Tips on Homemade Gift Giving

Tips on Homemade Gift Giving

Over the years, I have found that giving crocheted gifts has been well received. Even my brother has raided my stockpile of crochet items for cowls, hats, scarves, and items to give to his own friends. People love a well-made item. Giving someone something homemade, especially made with love, is priceless.

Here is a quick checklist on what to do when preparing to give a homemade gift of crochet.

Give yourself plenty of time

Start early to avoid stress and pressure of finishing something you are aware has a deadline. Don’t wait until the last minute to start a stack of crochet projects on December 1st for Christmas gifts or a baby blanket two weeks before a baby shower, UNLESS you are a seasoned crochet artist with years of experience and have no worry working under those high pressure deadlines.

Tackle a project or idea that falls within the range of your skill set and time frame, so crochet is a pleasure and not a chore.  Even if you want to take on a challenge of something that you have never tried before, having enough time to learn and complete it will remove some of the anxiety of trying something new. That way, if you run into issues experimenting, you will accomplish something doable without the frustration of getting in “over your head” when you have the time to “play around” with a new pattern.

Personally, I have to give myself time. I have good intentions when tackling a project, but I have learned, nothing ever goes quite the way I plan. Even when I give myself time to finish, I find that I am running up to the very last moment of my timeline!

Make Lists

Who is on your gift giving list? Are you tackling a project for one individual or a list of people? Once you answer these questions, make a list of who you are gifting to. Then, decide what you plan to make for each of them. Then, make a list of the supplies needed for each project. Here is where things might get a bit costly. If you have a large list of people you want to make gifts for, breaking down the supplies into smaller purchases takes off some of the financial pressure of doing them all at once. Working on a single or even a couple of projects to completion, and then comprising another list to tackle the rest of your list makes the blow to the pocketbook a little easier to manage.

The next step is to give yourself a REALISTIC and liberal time frame to finish the project. Here is where I always end up in a trap! I always underestimate the time frame I can complete a project. Even as a seasoned crochet artist, I cannot plan for those unpredictable circumstances. It is impossible to prep for the unknown. I can sit down with the best intentions to spend the evening crocheting and friend might drop by, or my best friend who is in the Peace Corp in Africa has an internet connection and wants to have a Skype date! I love crochet, but there are definitely times when my crochet projects take a back burner to other more important things! That is part of life! So always make sure that you allow for those times.

Set goals

When I was making the G.G. Cardigan, I sat down and counted how many squares I needed to make. Then I planned the time frame it would take to reasonably make this coat. My circumstances are different than most, but the principle still applies. I set a goal of how many squares I needed to do in a specific time frame. I took the total number and the time I planned to make it and divided. Example: If I needed 70 squares, I wanted to finish it in 2 weeks, which meant I needed to do 5 squares a day or 10 squares every other day.

Presently, I have been working on my wedding flowers (tutorials to come). I want to make a variety of flowers for different things, my bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, the place cards with coordinating floral details that are color coded for my menu options, etc. This is a HUGE undertaking. I needed to make 2 flowers each day for the year (we got engaged in March 2017 and are getting married in March 2018). Yeah, that isn’t happening. I have a little over 100 flowers done. I have to really amp up my production if I am going to meet this deadline, and I will, but that means changing my expectations. When I miss a day or two, I will sit down and make up a dozen or more flowers to catch up. It has been pretty successful. Again, so much comes in the way of meeting those goals so be sure to account for that!

Homemade gifts will be treasured for years to come, but remember that the goal of giving them with no pressure and stress is our hope and expectation. Try to avoid that last minute pressure and stress that sends you on a stream of made up curse words going off in your head as you crochet like fiends the night before!! I can’t tell you how many times that has happened to me! HAHA! We have all been there and done that!

Are you a plan ahead crochet artist?? Or are you the one that is pulling the all-nighter to finish in time to give a gift? No matter which way you function, I hope crochet continues to bring you joy under every circumstance!

