In January, the last thing on the mind of most crocheters (or knitters) is holiday gifts – unless, of course, they are still working on “I.O.U.” gifts from the previous year or are nursing repetitive stress injuries. But we all know that the holiday crafting season can creep up quickly, so why not start a handmade gift closet?
In this post, I share four tips for starting and stocking your own handmade gift closet, along with a free crochet pattern roundup to help get you started.
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But first, what’s a handmade gift closet?
Some of you may already have a “gift closet” hiding in your home. Unless you live in a big house, it’s unlikely to be the size of a closet, but you may have a drawer, a bag in the back of a cupboard, or some other spot where you stash potential last-minute gifts.
These may be gifts you’ve received and want to “re-gift,” inexpensive items you’ve bought on sale, or low-denomination gift cards. The gift closet is that place you dive into when you suddenly need a gift for someone outside of your inner circle of close family and friends and don’t have time to shop.
A handmade gift closet is similar – a stockpile of handmade gifts that are appropriate for a variety of recipients and occasions that you can dig into at the last minute and still come up with something special.
4 Tips for Starting and Stocking a Handmade Gift Closet (with a Free Crochet Pattern Roundup)
To start building your gift closet, think about the types of folks you are likely to need unexpected gifts for during the year.
Here are just a few examples…
- As a young, single adult, you may be looking for unisex gifts for your peers and co-workers.
- As a parent of a school age child, you may need occasional gifts for teachers or school staff, or for your child’s new friends.
- If your friends and family all seem to be having babies, you’ll want to keep some newborn gifts around.
- As a married couple, you might want to keep some host or hostess gifts on hand.
Think about your personal situation and decide what types of projects would be the best to keep in your gift closet.
Then, start making small projects that would be appropriate gifts.
Although I generally recommend customizing gifts for a particular recipient, gift closet items are best made more general so they can be used for a variety of occassions and people. Since gift closet projects are likely to go to people you don’t have a close relationship with, small projects and stashbusters are perfect because they are inexpensive and fast to make.
There are so many projects to choose from, so keep reading for a roundup of free crochet patterns to get you started!
Keep your projects visible.
It won’t help to have a gift closet stocked with gifts if you don’t know what’s available or can’t find things when you’re looking for a gift.
You can keep a list of projects that you cross off as you gift, or use a clear container to store your projects so you can see what’s inside easily.
Don’t make it a chore.
In my opinion, too many crocheters (and knitters) spend far too much time crocheting for others and not enough crocheting for themselves!
Give yourself permission to make projects for you (or projects that you love to make) most of the time, and perhaps one gift closet project a month. If you choose quick projects, it won’t cut too deeply into your crochet time and you’ll build a little inventory of homemade gifts in no time.
Here are some pattern ideas to get you started on your own handmade gift closet!
- Gift card cozies add a handmade touch to an impersonal gift. Pictured from left to right:
- Mug hugs and cup cozies can be gifted by themselves, or along with a gift card to a local shop or a bag of coffee or box of tea. Pictured from left to right:
- Cloths and scrubbies make great housewarming, baby shower, and stress-relief gifts! For babies, package a set of organic cotton cloths or scrubbies with a gentle soap. For adults, include bath oils or salts. Pictured from left to right:
- Boot cuffs are great gifts for teens and ladies on your list. Pictured from left to right:
Looking for more great gift closet patterns? Try these popular posts.
The Faux Mistake Rib Watchman’s Cap is a free crochet pattern for an easy unisex project in 8 sizes from newborn through adult. It’s perfect as a baby shower, back to school, or winter holiday gift!
Hugs for Mugs (and Cups…and Bottles), roundup of 15 free crochet patterns. These make great gifts for coffee lovers, tea drinkers, and athletes!Fingerless Mitts, roundup of 20+ free crochet patterns. Perfect gifts for the ladies (and texters) in your life!Farm Animals, a roundup of 20 mostly free crochet amigurumi patterns that make great gifts for kids.