Tag Archives: gifts

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 3 Tips for Making Your Crochet and Knit Baby Gifts Amazing

3 Tips for Making Your #Crochet and #Knit Baby Gifts Amazing on @ucrafter #TipsTuesday

If you’re like many crocheters and knitters, you love making gifts for babies. These projects are relatively small and portable, so they’re fun to make year round, and these gifts are loved and cherished by parents and babies alike.

Here are three tips for making amazing baby gifts every time!

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Choose the right yarn

Accessories, garments, and blankets for newborns, infants, and toddlers generally need to be washed frequently. Choosing yarns that can be both machine washed and dried allow for the most versatility.

  • Cotton is a breathable, plant based fiber. Cotton typically shrinks, but washing in cold water and machine drying on a low heat setting can reduce the shrinkage. For parents concerned about eco-impact, there are many organic options available, as well as undyed and low-impact dye options.
3 Tips for Making Your #Crochet and #Knit Baby Gifts Amazing on @ucrafter #TipsTuesday: Choose the right yarn - eco friendly cotton yarns

Galler Yarns Inca Eco is an organic cotton yarn that uses low impact dyes.

3 Tips for Making Your #Crochet and #Knit Baby Gifts Amazing on @ucrafter #TipsTuesday: Choose the right yarn - eco friendly cotton yarns

Another great organic cotton yarn is Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton.

    • Bamboo is another breathable, plant based fiber. Bamboo is said to have antibacterial properties. On its own, it is difficult to wash and often loses its shape, so it best when combined with washable wool to create a more elastic yarn that is appropriate for babies.

    • Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that holds up to washing and drying. Colors don’t fade over time. Acrylic is less expensive than natural fibers, so it is a great option for larger projects like blankets.
    • Wool is making a comeback for baby projects. A natural animal fiber, wool is breathable, elastic, and has great stitch definition. Choose a superwash or machine washable wool yarn that has been chemically treated to prevent felting, or felt your crochet or knit project after finishing it to create a dense and cozy project.

Many “baby yarns” are blends that combine the best elements of some of these different fibers while also reducing cost and making the final project washable. (Other “baby yarns” are just regular yarns in pastel colors, so be sure to check the labels!)

Other “baby yarns” are light weight (or DK) yarns. Although projects in thicker yarns can make cuddly toys and blankets, garments in thinner yarns allow newborns and infants a great range of motion.

If the parents have a registry, consider selecting yarns that match or coordinate with colors in the nursery. If the gender isn’t yet known (or shared), consider gender-neutral colors. Don’t feel restricted to yellows and whites; experiment with contemporary color combinations like teal and chocolate, rainbow colors, or several greens.

Consider safety

Babies enjoy chewing on everything, including handmade gifts! Make sure to weave in ends carefully with a yarn needle to avoid unraveling.

When making toys, avoid buttons or plastic eyes. Use embroidery to decorate facial expressions. Avoid fringes, chain or icord ties, or other stringy adornments that can present a choking or strangulation hazard.

Interweave Store

Prepare your project for gifting

Many parents will avoid using handmade gifts because they worry about damaging these treasured items in the wash. When giving handmade baby  gifts, always include care instructions. You can download and print my free care instructions tags, order sew-in labels, or include the yarn ball band inside of a card.

3 Tips for Making Your #Crochet and #Knit Baby Gifts Amazing on @ucrafter #TipsTuesday: Include care instructions (and free printable labels)

Although many parents will wash gifts before use with a baby detergent, consider washing your project before gifting it anyway. If you smoke, have pets, or have been working on the project while commuting or traveling, washing will reduce the presence of germs, strong odors, dust, and dander.

By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to crochet and knit wonderful items for babies that can be enjoyed and passed down for years to come!

If you’re planning to crochet your next baby gift, try my free patterns for the Rectangular Sampler Blanket or the Diagonal Rainbows Baby Blanket!

What are your favorite tips for crocheting and knitting baby gifts?

Indie Design Gift-a-Long 2014: Last Minute Gifts

I’m finishing my series of roundups featuring designs from the Indie Design Gift-a-Long, an awesome virtual event on Ravelry happening through December 31, 2014. All of these patterns are 25% off through 11:59 p.m. Eastern tonight with coupon code giftalong2014! In addition to this sale, the Indie Design Gift-a-Long includes a massive knit-and crochet-a-long, and phenomenal prizes.

Earlier this week, I shared roundups of some of my favorite crochet designs in the Gift-a-Long sale bundles: 9 patterns for men12 crochet lace patterns9 neckwarmers, and 12 crochet hats. (You can find even more great patterns on the Pinterest board I set up of all the crochet patterns on sale.) Today, I’m sharing 16 great last minute gifts. Each of these projects is relatively small and/or holiday related, so these would make great last minute holiday gifts.

Links to the patterns and designers are below the gallery. All images are copyright the designer unless otherwise noted.

Top row: La Villa Lace Fingerless Gloves by Betty Fay Wallace, Sweet Shells Purse by Melinda Miller, Snegurochka Mitts by Yuliya Tkacheva, Swift Kick Boot Cuffs by Janet Brani.

