Last Minute Gifts to Crochet
Every year...it never fails. Weeks, even days before some kind of Christmas function I realize that someone got left off the list. My list is more of a spreadsheet, and even though I copy the columns for names and likes / dislikes over exactly into one for the next year, someone new doesn't get added, or someone erased in years past doesn't get added back in.
Like most who knit or crochet, I have an abundant supply of yarn. Of course there is no time to go out and buy anything. Even if there is time, I've usually blown through my Christmas budget at this point. So I pull out the crochet hook and some yarn and find a project that is small yet meaningful, and quickly get to work! Because people can only own so many hats and scarves, I try to be creative in my last minute dash to create a gift. Here are some that have met with great success in the past.
- Amigurumi animals - The great thing about amigurumi animals is that they don't have to look exactly like the pattern. Sometimes they're more cute if they end up looking a bit comical compared to what they should have looked like upon completion. The best success I had with these was when I was scrambling for a gift to give my grandmother, who was fighting cancer. One of the few things she really enjoyed was spending time with her cats. I made a trio of small amigurumi mice, stuffed them with quilt batting and catnip, and tied a small jingle bell to the end of the tail. They were light enough for the cats to bat around, and they loved attacking the jingle bells. And best of all, my grandmother really enjoyed watching the cats at play.
- Coffee cup cozy - This is a good one for co-workers or that odd in-law that you never seem to know what they'd like. Putting one on a trendy eco-cup is good, but not everyone likes those. I've found it's easier to stop at my nearest Starbucks and ask for an empty paper cup with a lid. I pop a gift card or instant Starbucks Via packets inside, and put the coffee cozy on the cup. Stick it in a gift bag and tada, instant gift!
- Dish cloths - One year I made a set of these for my mother-in-law. She's a fanatic about using white towels and other linens, so I used snow white cotton and then trimmed them in very light pastels. She loved them! The delicate handiwork looks like it took a painstaking amount of time when in reality you can whip up a whole set of these easy crocheted squares in just a couple of hours' time.
- Bookmarks - These work great for book lovers, especially if you're getting someone a book, or even a gift card to their favorite bookstore. They take less than an hour, and the patterns can be altered to suit different types of yarn. One thing I've found is to stick to thinner yarns like Sugar and Creme, and stay away from the more plush varieties like Homespun. Also, limit decorative stitches to the top border that sticks out away from the pages. Not only does it add a little something extra to the design, but it also prevents your hard work from being crushed when the book is closed.
- Ornaments - Ever heard of the Royal Sisters? I hadn't either, but each year since a friend introduced me to their website I've made "granny stars" for friends and relatives. This year I hope to make extras for neighbors, the mail lady, and our dog walker! They're so easy, and any kind of yarn will work. I've made them with sport weight, chunky, and thin cotton, using various sized needles. Don't be afraid to experiment! If it doesn't turn out, fold in the sides, add some catnip and a jingle bell, and give it to a cat-lover on your list.
What other last minute gifts do you like to crochet? Are there any you don't recommend? I look forward to your comments. Thanks for reading, and Merry Christmas!