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YARNutopia 30 Day Photo Challenge

YARNutopia 30 Day Photo Challenge

On June 1st, 2017, YARNutopia will launch the summer season by beginning a 30 Day Photo Challenge and invite all crochet, knit, and yarn lovers to join in on this fun and exciting one month photography adventure.

On each day in June, you will find a daily topic that you, the audience, can use for inspiration. Be creative, think outside the box, there is no right or wrong answer!

Simply, take a photo pertaining to the daily topic and post it on Facebook in the comments section after I post my Photo of the Day, and then share your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #YARNutopia30DayChallenge.

You can participate on your own personal photo journey and share privately with your own friends and family or use our Facebook page or go to Instagram to post your photos and see what others are sharing as well!

This blog provides 30 inspirational guidelines as shown in our info-graphic. I will be posting my very own Photo of the Day to also help inspire you! This activity is a fun way to share our love of that yarn life in a new creative outlet!

This is NOT a competition so there’s NO PRESSURE to finish or participate. There’s NO PRIZE (other than the memories you’re going to make in this month of creativity!) There is NO OBLIGATION. Join in for one day or the entire month! This is purely for enjoyment and entertainment! There are NO RULES other than the *obvious* and it goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, inappropriate content will NOT be acknowledged and will be deleted. I am sure we won’t need to worry about that because this community is THE BEST.

This is just a way for our community to have a month of craft/yarn filled fun and share this fun in another creative way, through PHOTOS! One photo, each day, for 30 days of JUNE!

***Share this blog, join along, share your photos, hashtag #YARNutopia30DayChallenge and lets challenge ourselves to get even more creative than we already are!***

So, to Recap:
• Bookmark this page (or follow us on Facebook or Instagram to see the daily photo).
• Check each day in June or follow along on our social media accounts from June 1st to 30th for the daily topic.
• Complete the daily challenge (feel free to join in for a day, a few days, or the entire month) following our topic inspiration take a photo that is inspired by that day’s topic (we hope each day brings fun, happiness, and creativity to your day! I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!).
• Post pictures of the day for everyone to see using the hashtag #YARNutopia30DayChallenge

This 30 Day Photo Challenge is starting on June 1st, 2017. The theme of this 30 Day Challenge is all related to the yarn and crochet life. The topics cover a variety of inspirational

30 Day Challenge List

Day 1: Favorite Yarn

Post a photo your favorite skein of yarn, or your favorite yarn used in a project. Share the name of your favorite yarn!

Without a doubt, Red Heart Treasures has always been my favorite. Just looking at this photo makes me happy! Imagine how bummed I was to learn this is no longer available, but I have been on a search for a similar replacement. In the meantime, my last few skeins are waiting for the perfect project!!

Day 2: Can’t Live Without

A tool, yarn, or item you use or need every day.

This is my Crochet Survival Kit! How can we limit to just one thing? If I had to, it would be my H-5.00mm crochet hook, but in an ideal situation I would grab these essentials! What is your “Can’t Live Without” item? What would be in your “Crochet Survival Kit?”

Day 3: My Stash

Where you store and keep your yarn stash.

In truth, I have yarn stashed all over my house, but this honeycomb shelf unit is where most of my yarn has found a color-coded home. Haha! My rainbow collection!

Day 4: In My Bag

Take a photo of what is in your bag right now.

Presently, my bag is full of wedding preparation supplies including my wedding planner, my patterns notebook, and Aunt Lydia’s Thread for the flowers I am crocheting for my bouquets (future video tutorial) Oh, and my headphones!

Day 5: Current Project/WIP

Show a recent project or current work in progress.

My crochet flowers for my wedding are what’s on my hook at the moment. I have a little more than 9 months to crochet all the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, and centerpiece flowers. And YES, I plan on doing some video tutorials along the way. My bridal palette is jewel tones. All the flowers are a reflection of those colors! I’m excited to share this part of my journey with you!

Day 6: The First Letter of Your First Name

Photograph something related to your craft that starts with the first letter of **your** first name. In my case, something starting with the letter N for Nadia.