Second row: Crochet Splat Cat Coaster by cheezombieHardware Heaven – Boot Spats & Wrist Warmers by Sarah Jane, Cat Santa Hat by Akua Lezli Hope, Crocheted Vintage Rose Bracelet by Maya Kuzman.

Third row: Stash Pillow by Beth Graham, Dreidel Bowl by Lindsey Stephens, Mill Run Mitts by Amy Maceyko, Reindeer Baby Hat by Denise Balvanz.

Bottom row: Summer Girl Crocheted Headband by Monika Sirna, Mendeleev Vest by Debbie Sullivan, Tunisian Cat by Jennifer Raymond, Unraveled Sheep Bookmark by Justyna Kacprzak.

I hope you enjoyed this series, and I look forward to seeing you in the Indie Design Gift-a-Long group on Ravelry!

I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.

5 Tips for Holiday Crafting Success

Right now, many crocheters and knitters are revving up for the holiday crafting season. Unfortunately, this time of year can be filled with late nights, repetitive stress injuries, and disappointment. In the hopes of sparing you these dramas, I’m sharing my 5 tips for holiday crafting success.

5 Tips for Holiday Crafting Success by Underground Crafter

1) Create gifts only for those who are “worthy”

It can be tempting to make handmade gifts for everyone on your holiday gift list. If you love your craft and are skilled, often the fruits of your labor are more valuable than any gift you can afford to buy. But there are two realities you should consider before trying to crochet or knit gifts for everyone on your life.

  1. You are only one person with a finite amount of time.
  2. Not everyone is truly crochet- or knit-worthy.

By knocking the non-worthy off your list, you can manage your holiday crafting time more realistically, and increase the odds that the gift will actually be appreciated. When your gifts are appreciated, neither you nor the recipient is disappointed, so everyone wins!

What are some signs of a knit- or crochet-worthy recipient?

  • S/he has enjoyed and used previous handmade items you’ve gifted, or
  • S/he is also a crafter, and appreciates the skill and labor that goes into a handmade gift, or
  • S/he has complemented your work and seems to grasp that handmade gifts are difficult to produce!

2) Make a list – and check it (at least) twice

I usually start with 3 lists for holiday crafting: the must-makes, the maybe-makes, and the if-I-have-extra-timers.

The must-makes are the gifts at the top of my production schedule. The recipients are the most “worthy,” I have a clear idea of the project I plan to make, and the yarn is already in my stash or readily available. These are the projects I start right away.

The maybe-makes are the next tier of gifts. Perhaps the recipient is not as “worthy,” or I’m not quite sure what to crochet or knit, or I don’t have a suitable yarn, or, the recipient is really looking forward to another (non-handcrafted) gift. These are the projects I may (or may not) start once the must-makes are finished.

The if-I-have-extra-timers are the last tier of gifts. These include projects for people I don’t always exchange gifts with and quick and easy projects that can be used as gift wrap or embellishment. For instance, if I have the time, I may crochet a set of washcloths to go with a luxury bath kit, or coasters to go with a set of gourmet jams.

The lists keep me on track throughout the holiday crafting season, and I frequently make adjustments. I may find a perfect gift for someone while shopping, and decide to take them off the must-makes list, for example. Then, I may move up a project from the maybe-makes list.

And, of course, it helps to be realistic about your lists. Think about how much time is left before the holidays and what else is going on in your life during this time of year before even adding projects or recipients to the lists.

3) Remember the recipient

This tip may seem simple but it can be a difficult one to keep at the forefront of your mind, particularly if you spot a project that you’d love to create. The best handmade gifts are the ones that are enjoyed by the recipients, so taking some time to consider his/her needs, interests, and preferences before picking up the hook or needles can really make the holiday crafting season go much smoother and spare you (and the recipient) some hurt feelings down the line.

The key things to consider are project type, color, fiber, and care instructions. Your cousin who doesn’t wear jewelry will probably not love those crocheted earrings, even if they are lovely. Your friend with a very specific color scheme in her apartment will probably never display that stunning blanket (in a clashing color) that you labored over for weeks. Your uncle that is allergic to wool (or *thinks* he’s allergic to wool) will tuck that wool scarf in the back of the closet (even if it’s Merino!). And, your son who can barely do his own laundry will not be hand washing anything in the near future, so please use machine washable yarns.

4) Take breaks

Especially if your lists are long, it can be tempting to crochet or knit during every spare hour of every day through the holidays. But remember to be kind to your body. Repetitive stress injuries can make it impossible for you to enjoy your favorite craft again, so to avoid them be sure to take frequent breaks from your crafting (at least every half hour). Stretching, especially your neck and hands, can also keep you flexible and comfortable.

5) Add in something fun!

I frequently hear from crafters who dread this time of year. Gift making becomes an albatross around the neck, or a hated obligation. If you feel this way, drop as many projects from your lists as you need to and remember, you don’t owe anyone a handmade gift. Make some fun projects – for yourself, for gifts, or for charity – so you can remember why you love to crochet or knit in the first place.


I’m participating in BlogHer’s National Blog Post Month (also known as NaBloPoMo) by blogging daily through November, 2014.