Quick gift ideas

gift

Ok, so now it’s December. Holiday gift giving time is coming up very quickly and let’s assume for a moment you know someone who hasn’t started their holiday crochet yet. Yeah, let’s go with someone you know. Because you’re done already, right? Sure, just like I am. ;)

Anyway, let’s say your “friend” is freaking out over the wide range of items to make for gift giving this year. And you, being such a great friend are here seeking help for your friend. Because that’s what friends do and since you’re done already, you want to help out.

Well, here’s some patterns I have out that are great for quick gifts:

There’s the Fearless Scarf. This pattern can be made in really any yarn, so it’s great for stash busting. Which makes more room for you, I mean, your friend, to get yarn for a gift. The scarf pattern is available for instant download for $3.00. You can click on the link or the photo to go to the page on Ravelry (you don’t have to be a member, but if you crochet, you totally should be one) where you can purchase it.

Fearless Scarf

Fearless Scarf

Keeping in line with the quick gifts for cold weather, the Ladyfinger Mitts work up really quick in worsted weight wool. Sure, they’re lacy, but I’m telling you, they’re warm. Especially if you make them out of wool. This pattern is available for download for $4.50.

Ladyfinger Mitts

Ladyfinger Mitts

Need a hat for someone? The Beatrice Hat is warm and cozy, and appropriate for both men and women (just change the colors up). It’s got a simple texture stitch and works up quickly. The pattern is available for $4.25.

Beatrice Hat

Beatrice Hat

Now, say your friend lives somewhere that’s warmer and a hat or scarf or fingerless gloves won’t cut it. Well, how about jewelry? The Guinivere Choker works up quickly and is stunning. Any combination of thread and beads will make a beautiful necklace that will be perfect for holiday parties. The patterns is available for $3.50.

Guinivere Choker

Guinivere Choker

If jewelry isn’t their thing, cowls are all the rage right now. The Southern Lights Cowl is deceptively simple and most importantly, quick. Use a fingering weight yarn with long color repeats and let the yarn do all the work. The pattern is available for $4.00.

Southern Lights Cowl

Southern Lights Cowl

I hope this has helped you, er, your friend come up with some ideas for some quick gifts to make. Be sure to stop by here on December 11th because I will be talking about my pattern in the upcoming book Simply Crochet as my stop on the blog tour! And…I’ll be giving away a copy of the e-book. So exciting and I can’t wait to share this with y’all. See you then!

Thanksgiving

pumpkins

Today is Thanksgiving here in the US. A time where we are to stop and think about the things we are thankful for. Oh, and gorge ourselves on food. :)

I’m thankful for so very many things in my life right now (in no particular order):

  • A family (both blood and chosen) that supports and loves me
  • A spiritual family where I’m free to grow and learn
  • Friends who are there through it all: good, bad, ugly, pretty, and fun
  • The ability to pursue my craft and my art as my business
  • The love of a great man in my life (and his most awesome son)
  • My health, because even on the really bad days, I’m still here and still able to move on my own
  • You, my customers and fans, who have given me reason to keep going and keep doing this

So, with that last one in mind, I want to give you a token of my thanks. Now through Tuesday, November 29 at midnight on the east coast, you can save 25% on your pattern purchases over in my pattern store using coupon code THANKS. There’s a lot of accessory patterns that make great gifts if you’re looking for small items to make for those on your gift list.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend. Don’t eat too much and remember to support small businesses in your holiday shopping. :)

Gift Giving Guide

Ah, it’s that time of year again. The time when the TV commercials gear up to tell everyone they need to buy the latest and greatest shiny toy or gadget to prove your love to everyone in your life.

My thoughts?

Eh.

I have always preferred either handmade or items from the heart. Doesn’t mean you can’t go out and buy stuff, but buy things thoughtfully. Buy what your loved one will really love and appreciate, not what the ad companies tell you will be a good gift.

This post will have two parts. Ideas for those of you who like to crochet gifts for your loved ones and ideas for those of you who have loved ones who are crocheters (or knitters or other fibercraft people).

Ok, so you like to crochet your gifts. I hope right now that you have either already started, have a short list, or are doing small items. Now is not the time to start that stack of afghan patterns (voice of experience here).

Some of my favorite quick-ish items to make for gifts?

  • Scarves (although not so much down here in FL)
  • Fingerless gloves
  • Hats
  • Socks
  • Slippers
  • Kitchen things (dishcloths, potholders, etc)
  • Device cozies (tablets, phones, mp3 players, e-readers, laptops, etc)
  • Jewelry items
  • Small bags (for holding little things that we all have a ton of)
  • Amigurumi
  • Ornaments
  • Small home decor items (small pillow covers, placemats, decorative items)
  • Mug cozies

If you’re smart (and I’m not, I’m still learning to do this), you could use your stash to make these throughout the year. Then you have a ton of ready made gifts to choose from for those who aren’t necessarily in your inner circle (thus qualifying for really great crocheted items) but who you still want to give gifts to.

