My family didn't have a lot of money when my sister and I were little, so my mom made a lot of our family's Christmas presents. I thought that everyone's mom made presents for the whole family. Hats for everyone! Scarves! The year of the broomstick lace sweater was a little rough, but only because my awkward 11-year-old body managed to snag it on EVERYTHING!!! I never thought it was weird that my doll didn't look just exactly the same as my friends' dolls, and it was extra cool because I knew that my mom had made it just for me... That, and my dad, who did not much care for the style of Cabbage Patch Dolls had painted beautiful, super realistic eyes on my sister and my dolls, to match our own eye colors. It was pretty awesome.
There is a faction of family members, no matter how much they try to understand craftsy-arty people, who just would rather have the $15 you spent in material costs. I had an aunt that was like that, and I have a sneaking suspicion that several of my extended family members are less-than-thrilled with my handcrafted creations. In the past, I've tried to fight against it, but this year I'm releasing myself from the constant need to prove myself to others...
Instead, I'm proposing an alternative. How about a hierarchy of handmade gifts?
People who really appreciate the time/energy/expense/sacrifice get the really good stuff
Think yummy-soft sweaters, warm and snuggly blankets, ANY hat (even an easy one!), a Tardis bag that took you 5 hours to crochet the Police Call Box strap...
People who appreciate the thought behind a handmade gift (but don't really get why you'd want to make presents in the first place) get thoughtful, but not-quite-as-good gifts
Think coasters and mug wraps, soap dispenser covers, gorgeous handmade ornaments, juggling balls...
People who don't like a gift if it wasn't bought in a 'real' store
They get coal. Just a chunk of coal. I think of it as Crafter Justice...
Okay, what do you think? I am SURE I'm not alone on this one...
I've got a project today that is
awesome dazzling super-cool Middle-Tier-easy. You get all the "I can't believe you made this!" good feelings, with none of the "I don't have enough time to finish this!" stress.
I love the idea of making gloves. Crocheting, by hand, a warm pair of hand-covers, there's something poetic and romantic about that idea. It also sounds like a crap-ton of work (but, I would SO appreciate it if I got some as a gift... Not a hint, but I'm just sayin' that that, my friends, is a gift of love. Top Tier all the way!) But I was at Target the other day, and they had the cheapy stretchy gloves so flippin' cheap that I couldn't leave the store without them. They were, like, two pair for a dollar-fifty. You can't beat that price!
Of course, they look like cheapy stretchy gloves... But I can fix that.
If you are part of the (over 1300!) Super Amazing Dynamos who have a copy of my latest book, Crochet Dynamite: Fun and Games (available at Amazon.com in the Kindle Store. You don't need a Kindle, they have FREE software for your computer/iPad/smart phone/techie awesome devices. Plus, if you're an Amazon Prime Memeber, you can borrow it for FREE!! Ahem, back to the post...) you've read about my latest love, Craft Cord. It's like embroidery floss that doesn't come apart. It's about the same size as the Size 3 crochet thread that I adore, but it comes in bright, multi-packs of awesome colors that I just can't find in crochet thread. And it's cheap like embroidery floss!
So I grabbed up a few 10-yard skeins of my Craft Cord (sometimes called Craft Thread, it's marketed to the Tween friendship-bracelet-making community) and made some granny squares! I stitched them on and voila! the gloves look fancy and sort-of-handmade, but in a good way, like probably everyone will think you bought them at a 'real' store (whatever that means! Coal, I tell you, they all get COAL!!!).
will fit most hands belonging to your Top- and Middle-Tier friends and family members
A pair of cheapy, stretchy bargain gloves
3 different colored skeins of Craft Cord (or you could use embroidery floss, but buy extra of the outer round color)
Size C crochet hook
Straight pins (like for sewing) *optional, but helpful
Magic Loop Granny Square
approximately 1 3/4" square
**I switched color with every round, but for the ease of pattern reading I didn't include that in the instructions**
R1: start a magic loop and ch 3 (counts as the first dc), 2 dc, ch 2, (3 dc, ch 2) 3 times, pull loop tight and sl st to 3rd starting ch to finish round. (4 ch space corners)
R2: 2 sl st across the next 2 dc to get to the next corner, ch 3 in corner loop (counts as the first dc), (2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in the same corner, [ch 2, (3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc in the next corner)] 3 times, ch 2, sl st to 3rd starting ch to finish round.
R3: 2 sl st across the next 2 dc to get to the next ch space, ch 3 in ch space (counts as the first dc), 2 dc, ch 2, (3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc) in the next corner, [ch 2, 3 dc in next ch space, ch 2, (3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc in the next corner)] 3 times, ch 2, sl st to 3rd starting ch to finish round.
Finish off. Weave in ends.
Center the finished square on the back of the glove (make sure that you have them facing correctly to make a right AND a left glove, don't just grab them willy-nilly or you'll end up with two lefties... Ahem, not that I did that...) and pin it in place. You can try it on at this point (CAREFULLY so you don't get stuck) and see if you like the placement, if you'd like. My design aesthetic likes the square set back a little more towards the wrist cuff, but you're welcome to place it anywhere you like. Now grab your needle and outer color cord/thread and stitch it down. I stitched it using the back loops of the final round, but if you've got a way you like sewing embellishments on, go for it.
Then do the other one and you're done! Easy-peasy, right? And your Middle-Tier friends won't know the difference! LOL!!!