Make your own knitted and crocheted gifts
Consumerism is at an all-time high this time of year and the pressure is on to find everyone on your list the perfect gift. Instead of spending hours in the mall or online shopping, you can put your time to good use handcrafting something special for your loved ones.
Knitted and crocheted gifts are one-of-a-kind and can be customized to fit the recipient’s taste. Both skills are easy to learn—from a book, from a class, from YouTube videos, from a friend—and require only a bit of yarn and a hook or pair of needles to begin. Don’t be afraid to look beyond big box craft stores for yarn. Long Island is home to dozens of independent yarn shops filled with beautiful fibers, patterns for all skill levels and knowledgeable people just waiting to share their wisdom.
Here are some ideas for meaningful and personal gifts, simple enough to make in time for the holidays, and all handmade with love.
Crochet slouchy hat
The All Grown Up Striped Slouch Hat by Moogly is pleasantly stripy and slouchy. The use of shallow post stitches creates a neat ridge between stripes. Get creative with your color choices—maybe try a self-striping yarn or alternate three or more colors for a different look.
Find the pattern at www.mooglyblog.com/all-grown-up-striped-slouch-hat
Knit cap (beanie)
Everyone needs a basic knit cap. The Shortrows Sideways Hat by The Domestic Sphere (pictured above) is knit flat and, unlike most caps, it is knit sideways, using shortrows to shape the crown. Garter stitch is plush and stretchy, and lends itself to vertical stripes nicely. The pattern is addictive—you’ll want to make one for everyone in your family.
Find the pattern at www.domesticsphere.com/freepatterns.php
A simple alternative to a scarf, a cowl will keep your neck warm during the winter months. Knitted in linen stitch with a color-changing yarn, this cowl makes a beautiful and functional gift. Linen stitch shows off color transitions very well and creates a dense fabric effective at blocking wind.
Linen stitch in the round:
Round 1: *Knit 1, slip 1 with yarn in front; repeat from * around.
Round 2: *Slip 1 with yarn in front, knit 1; repeat from * around.
Pattern: With needles and yarn of your choice, cast on as many stitches as necessary for cowl to fit comfortably over your head (a multiple of 2). Knit linen stitch in the round until piece measures 9 inches or desired length. Bind off.
Note: To get the subtle ribbed texture of cowl pictured, purl every sixth stitch.
Knit cup sleeve
Be practical and friendly to the environment by making a knitted sleeve for hot drinks. Small projects like this are great stashbusters and stocking stuffers for anyone you know who always has a cup of coffee in their hand.
Pattern: Cast on even number of stitches. Tubular 1×1 rib cast-on works well for this. Join in round. (K1, P1) around, alternating different color yarns as desired. Continue until sleeve reaches 3 inches, or desired length. Bind off.
Knit or crochet washcloths
Handmade washcloths are the ultimate luxury. Find a soft pima cotton yarn and practice any stitch pattern—the cushier the better—over an 8-inch square. Make several in coordinating colors, fold, stack and tie with a ribbon, and you’ve got yourself a great gift for even the toughest to buy for person on your list.
Pictured: Easy Knit Dishcloths by Nicole Smith
Find the pattern at www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Knit-Dishcloth