8 Tips for Getting a Head Start on Winter Holiday Crafting | #Crochet #TipsTuesday

Like so many crocheters, knitters, and other crafters, I love to make handmade gifts for my friends and family for the winter holidays. I can express my creativity while making higher quality DIY gifts than I can usually afford to buy!

8 Tips for Getting a Head Start on Winter Holiday Crafting by Underground CrafterBut, let’s face it. Every winter, countless crafters get overwhelmed by making gifts for loved ones. Some of us go without sleep, others get repetitive stress injuries, and still more just became annoyed with the demands of handmade gift giving. If your air conditioner is still blasting, those holidays may seem pretty far off, but today I’m sharing 8 tips for getting a head start on your gifts to make the winter holidays a bit more pleasant for you — and your loved ones.




This post contains affiliate links.

Start early

Spoiler alert: If you start your holiday crafting as early in the year as possible, you’ll have more time and you’ll be able to work at a more leisurely pace. You can also choose to make more gifts, or larger, more intricate projects, for the people on your holiday list.

Be picky

Let’s face it. Not everyone appreciates handmade gifts. Other folks may not be fans of your favorite crafts. Trust me when I say that the holidays will be more fun for you (and for the recipient) if you focus your efforts on making gifts for those who will actually enjoy them. I call these folks “handmade-worthy” (or “crochet-worthy,” or “knit-worthy”) people.

As you think about all the people (and pets) you may consider making gifts for, narrow your list down to those who would actually appreciate a handmade gift! This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s the step most crafters forget.

Not sure who is handmade-worthy? Think about people who say kind things about your crafting, who are makers themselves, or who have worn and used previous handmade gifts.

Make a project list

Now that you’ve narrowed down your recipient list by removing those who aren’t “handmade-worthy,” make a list of the types of gifts you’d like to make for them.

Some crafters make variations of the same project for everyone on the list (like a favorite crochet scarf pattern in different yarns or colors) while others like to make a completely unique gift for each recipient. Remember that you should get to have fun while making gifts, so choose your projects accordingly.


Survey your existing supplies and your budget

I know I’m not the only one with craft supplies falling out of the closets! Go through your stash and compare it to your project list. (If your budget is tight or non-existent, you can choose to work backwards from your stash instead.)

If you have a holiday crafting budget, make a supply list based on the supplies you’re missing and your project plans.

Be realistic about your time frame

Overestimating the availability of time is the most common struggle crafters face when working on handmade holiday gifts. We’ve all done it! While we could theoretically make unlimited gifts if we had unlimited time, the reality is that as each week moves by, our holiday gift deadlines become narrower. (And, don’t forget you still need to eat, sleep, work, etc., so you don’t actually have 24 hours a day to craft.)

Be realistic about how long each project will take and consider revising your list based on the amount of time available.

Take frequent breaks

When short on time and facing crafting deadlines, it can be tempting to push yourself too far. But, be sure to take care of yourself. Take frequent breaks (every 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your craft and the intensity of your work) to stretch and rest your eyes/hands. This will help you avoid repetitive stress injuries.

Have a back up plan

Sometimes, even the best plans go awry. Have a backup in case you can’t finish your projects on time. This might mean putting aside money to purchase last minute gifts, or giving out project “gift certificates” or “I.O.U.” cards.

How to Start (and Stock) a Handmade Gift Closet, with free pattern roundup | #Crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter
Get 16+ free crochet pattern ideas and tips for starting (and stocking) a handmade gift closet in this post.

Get virtual support

You may find virtually working alongside other crafters on holiday gifts makes the entire process more fun and bearable! Look for holiday make-a-longs on your favorite social networks. For crocheters, here are two you may enjoy.

What are your favorite tips for holiday crafting?

Holiday Stashdown CAL 2016 Pattern 8: C2C Tote Bag by The Purple Poncho

Announcing the Holiday Stashdown crochet-a-long 2016! #HolidayStashdownCAL2016Welcome to the giveaway page for the eighth pattern of the 2016 Holiday Stashdown Crochet-A-Long. This pattern is the C2C (corner-to-corner) Tote Bag by Carolyn Calderon of The Purple Poncho. In this post, I’ll be introducing you to Carolyn and sharing the link to the monthly and end-of-CAL giveaway for this pattern, so read on for details! (By the way, if you’re new to the Holiday Stashdown CAL, here’s a description and a full schedule, with regularly updated links to all patterns.)

This post contains affiliate links.

