One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is decorating. I love unpacking all of the decorations I have collected throughout my life, and making them mine again each year. Shopping the holiday aisles at big chains can be overwhelming, and I hate to buy things that will be stored for most of the year. But I know when I take the time and thought to make something that it's going to be something I cherish looking at season after season. The best part is forgetting what exactly it is you've made, and opening it up the next year. In my mind, it's better than buying new stuff every season, and it creates a sense of tradition.
This is my wreath new this year, inspired by this free tutorial on GoodKnits. The way I wrapped this wreath is super similar to the way I show my students to make flip-flops in my course, Crafty Crochet Embellishments. I topped it off with an edging and flowers--also from the class--and a glass bird clip that I found at the craft store. I absolutely love it and I even have a couple more in the works because this one was so much fun to make.
These are some birdie ornaments I made using a pattern in my book, Little Crochet. I absolutely love them, and they're a great reminder that you can repurpose crochet patterns however you wish with just a switch of yarn and hook. The original birds are for a baby mobile but I added tassels, hanging loops, and color changing yarn to transform them.
These are my stockings--not handmade, but only because I haven't gotten that far yet. But, I love the sentiment of needlepoint and am unlikely to invest the time in making our stockings in the near future, and I was thrilled to find these at a sample sale many years ago. I decorated them with some of the flower pins from my Crafty Crochet Embellishments class. These flowers are a great small gift for coworkers and the like--you can make them up using stash yarns and beads, and add personal flair to each one. I'm actually planning on making some measuring tape covers and topping them off with these flowers for my coworkers, whom I hope aren't reading this! But if they are, I hope I actually get them done in time to give them!
The other thing I like to do during the holidays, when I have time, is make handmade gifts for those that will appreciate them. I focus on small quick things, since I do so much professional crochet designing I don't always have the time to work on big personal projects. A great, super-quick project for the holidays is crochet-edged fleece blanket . My dog Freddie is certainly a worthy recipient of this one, which I also show you how to make in Crafty Crochet Embellishments, but new babies and college dorm dwellers also appreciate these easy care gifts. There are so many different prints on fleece that it is easy to personalize, and you can almost always find the fleece on sale during the winter.
Another quick favorite of mine is crocheted earrings. These are a fun way to use oddments in your stash and again, they are easy to personalize by changing colors, yarn widths, or adding beads. I always get compliments whenever I wear mine, and your giftees are sure to, too. Whether gifts take a lot or a little time, I think most people are touched that you thought of them and made something with your own two hands.
If you're still scrambling for holiday gift ideas and you know the basics of crochet, be sure to check out my classes. In Crafty Crochet Embellishments. I will walk you through making seven projects (fleece blanket, edged pillowcases, edged towels, embellished cardigan, flower brooches, earrings and flip flops!) that are easy to make inexpensively and in multiples. And if there's a wee one in your life--or if you finally want to take your crochet skills to the next level, check out Beyond Rectangles: Baby Cardigan. I really enjoy teaching the class and it's a great stepping stone to making anything you want from a pattern. And, did you know you can even give the classes as gifts? Perfect for your fibery friends!
Happy handmade holidays--from my home to yours!