For me, it’s the letter N. Here are my pattern NOTES full of my stitch NUMBERS!! The latter N was hard to find words related to crochet! Anyone else have luck with the first letter of YOUR name??

Day 7: In the Home

Show something in your home associated with crochet/knit: an afghan over a chair, a blanket on a bed, your yarn pile next to a chair or anything that shows your work at home. The possibilities are endless!

This is my studio space. Here is where all the crochet magic happens. If I’m not curled up crocheting on my couch, this is where you will find me in my home.

Day 8: In the Moment

Take a photo of a moment in your day that crochet is involved. Examples: Crocheting or knitting outside, having coffee while enjoying your craft, your pet tangled in yarn, just a moment captured.

Selfie time!!!! This is me right now working on a new project! Hello from Wisconsin!

Day 9: Something Old

An older item you made, or an antique piece passed on from generations, something you’ve had for years.

I found a stack of vintage crochet books at a thrift sale for 25 cents each. I seriously squealed with delight, did a happy dance, and grabbed an entire stack! It felt like I discovered gold! #crochetgold

Day 10: Something New

A new item you just bought or inherited, a new tool, new yarn, anything brand new you want to share.

This delightful Red Heart Yarns Super Saver Ombré yarn is just waiting for me to sink my hook into it! I’m loving this new yarn! #yarnpyramid

Day 11: Favorite Hook/Needles

A photo of your go-to hook or needle, a favorite hook or set of needles that you find yourself always reaching for.

My favorite crochet hook is this great ergonomic hook made by the Etsy Shop WoodBeFancy. I have arthritic hands, and it helps to have a thick handle to grip. It relieves my hand stress. This gives me longer crocheting times and less stiffness when I take a break and uncurl my fingers. Find the same hook here.

Day 12: Variegated

Variegated yarn that you love, a piece made from variegated yarn, anything that is associated that has gradual or sharp color changes.

Variegated meaning: Having streaks, marks, or patches of a different color or colors; variety.

A while ago, I purchased this Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable Yarn in the color Winery, and while driving home, I saw the sky just before sunset. The changes in the colorway of this beautiful yarn had the same streaks of color variation as the sky! I thought it was pretty remarkable, so I took this side by side shot.

Day 13: Wearable

Something wearable you made, want to make, someone has made for you. If you share someone else’s pattern or photo, be sure to credit the designer!

I’m having a lazy start to my Tuesday morning. Feet up, chai in my mug, yarn on my hook, and my Tutti Frutti Crochet Slippers keeping me comfy. Follow this link to find these slippers on my blog.

Day 14: Amigurumi

A stuffed amigurumi toy you made, want to make or someone has made for you. If you share someone else’s pattern or photo, be sure to credit the designer!

Summer is here in the USA and Shenanigans wastes no time to find his way to the pool! This old photo is a perfect reminder to kick back and seize the day! #carpediem Many have asked about this sheep amigurumi. You can find the written pattern here designed by Harugurumi.

Day 15: Favorite Color

Your favorite color of yarn, or a crocheted/knit item made in your favorite color.

Green. Need I say more? I just love the variations in this color. It’s very refreshing!

Day 16: My Happy Place

Somewhere you love to crochet or knit. Examples: In the car on a long ride, in a favorite chair or bed, on your porch, in your backyard, at a park. Anywhere you love to zone out and enjoy your craft.

My Happy Place is being surrounded by Yarn! Yesterday I stopped by the warehouse sale at Herrschners Retail Store for some deals, and I was overcome by delight!! I want ALL THE YARN! Not much can make me this giddy, but the words Yarn and Sale combined in one fantastic place can pretty much guarantee to make me happy!!

Day 17: Scraps

Share a picture of your scrap yarn. What do you do with your scraps? Where do your scraps end up? Share scraps that turn up in unexpected places.

Found all over the house. On tables, on the floor, in the car, and even embedded in my cheek when I doze off working on a project. Where do you keep/find your scraps?

