#Crochet #TipsTuesday: How to Start (and Stock) a Handmade “Gift Closet”

How to Start (and Stock) a Handmade Gift Closet, with free pattern roundup | #Crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground CrafterIn 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.
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Here are some pattern ideas to get you started on your own handmade gift closet!

How to Start (and Stock) a Handmade Gift Closet, with free pattern roundup | #Crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter

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!

Faux Mistake Rib Watchman's Cap, free #crochet pattern in 8 sizes (newborn through adult large) by Marie Segares @ucrafterHugs for Mugs (and Cups…and Bottles), roundup of 15 free crochet patterns. These make great gifts for coffee lovers, tea drinkers, and athletes!Hugs for Mugs (and cups...and bottles): Roundup of 15 free #crochet patterns on Underground CrafterFingerless Mitts, roundup of 20+ free crochet patterns. Perfect gifts for the ladies (and texters) in your life!Fingerless Mitts crochet pattern roundup by Underground Crafter includes over 20 free crochet patternsFarm Animals, a roundup of 20 mostly free crochet amigurumi patterns that make great gifts for kids.

Farm Animals Crochet Pattern Roundup - 20 (mostly free) crochet patterns, curated by Underground Crafter

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 3 Tips for Enhancing Your Handmade Gift Giving

3 Tips for Enhancing Your Handmade Gift Giving on #Crochet #TipsTuesday with Underground CrafterIf you love crocheting gifts, any time of year can be wonderfully inspiring. In addition to seasonal holidays, there are always birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, and other opportunities for handmade gift giving. Here are three tips for making the most of your handmade gifts.


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Remember the recipient!

As a crocheter or knitter, you know about all the time, love, and money for supplies that go into a handmade gift. Though you may be tempted to choose the project you’d love to make (and wear!) in colors you enjoy and the yarn that is your favorite one to use, think of the recipient first. Your gift will be more loved – and will get more use – if it meets the needs of the recipient.

  • Color – If you’re making a wearable, consider the colors the recipient usually wears, and more specifically, the saturation of those colors. If your mom typically wears bright and bold colors, she may welcome a gift crocheted with a variegated jewel tone yarn. On the other hand, if she tends to wear muted pastels or neutrals, she may prefer a solid, undyed natural yarn. For graduates starting college, you may want to consider school colors, as well as darker colors that will hold up better between washings.
  • Care instructions – Almost more important than fiber content is the way in which the final object will need to be washed and stored. If your best friend typically hand washes her delicates, this may be your chance to use the stunning hand dyed llama yarn you found at the fiber festival. But, if your nephew is graduating high school and moving into a college dormitory, assume that a hardy, machine washable and dryable acrylic yarn may be best.

CraftsyThink seasonal!

To create a great gift that will be used immediately, think about the weather and temperatures near your recipient’s home as well as the season when you will give the gift. Lightweight accessories, like shawls, fingerless mitts, hats, bags, and jewelry are likely to be worn immediately by those living in warmer climates, while bulkier items may be prefered by those in colder areas. Choose an appropriate weight yarn for wearables. Home décor items like accent pillows and throws make great gifts year round and in any temperature. For children and teens, consider toys, amigurumi, and electronics cozies.


Be aware of your own time!

It can be tempting to start a large gift at the last minute for a major milestone like your child’s college graduation or for baby’s first Christmas. But be realistic about your available time when choosing a project so that you don’t end up abandoning it days before the event – or, worse – getting a repetitive stress injury. You want to crochet love into your gift, not your stress and crankiness!

Don’t be embarrassed to give an “I.O.U.” or share a picture of your work-in-progress if you don’t finish your gift in time. The recipient will appreciate knowing more about what you’ve been working on in secret.

What other tips can you share for creating wonderful handmade gifts?

 

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 3 Tips for Customizing Adorable Crochet Baby Gifts

3 Tips for Customizing Adorable Baby Gifts on #Crochet #TipsTuesday with Underground CrafterI love crocheting blankets, so I keep a stash of handmade baby blankets in my closet for last minute gifts. Once in a while, though, a dear friend or family member will be welcoming a newborn, and I decide to make up something special.

Here are 3 tips for crocheting customized gifts to thrill your favorite parents-to-be.

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Carefully choose colors

An easy way to customize a crocheted baby gift is by choosing yarn colors  to match – or contrast – with nursery colors. Look through the online baby registry for decorating clues, or follow the parents on social media (especially Facebook or Instagram) to find pictures of a painted room. (And, of course, if your gift isn’t a surprise, you can just ask!)

If you don’t have nursery decor information, think about the parents and their personalities. If they’re more traditional, classic “baby yarn” colors (whites, yellows, pastel pinks, and baby blues) may be best. Many modern parents prefer less traditional color combinations. Some contemporary gender-neutral color combinations, like teal with white, navy, or brown, or pale green with chocolate brown, gold, or white, would be great for such a family.

Craftsy

Add letters or names

If the parents have already named the baby, you may want to add a crocheted, embroidered, or “monogram” name to your project.

Moogly Crochet Alphabet, a free crochet pattern available here.
Use Moogly’s Crochet Alphabet (available for free here) to make applique letters to attach to your finished project.

Another option is to use graph paper to chart out the letters of a baby’s name. You can use this chart to make a corner-to-corner graphan (Repeat Crafter Me has a great tutorial for doing this in her Corner-to-Corner Baby Sheep Graphghan) or a granny square blanket. Choose a one-color granny square pattern, like the Basic Block from my free Mod 9-Patch Blanket pattern, and “spell” out the name with squares in a contrasting color yarn.

Use solid color squares, like the ones in the upper left corner, to spell out the baby's name.
Use solid color squares, like the ones in the upper left corner, to spell out the baby’s name.

Customize It All on Zazzle

Make a layette set

A layette set including a blanket as well as a jacket, cap or bonnet, booties, diaper cover, or a hooded towel makes a truly special gift. I love to include a set of baby washcloths in organic cotton yarn, like Galler Yarns Inca Eco or Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, because they are so gentle on baby’s skin.

Get these free crochet patterns here:

Choose your favorite baby patterns to mix and match into your own special layette set set. If you keep the color scheme consistent, it will look coordinated, even if you choose patterns from different sources.

What are your favorite tips for crocheting baby gifts?