December 15, 2011

25 Days of Christmas CoCo Style: Day 15-Knitting... Not Just for Socks

When I was thinking about the topics I wanted to include in the "25 Days" series, I knew I wanted to have a knitting or sewing post. Unfortunately, those are two talents that I do not possess. Just ask my sister or mom and they'll agree. Thankfully, the very talented Jenifer Spock-Rank, came to my rescue and is guest blogging today. If you want to learn more about Jenifer and her super awesome skills, you can find her at Kusala Knitworks or follow her on twitter @Kusalaknits and Facebook. Thanks Jenifer!
Can you really make handmade gifts at the last minute? Of course! It’s all about knowing where to look and what yarns to buy to make the most of your time and money! Here are a few suggestions for three quick and simple handknit gifts that will maximize your time and give you the most bang for your buck!

Situation number one: Teacher gifts:

All of a sudden your munchkin walks in the door and announces that they need four different holiday gifts for their different teachers. Solution? Apple cozies. Very quick and all you need is some simple cotton yarn that you can get at any craft store or local yarn shop, and make a couple of cozies per skein of yarn! Each of these take about an hour to make and the end result is adorable. Package it up with a Honeycrisp apple and a small card that your child drew and you have a happy set of teachers! My favorite pattern for these is from Vegan Lunch Box, which can be found here. It includes variations for three different sized apples, as well as instructions for pears!

Situation number two: Sister or Sister in Law who has EVERYTHING:

I discovered this pattern the other day as I was browsing for something to make for my soon to be sister in law. It’s called the Clara Cowl (found here, at the HeSowsSheSews blog), and it is essentially a huge braid. Made with bulky yarn, it took me an evening to work up, and turned out fantastically! This pattern has all of the earmarks of a winner: bulky yarn, quick to make, and huge impact. It looks far more difficult than it really is, and is one of those hand knits that has a huge “WOW” factor. Use any bulky yarn, but if you really like the recipient, the Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande is a great choice…

Situation number three: Hostess gift

Let’s face it, you go to a couple of parties, you bring some wine to share, and a candle or some random something to give to your host or hostess. It would be kind of cool to give them something handmade, right? It would stand out, and depending on what it is, would probably get used for long after that evening. Problem solved: Granny Square washcloths. Pretty sure you’re thinking, “Granny squares? Really? They’re kind of, um, granny-ish.” Yep. They are. But, retro granny squares are making a comeback and they are so easy to make, even if you’ve never crocheted before! Learning enough crochet to make them takes an afternoon – you aren’t making a sweater, after all. Use different colors you have left from those apple cozies you made for the teachers, or get some solids in neutral colors, make a set of three, add a pretty bow, and you’re good to head to that party! (This can also be applied to a set of coasters – just make smaller squares!) Lily, Lion Brand, and more have these patterns available (for free) on their websites, as well as on the inside of many of their labels!

Quick, simple, and easy! Hopefully, these three quick projects have given you a few ideas on some fast gifts to make for those random situations where you would have given something that would be considered, well, lame! Coffee shop gift cards are great, but not necessarily original, and those iTunes cards sure are useful, but not very creative… although maybe you could whip up a handcrafted gift card sleeve?


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