This week I want to think a bit about yarn. Many of us have heaps of wool or cottons in our supplies. I also have quite a bit of luck with finding yard in op shops.
There are so many beautiful things to make! There are easy things for beginners through to heirloom worthy things that take a lot of work. The good thing is that hand knits and crochet items are in all the shops and homewares stores and at huge prices. We can get so many ideas browsing those stores. Last winter I saw so many thing I knew I could make and took a lot of photos on my phone to remind me. (otherwise I will forget).
Often we tend to have a stash of left overs. Mum makes a lot of hats and things with stripes to use hers up. I think a multicoloured blanket is quite gorgeous or a pram rug or something like that.
If you have lots of bits a rug, scarf or hat for charity is a really good thing to work on.
A soft knee rug I made as a gift.
I am going to share something for anyone with a large yarn stash and you are not sure what to do with it...
Our climate here isn't terribly cold. We don't usually go below freezing at all and do not have snow. But still winter is cold and it's cold to us as it is all we are used to!
When the girls were little and I had my first home and I had chickens. One day they escaped through a hole behind the shed into the neighbours out the back. I had not lived there long so I didn't know who the neighbour was. I went round and knocked on the door... an old lady answered and I explained and apologised about the escapees. And so I met Janet.
We became firm friends. She had been in a concentration camp in Germany and worse she had a baby in there. She was there when the US troops liberated them. She had an envelope of pictures that she showed me one day. They were amongst the worst things I have ever seen even until now.
Janet lived alone, the house and water were heated by an old fashioned wood stove.
One day in winter her house was really cold. I just happened to ask her if she was warm enough and did she have plenty of warm blankets on her bed?
The answer was no. She was cold at night as her bedding wasn't really adequate.
I was horrified. How long had she been like this?
I went home and told Mum. Mum always keeps pure wool crochet blankets and knee rugs on hand and works on new ones constantly. So within 24 hours I returned to see Janet with three beautiful warm rugs. She was so over the moon! She couldn't believe it.
Before that it truly never occurred to me that I would even know someone who is not warm enough at night. Since then I have knitted and crocheted many rugs to give away.
So if you have yarn and you don't know what to do with it get knitting or crocheting. It is going to waste in your cupboards. The world is full of Janets.
My winter blanket I made a couple of years ago with a new stitch. It weighs a ton and is really warm.
I have some 8 ply cottons, fine cottons and some odd balls of wool. Also a lot of pale pink chenille yarn that is so soft and nice.
Once the weather cools I will be starting on the chenille and I think I will make Harper a pram or car rug.
Some of the gifts I like to make using cottons are dish cloths, face washers, baby face washers, edgings on linens, bath mats...
I love to edge things from pillowcases, towels, sheets, face washers, t towels, bibs, baby socks, soft rugs, muslin face cloths and wraps...
Left over bits and pieces also make great decorations for parcels.
For inspiration I love Cocoa Rose Diaries. She has just stopped posting sadly but I am hoping all the content will remain as I get so many ideas from here! Following craft blogs really is encouraging. Don't forget Pinterest for ideas and You Tube for lessons.
Presentation is always an important thing when we are gift giving. I really feel this is the bit that helped me to feel confident about giving things I have made myself. The "Crochet with Love" bands are free printables available here.
They are also available for knitted gifts here.
I love them! They make your work look so nice! I hope this is useful.
I also love to make scarves. They are a lovely gift especially if you know someones colours and taste.
For gorgeous free scarf patterns and sheer inspiration look at Flamingo Toes.
Browse the crochet section for links to endless free pattern for accessories, blankets, you name it! Sheer heaven! Also she has lovey dish cloth patterns. They are lovely gifts!
I am really pretty hopeless as I can't read a pattern but I can copy things. To learn I watch your tube videos as if I see it I can do it whereas if I read the instructions I feel like the more I read the less I understand it! There is a crochet section here on Bluebirds where I have shown some past things I've made and attempted to show how.
Yarn projects are a joy. And basic skills are easy to learn. Once you have the basics you just improve as you practice, like anything else.
They are also something you can do while watching TV or sport. If Andy is driving I am crocheting!
There is nothing wrong with having more than one project going at once. It can be a help. For instance if it is still daylight I will stitch a bit more if I have time but in the darker evening I will crochet as I don't need to see so well. If I am going to be waiting in the car I will take some crochet ... it is really good to have one project that you can take with you when travelling or away and use that time. Some things are more mobile than others. So I always have a few things on the go. Using snippets of time really adds up!
I hope there are some ideas amongst all of this. It is really fun and you will increase your gift cupboard and reduce your yarn stash!
My actual Christmas Challenge progress this week was printing out a heap of these crochet gift bands for my supplies, cutting out two dozen hankies from my lovely floral cottons and learning via an online tutorial how to do hand rolled hems to hem them. Pictures soon. I also worked out my packaging for all my hankies. I am aiming to make at least 30.
Keep in mind next week I will be asking for photos! I will think of this too so I can include hankies in our show and tell for January.
I hope you feel you have made progress, reviewed your supplies, found some ideas and now started working on your gifts! It will help momentum to finish a couple of gifts or have something well underway.
I want to have a good start to my gift cupboard and finished items to put away before the end of the month! I better get moving. I am drowning in peaches though and have to finish them first! xxx