Crafting for the holidays is supposed to be fun — but so often our yarn balls turn into stress balls as we try to meet deadlines and get everything done! Follow these tips to reduce the stress and bring the joy back into holiday knitting and crochet.
1. Begin with an intention
The emotional approach you bring to your crafting makes all the difference in seeing your project as joyful or as a chore.
Take the time to ask yourself why you want to knit or crochet for the holiday season. Make a list of the reasons, including ones that aren’t so charming (“because I want to impressed my family,” or “because it’s what I’ve always done”). Be honest with yourself!
Use your list to make plans for holiday crafting. You may discover that you love making decor, but don’t like making gifts. That’s OK — you don’t have to knit or crochet anything that you don’t want to this year!
Once you’ve decided what you really, truly want to make, set your intention in writing. Make it a clear, affirmative statement that you can come back to again and again when any stress.
Here are some suggestions crafting intentions you can try:
- “I intend to approach each project with the joy of the season.”
- “Crafting for others makes the holidays a joy for me.”
- “I will knit and crochet during the holidays because these crafts give me peace of mind.”
- “I love making gifts for others and will infuse each item with that love.”
- “I will embrace my craft time as a relief from other holiday stress.”
- “My intention is to spread cheer through creating.”
2. Make a project list and check it twice
Now that you know why you want to make, it’s time to decide what you want to make!
You may want to divide the list into two categories: holiday decor and gifts. Under the decor category, list the decorations you want to make and give yourself a deadline. Under gifts, include the names of each recipient and the item, plus dates to keep you on track.
Once your list is ready, go through it with a discerning eye, looking for:
- Anything you don’t actually want to make but feel obligated to
- Anyone who won’t actually appreciate your handmade gift
- Anything that sounds too daunting and might best be put off until next year
As you look at the list, you’ll find which projects excite you and those that don’t. Remove items from your list until you’re really happy with it.
3. Select your patterns
Select a pattern for every project on your list. Do this now — not later. You want to have all of the necessary materials ready to go. You might want to print out all of your patterns, or create a document with links to all of the patterns in one place.
4. Order all of your supplies early
Use your project list and collection of patterns to make a list of all of the supplies you need. Here are some tips:
- Order all the yarn you need for every project, including each color in enough yardage. Shop your stash first and add to your shopping list from there.
- Make sure that you have the hooks and needles that you need.
- Check for extra notions or supplies, such as stuffing and eyes for amigurumi, thread for cross-stitch, stitch markers, blocking pins, etc.
- If you can, order more yarn than you think you’ll need. You don’t want to run out of materials!
- Consider using kits instead of stand-alone patterns, since you can order everything you need for each project in one fell swoop.
5. Organize all your supplies when they arrive
Once you have your supplies, get organized! Make one bag per project, including all the yarn, your hooks or needles, and any extra notions. If you printed your pattern, include it; otherwise, include an index card of the pattern name and where to find it.
Tip: If you don’t have multiple hooks or needles in the same size, add a note with the project indicating the required size.
6. Set deadlines on a calendar
Add each project to your calendar, giving yourself a few days’ space on either side, just in case the project takes you longer than you thought.
Prioritize projects that need to be done first (like gifts that must be shipped or decor you want to put up). Next priority goes to projects that you absolutely, definitely want to complete this year.
Tip: Make a list the projects that should only take a day to complete, as well as the projects that you can easily take on the go. You should still add these to your calendar, but this list will come in handy when you have extra time or need a to-go project.
7. Begin crafting with a weekly review
Finally, you’re ready to start stitching! This is the easy part — and try to remember that it is also the fun part.
Before beginning a project, refer back to the crafty intention that you set. Or, set a specific intention for each (“I will think of my love for my sister in each stitch of this scarf.”). At the end of each project, review your intention again.
Use your calendar to stay on track with holiday crafting. Inevitably, your schedule will get thrown by the busy holiday season. At the beginning of each week, review your progress and make adjustments to the calendar as needed. It’s OK if this means letting go of projects — it’s better to love everything you make than to check everything off the list.
Handmade decor brightens the home. Handmade gifts brighten the heart, but make sure that the brightness starts with you!