In the U.S., the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) signifies the official start of the holiday shopping season. In the spirit of keeping the holidays a little more handmade and small business and a little less mass produced and corporate, I’m sharing several holiday gift guides today.
Handmade gifts to make
This time of year, many crafters are using every spare moment to make holiday gifts for their loved ones. Tracie Barrett‘s Gift Giving Guide on the Fibers by Tracie blog gives some great suggestions for quick-to-make holiday gifts and Fearless Leader recently posted a teaser for the Crochet Liberation Front‘s upcoming Official Guide to Super Awesome Gift Giving.
My personal favorite last minute crochet gift projects are scarves made with bulky yarns (or multiple strands of yarn), hats, and cotton washcloths.
For scarves and washcloths, I turn to my stitch guides for inspiration. Don’t have any stitch guides?
- Buy one! You can check out my reviews of crochet stitch guides here and here and knitting stitch guides here.
- You can find crochet instructions for the crunch stitch and sedge stitch, both of which are excellent for washcloths and scrubbies, in my Crochet 101 CAL.
- You can find many crochet and knit stitches through the Lion Brand Stitchfinder, the Annie’s Attic Stitch Guide, the Crochet Pattern Central compilation of written crochet tutorials and video tutorials, and Knitting on the Net‘s Library of Knitting Stitches.
Not sure how many stitches to start with? This post in my Crochet 101 CAL explains how to use your gauge to figure out how many stitches to start with if you want to make a project of a specific size.
Hats make wonderful, quick holiday gifts. Some of my favorite crochet hat patterns:
- Cute Kid’s Earflap Hats (2-4 and 6-8 years old),
- Talkin’ Blues, Be Easy, Kool Rock Ski, and Skully (a great unisex gift!) from Get Your Crochet On! Hip Hats & Cool Caps (adult sizes).
- Stocking Caps (child and adult size), my first published pattern from the December, 2010 issue of Crochet World add some holiday cheer.
I just reviewed 60 More Quick Knits, which has some great knitted hat patterns, as well as patterns for mittens and scarfs. My favorite crochet mitten pattern, amazingly available in 8 sizes from infant to XL adult, is Heart Strings by Cathy Pipinich.
Amigurumi can make a fun gift, too.
- The Boy and Girl patterns from June Gilbank‘s The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amigurumi are easy to customize.
- I don’t want to completely spill the beans on Stacey Trock‘s Crocheted Softies: 18 Adorable Animals from Around the World before the blog tour, but let me just say the book is AWESOME! Anything from within its pages would be a fabulous gift, but Slithers the Snake doubles as a scarf for the fashionably adventurous on your gift list.
- Some great free amigurumi patterns are available from Stacey at Fresh Stitches including Howie the Holiday Penguin and Mr. Scrappy. (Stacey also sells kits for her most popular amigurumi patterns in her Etsy shop.)
- For those of you celebrating Christmas, PlanetJune has a free Poinsettia pattern.
Speaking of books I haven’t had a chance to review yet, there are three great patterns in Little Crochet: Modern Designs for Babies and Toddlers by Linda Permann that would make speedy children’s gifts: Cozy Crawlers Leg Warmers (6 mo – 2 years, and available here as a free excerpt), Tiny Tee Appliques to add to store bought or hand sewn clothes, and Beanie and Bonnet (in baby, toddler, and child sizes). (Beanie and Bonnet errata available here.)
A handmade gift bag can be a wonderful addition to a handmade or store bought gift. These bags can be also reused, unlike conventional wrapping paper, making them more eco-friendly.Kathryn from Crochet Concupiscence has a great list of crochet patterns for bags in this blog post. The Mel Stampz blog has a list of 50 templates and patterns for papercrafts gift bags.
Deborah Atkinson from Snowcatcher has excellent crochet patterns and tutorials in her Snowflake Monday posts. (It would be great if you could contribute to her charity of choice, Bike MS, so that she can send you a PDF of her 20 most popular designs.) These snowflakes would make great holiday decorations or embellishments for gifts. Some of the patterns would also work well as a set of holiday coasters.
With all of this holiday crocheting and knitting, you may be running low on yarn. So why not stop by your Local Yarn Shop to celebrate Small Business Saturday? You can even register your American Express card in advance to get a $25 credit on your statement if you spend at least $25 at a small business on Saturday, November 26. Your LYS employees are guaranteed to have some additional project ideas and maybe even a few new patterns or yarns for you try out. (If you’ll be yarn shopping in NYC, check out my Visitor’s Guide to New York City Yarn Shops.)
Enjoy the first gift guide, and feel free to share your favorite gifts to make in the comments!