About Carolyn

C2C Tote Bag, free crochet pattern by The Purple Poncho #HolidayStashdownCAL2016Carolyn has been hooked on crochet since her Grandma Mary introduced her to it when she was seven. A few years ago she started The Purple Poncho, though she was designing her own creations long before that. Carolyn is also the co-host of one of my favorite weekly fiber arts link parties, The Linky Ladies Community Link Party. She is the proud mother of two teens and lives in California, where we actually had a chance to meet (in real life) earlier this year!

You can find Carolyn on The Purple Poncho. Show your support by following Carolyn on Craftsy | Instagram | Facebook | Pinterest | Ravelry.

#HolidayStashdownCAL2016 Giveaway!

This is the giveaway page for the eighth pattern in the CAL by The Purple Poncho.

  • Get the free C2C Tote Bag pattern.
  • Find out more about the 2016 Holiday Stashdown CAL here.
  • To enter the monthly giveaway for this pattern, share share a picture of your completed C2C Tote Bag using the link up below by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, September 4, 2016. Your projects shared here by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, January 9, 2017 will also be entered in the end-of-CAL giveaway.
  • You may share one picture of each project you complete using the C2C Tote Bag pattern. Each completed project will count as one entry in the giveaway.
  • You are not required to use a link to enter, but if you do, please link directly to the Ravelry project page, Instagram photo, or blog post, not to your main blog or profile. (If you’re new to InLinkz linkups, you can find a tutorial here.)
  • One giveaway winner will be chosen from these entries at random to win the monthly prize. Another will be chosen to win one of the end-of-CAL giveaway prizes.
  • Don’t forget to join the fun in our Facebook and Ravelry groups, too! You can share as many pictures as you like in the groups, but only pictures submitted here will be entered in the giveaways.
I just entered the #HolidayStashdownCAL2016 #giveaway with C2C Tote Bag by The Purple Poncho #crochetClick To Tweet


Thanks for sharing!

Holiday Stashdown CAL 2016 Pattern 7: Sky and Sunshine Bag by Crystalized Designs

Announcing the Holiday Stashdown crochet-a-long 2016! #HolidayStashdownCAL2016Welcome to the giveaway page for the seventh pattern of the 2016 Holiday Stashdown Crochet-A-Long. This pattern is the Sky and Sunshine Bag by Crystal Bucholz of Crystalized Designs. In this post, I’ll be introducing you to Crystal and sharing the link to the monthly and end-of-CAL giveaway for this pattern, so read on for details! (By the way, if you’re new to the Holiday Stashdown CAL, here’s a description and a full schedule, with regularly updated links to all patterns.)



This post contains affiliate links.

About Crystal

Crystal Bucholz from Crystalized Designs.
Crystal Bucholz from Crystalized Designs.

Crystal is the crochet designer behind Crystalized Designs. She has been a Design Wars Challenger and is also the co-host of one of my favorite weekly fiber arts link parties, The Linky Ladies Community Link Party. Crystal is married with two sons and enjoys spending time outdoors, spending time with family, reading, and listening to music. (And, crocheting, obviously!) You can read more about Crystal and how she got stared crocheting in this interview.

You can find Crystal on Crystalized Designs. Show your support by following Crystal on Craftsy | Etsy| Facebook | G+ | Instagram | Pinterest | Ravelry | Twitter.


#HolidayStashdownCAL2016 Giveaway!

This is the giveaway page for the seventh pattern in the CAL by BRAND.

  • Get the free Sky and Sunshine Bag pattern.
  • Find out more about the 2016 Holiday Stashdown CAL here.
  • To enter the monthly giveaway for this pattern, share share a picture of your completed Sky and Sunshine Bag using the link up below by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, August 7, 2016. Your projects shared here by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Monday, January 9, 2017 will also be entered in the end-of-CAL giveaway.
  • You may share one picture of each project you complete using the Sky and Sunshine Bag pattern. Each completed project will count as one entry in the giveaway.
  • You are not required to use a link to enter, but if you do, please link directly to the Ravelry project page, Instagram photo, or blog post, not to your main blog or profile. (If you’re new to InLinkz linkups, you can find a tutorial here.)
  • One giveaway winner will be chosen from these entries at random to win the monthly prize. Another will be chosen to win one of the end-of-CAL giveaway prizes.
  • Don’t forget to join the fun in our Facebook and Ravelry groups, too! You can share as many pictures as you like in the groups, but only pictures submitted here will be entered in the giveaways.
I just entered the #HolidayStashdownCAL2016 #giveaway with my Sky and Sunshine Bag by @CrystalizedForU #crochetClick To Tweet


Thanks for sharing!