If you’re more like me and wondering where the last seven months went, then this list is perfect for everyone on your gift list. My advice? Start making things for the people in your inner circle and work outward. If you run out of time, then just buy them something. Or, you can do like I did one year…I gave my sister one of her socks and an IOU for the other one. That was one of the years I was still learning just how much I could get done in 45 days. Answer: Not as much as I had planned.

And for the record, right now I’m in a good place. I have three gifts done, two gifts started, and three others planned with yarn at the ready. I can totally do this. I hope. The big stickler is that Tunisian colorwork scarf I mentioned in my last post. Hoping that I can carve out time to work on it and get it done in time.

So, what happens if you’re reading this and you’re not a crocheter but you know one? Or, you are a crocheter but have other crocheters on your gift list? Well, then here’s some tips of things to buy for them.

  • Gift cards/certificates to their local yarn shop. Most places will work with you to do something. If they visit the shop a lot, the owner may know what yarns they tend to fondle a lot but never splurge on. If you’re given this info, buy it. You win all kinds of bonus points for this kind of thing. :) Otherwise, a gift certificate works well. And you might need to put the stipulation on it that your giftees use the amount to buy something for themselves. Often we fiber people tend to buy yarn to make things for others. Remind us not to do that.
  • Magazine subscriptions. If you know that there’s a magazine your giftee buys on the newsstand on a regular basis (or has a subscription already), pay for a year of subscription to it.
  • Look for book wishlists. Check to see if your giftee uses Amazon wishlist feature. If so, boom, you’re good to go. Find a book (especially if it’s one they’ve talked about) and get it for them. Some wishlists have other things than just books, so you can find what things they may want but wouldn’t buy themselves (I have a few things like that).
  • Ravelry wishlists! If you’re on Ravelry, you can see patterns that people have put on their wishlists. It’s easy to do. Go to their queue and click on the tab that says “wish list”. You can then buy the patterns right there for them and and it’s sent to their library. It’s awesome.
  • Manicure gift certificates. Seriously, crocheting is hard on the hands. Sometimes getting to take thirty minutes out of the day and have someone massage them and make them pretty is awesome.
  • Hand care items. Lotions (scent free preferred if they crochet all day like I do), paraffin wax hand treatments, crafting gloves, etc. These are all great. If you’re not sure what type of lotion they may like, you can build a basket of different sample sizes (perfect for trying to find a new lotion) and add some emery boards, cuticle cream, and cotton gloves (to put on over an intensive lotion treatment) to it.

I hope this has given you a lot of great ideas for this upcoming holiday season. Remember, the gifts aren’t the important thing. It’s the time you spend with those you love and care about. Your actions throughout the year speak more than the trinkets you provide once a year.

And remember, if you can, support your local independent businesses and artisans. We all appreciate it.

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our three year anniversary! Three years ago today I was getting ready to leave work and go on my first date with John. And Saturday will mark a year engaged. Yeah, it’s a busy lovey dovey week for us here this time of year.

I wanted to stop and announce a few things.

Thing the first: I have a Felted Coasters workshop this Saturday at A Good Yarn, Sarasota. There’s still room, so if you’re interested and in the area, call the shop at 941.487.7914 to secure your spot.

Thing the second: I’m about to release two new patterns on Monday. Keep an eye out here as I’ll post about them as soon as I get them uploaded.

Thing the third: Watch this space as well for a big announcement in the next month. As soon as I know the full details and can give them to you, I will. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to tell you.

Thing the fourth: I’m working on a secret project. I can’t tell you what it’s about yet, but if you could send all your spare good mojo my way, I’d appreciate it. It’s because of you, dear readers, that I’ve chosen to work on this, so your support is greatly appreciated. And no, it’s not related to thing the third, it’s a whole other thing. :)

Thing the fifth: Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day weekend, everyone! Whether you’ve got someone in your life or not, remember, you are your best Valentine! So be good to yourself this weekend!


I made this for John one year. So it works for both holidays!

Happy New Year!

Well, we’re only a few hours from 2010 now (here on the east coast of the US). Not much going on here in our home tonight. With a skittish greyhound, we simply try to keep the TV up louder than normal and keep him in the room with us. He’s been doing pretty well so far. He seems to only get upset when he’s alone in a room with the noise. So, let’s all hope the kids firing off fireworks in our neighborhood finish up shortly after midnight so we can all sleep.

Anyway, today was also the First Annual Swatch Fire event! And yes, I totally burned a lying swatch. And I took pictures!


Lighting it up.


Starting to catch!


Burn, baby, burn!

I wish all of you the brightest blessings in this new year and new decade! May your swatches be true, your hooks fly fast, your yarn not split, and everything you create be fabulous!

Stay safe tonight. See y’all on the flip side!

Swatch Fire!

Perhaps you’ve seen the word bandied about on Twitter and wondered, “What the heck are all these designers talking about with ‘swatch fire’?”

Well, it all started innocently one afternoon when a few of my designer friends were lamenting about lying swatches. I made the comment that perhaps if we burned a lying swatch it would serve as an example to the others and we wouldn’t have this issue anymore.

