-workers you don’t know all that well.
The toys would be fun gifts for kids.
The wrapped candies would be great for just about anybody who isn’t diabetic or on a restricted diet.
The hair accessories would be nice for little girls, tweens or teens.
The lottery tickets, well, I normally think they’re a waste of money — but in the past I have had fun giving tickets to coworkers.
One year I bought 50 tickets and gave them out, one each, to 50 different co-workers.
I wish I could tell you that somebody hit the jackpot, but the results were not that exciting. One guy won $20; several other co-workers won additional tickets. Overall, the state of California was the biggest winner…but at least that idea neatly solved the problem of how I could get gifts for 50 co-workers on a tiny budget of only $50.
In the past I’ve experimented with maintaining a gift stash like the one I’m describing. In my experience, the stashed items that came in handiest were the baby projects. For whatever reason, I never seem to get much notice when a new baby is about to make an appearance. For that reason, I always try to keep a few baby projects on hand, or at least in progress, so I’m never caught empty handed. Preferably, it’s nice to have a mix that includes some baby boy projects, some baby girl projects, and some gender-neutral projects — just to cover your bases.
A Tip: It’s a good idea to wrap each gift that you stash ahead of time, but if you do, discreetly stick a post-it note to the package with a note reminding you about what’s inside. Be sure to remove the note before you give the gift to its final recipient!
I hope these ideas will help you avoid possible embarrassment, not to mention some of the biggest stress-creators that come along with holiday entertaining and gift-giving. Won’t it be nice to never again have to worry when long-lost relatives turn up on Christmas morning — because you will be able to gracefully grab appropriate gifts out of your stash to present to them?
Wishing you and yours all the best for a happy fall, followed by a happy holiday season this year.