Day 18: Hands

Share a photo of your hands involved in your craft, holding your hook or project.

Happiness is handmade. Our hands create the things we once thought impossible by bringing our yarn and hook together.

Day 19: Texture

Share a close-up photo of stitches and their texture. Zoom in and show a neat close-up of a project, a fun stitch, anything showcasing different texture.

I love playing with yarn to create the richest textures. I love the look of this Woven Stitch pattern. It begs you to reach out and touch it! This is a close-up photo of the Woven Dreams Baby Blanket. Find the full photo here

Day 20: Black and White

Anything you want to share related to our craft in black and white.

Candid Crochet Moment. A typical rainy day. You will find me in pajamas curled up on the couch, hook in hand, working on my next new thing. This is my world. #reallife #candidcrochetmoments

Day 21: Stitches

Show your project and name the stitches you are working on.

Here’s an array of stitches on a past project. Using an eclectic mix of colors and a blend of crochet artistry, you can create this fantastic project! The stitches include Single Crochet (SC), Half Double Crochet (HDC), Double Crochet (DC), and Criss-Cross stitches! Like what you see? Find the free written pattern and video tutorial here.

Day 22: Motivates Me

What gets you motivated? Music? a TV show? A sunny day? comfy clothes? a cup of coffee or tea? a day off? crochet with a friend? Showcase your motivation in a creative photo!

I love Pinterest! I love all the ideas and inspiration I can find all in one place! This website is filled with motivation!

Day 23: Where I Stand

When you sit down to crochet, what does your crochet “spot” look like? Take a photo of where you stand and what your point of view is.

This is my point of view. I’m in the studio right now. Staring down at our next new project. This one has me going “in circles!”

Day 24: Lines

Share a photo of anything that has lines. Lines at the craft store, the yarn aisle and shelves of yarn lined up, lines in a crochet/knit pattern.

Yarn Lines! Everything about this photo makes me happy! The shelves and shelves of yarn LINED up so neatly in rows have me feeling like a kid in a candy store the moment this sight greets my eyes ANDDD that line on my face turns into a big bright smile!!

Day 25: Make it Bright

Bright colored fibers, bright colored project, bright colored yarn bag, a bright sunny day to crochet or knit, a bright idea!

Nothing is brighter than the sun! This is part of a great pattern I found on Ravelry. I hope this brings a ray of sunshine to your day and brightens it right up!

Day 26: Words to Live By

A funny meme, a great quote, a piece of advice from someone,a graphic tee-shirt or yarn bag, a sale sign at the yarn shop

This passage has helped me through some of the most difficult times in my life.

Day 27: Soft

A soft item, yarn, a plushie, a stuffed toy, a baby, a pet, anything soft and cuddly.

Fresh soft, warm blankets straight from the dryer are the bed of choice for our pup Reub today. I guess that afghan will get another washing after Reuben’s nap.

Day 28: Pastel

Soft pastel yarn, a pastel project, crochet at sunset with pastel sky, anything pastel!

I discovered this morning that I don’t have a lot of pastel yarn in my stash. I did have these 2 past projects that I’ve used pastel Soft Essentials yarn in Minty, Jungle Stripes, Purple Reign and Sugar Plum.

Find the written pattern and video tutorial for the Woven Dreams Baby Blanket here.
Find the written pattern and video tutorial for the Patchwork Medley Baby Blanket here.

Day 29: My Wish List

Showcase the item you WISH you had. Find a photo of it and share it. Examples: A dream craft room, a book, a hook, a bag, a ball of yarn.

My Wish List is to have a dream craft room. Nate and I are buying a house soon! I will have my own space to create my wish come true! I have a blank canvas to design the perfect work space. Here are a few photos that inspire me!

Day 30: Love Is…

Share something that that describes how much you LOVE your craft.

Love is…
doing what you love, with who you love, using tools you love, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Thank you for sharing in this 30 Day Challenge. I enjoyed all the participation across social media! Thank you for all the love and support you always show. Being able to do this brings so much joy to my heart!