Imagine my surprise when this little phrase picked up and spread, not unlike a fire, all over the Twitterverse. It has its own hashtag now! LOL!

So, I decided last week that I’m going to continue this trend and help ring in the new year as well.

I’m calling all designers to join me on New Year’s Eve (at a time of your choosing) and burn the most recent lying swatch you have. And yes, I have one reserved for this. When you burn it, be sure to focus on the fact that we don’t want to have to do this next year!

Will it work? Dunno. Will it feel good anyway? Heck yeah.

So, join me in the first annual World Wide Swatch Fire event! Feel free to drop me a comment and let me know if you’re joining in with me!

And have a wonderfully happy and safe new year! May there be no further need for swatch fires in your future!

My wish for you!

To all my dear readers and fans and friends….

I wish you a very happy holiday season (since I know there are many holidays at this time of year) and a very blessed and creative new year!

Working on new design ideas here, so expect to see lots of new things in 2010!

Stay safe, don’t eat too much, hug your family and friends, and we’ll see everyone in January!

And yes, you can stay up to date on daily stuff by reading the twitter feed over in the side bar.

Even MORE handmade holiday!

I’ve been working on ornaments today.

I’ve been busting out these Star Ornaments. They’re super fast.

I used some Vanna’s Choice Glamour yarn in Platinum and Sapphire and a D hook. Aren’t they cute?



I also doubled the yarn and used an H hook and made a really neat tree topper:

I should have taken a pic before I put it on the tree, but I forgot. So, you get the upshot. :)

Okay, that’s all from me for a bit. I think I’m done for now with making things for the tree.

More handmade holiday

Finally finished the tree skirt today! And I wanted to share a pic with you as well as some basic stats.

I started this on late Sunday and used stash yarn. I finished it today.

The pattern is from the Nov/Dec 09 issue of Crochet Today and is the Retro Ripple Skirt pattern. I used Red Heart Super Saver and used just around a skein of two colors (I used about 2 skeins of the darker color). It went super fast and was a really great TV watching project.

In that photo you can also see a few of the wrapped holiday gifts. This year I went with plain white tissue paper and tied them off with a bit of blue Vanna’s Choice Glamor yarn. The tags are hand stamped with the to and from info.

I’m really enjoying the simplicity of this year’s holiday season. I still may make a few more things for the tree, and if I do, you’ll see it here!

Handmade holidays

I am a huge fan of handmade holidays. For the last few years, the majority of the gifts I’ve given have been handmade. Granted, over the years, as I’ve gotten busier, these gifts have gotten smaller, but they’re still handmade.

Last year, with the exception of my niece, everyone in my family got crocheted socks. My niece got a crocheted dress. This year, everyone is getting…..ha! Nice try. I know family reads this. :P You’ll have to wait.

But my handmade holidays don’t stop at just the gifts. Our tree is full of handmade things as well. Well, full is maybe not the appropriate word. Still working on getting the tree full. But, the ornaments I do have are handmade. Here, let me show you:

On the left are crystal drop ornaments I made from a kit I got through Mary Maxim years ago. I still have another box of 24 to make. I may work on those this month. Because right now the back of my tree is not decorated. Not that anyone sees it so I don’t worry about it. :)

On the right is one of my Snowflake Ornaments from December 2009 Crochet World. Another one of my goals is to make more to put on the tree. They’re super quick and look really pretty on the tree.

I’d also like to make a few of these Paperclip Ice Skate ornaments this year. When I was a kid we had a couple of these that my grandmother made for us. They were my favorite ornament. :) And now I have a pattern to make new ones.

The other thing I’m working on right now is a tree skirt. Now, those who have followed the pattern line for a while know that I have designed a stunning tree skirt in thread. Yeah, that’s not the one that’s going under my tree. That one resides with my friend Margarita (who did most of the hard sample work on that). Besides, we do the tree in blue and white and silver. Someday, when I have time (ha!) I will make one for us in blue. Nope, I’m working on a much faster tree skirt. I’m doing the Retro Ripples Skirt from the Nov/Dec 2009 Crochet Today. Ours is in soft white, soft blue, and soft navy. I think it’ll look cool. I’m over halfway done, so I’m hoping to finish it tonight. It’s a good TV watching project once you have the pattern repeat set up. Once I get the skirt done, I’ll post more pics of the tree.

Since the holidays are here and I’m caught up on deadlines, I’m planning on taking some time off. This week will be half-days so I can finish up wrapping and finishing and all that for gifts. Then I plan on taking the following two weeks off. Now, my designer friends are laughing at me because we all know what’s going to happen. It’s during the designated “off” times that we all get hit with inspiration and the desire to swatch and play with yarn. And honestly? That’s what I’m hoping for.

I will likely post again after gift exchanging so I can show all the cool things I’ve made for family this year. :)

My wish for you all this year is that you have a blessed holiday season. Happy Hanukkah, Blessed Yule, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanzaa! And to all a Happy New Year!

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