Join me in my adventures with knitting, crochet, sewing and thrifting with a bit of day to day life thrown in too!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Making Handmade Gifts

In the run up to Christmas there are many people who choose to make a few of the gifts they will give.
My latest handmade gift was a scarf I knitted a family friend's birthday.  The Chinook Scarf.

A very good scarf to make for a gift I think, especially for a beginner knitter like me.  It's relatively quick to knit up, and looks a little more refined with it's shawl-esque look and lace edging. 

It's a very good pattern for a beginner wishing to learn a couple of new skills.  It's has increasing and decreasing, the i-cord along one edge and the lace along the other.  It's an excellent pattern for that first step into lace knitting, with just the edging being lace, it's gives a taster without being overly daunting. 

 It's overall a very good pattern for moving beyond a beginner with the bulk of the knitting still being the standard stocking stitch it feels do-able, but the lace and i-cord edging stops it getting too boring and repetitive.  As it's worked sideways it's very simple to calculate yarn quantity.  Simply increase until end of first ball then decrease with second.

Pattern : Chinook Scarf (Ravelry, free)
Needles : 4.5mm
Yarn : Wendy Sorrento DK 50g (45% cotton 55% acrylic)
Colourway : 2416 Clover
Cost : 2 skeins @ £1.69 each (on sale) = £3.38

This was my first attempt at blocking too.  I had no real idea of what I was doing but it seemed to work out and opened up the lace edging well.  The narrow end sections still curled but not sure why.  Think it may have simply been the stocking stitching.  I don't think better blocking would have improved it.  Maybe I'm wrong.

Whenever I make a gift I have a wobble of confidence.  Is it good enough?  Will they like it?  Does it look like I made it?  I mean the last one in the sense of badly made, like a child made it.  If a child has made it though, it's all good, it's a sure fire winner with the rellies.  If I've made it, I want it to look professional, almost shop bought.  It still needs to have the essence of handmade, so they can see I put a crap load of hours and effort into it, but on the other hand it needs to look good enough that it could have been bought.  

Plus, I always have to suppress an urge to explain the gift.  Explain to the giftee my whole thought process behind said gift.  Plus exactly how long it actually took to make it.  Because running parallel with the doubt is also the pride of having actually made something, and in my case having actually completed it.  I want to put a label on said item laying out the exact number of man hours that has gone into making it,  including finding the right pattern, understanding said pattern, choosing the right colours, fabric, yarn etc.  The frogging or seam ripping, the frustration and sometimes literally the blood, sweat and tears that can often go along with some projects.  I want them to appreciate it, love it, but most of all I simply want them to use it.  That's the highest compliment I can get.

At the end of the day, a gift is a gift, and whether it's bought or made your not always going to get it right I guess.  But if they, at least, don't appreciate the time and effort gone into it, then make sure they get bubble bath next time.

Peace Out X


The Girl said...

Haha I am totally with you on those last few paragraphs. It's hard to resist the urge to put a note in with a handmade present detailing the toil and sweat and stress that has gone in to making something for someone - but I guess it's not appropriate to do that. Tempting though - I'm tempted to put in a card with my Dad's blanket saying "Just so you know, each row took me about an hour to crochet, do the maths!"

You have absolutely no worries though because it definitely doesn't look like a child made it (another fear I can sympathise with) so if you've chosen the recipient of your gift wisely they will just be amazed at how much effort you've gone to and will truly appreciate what you've done for them.

And like you said, if the response isn't what you hoped for - next year, it's a trip to Lush!

Anonymous said...

I also start doubting my abilities when I make something to give away.
For smaller projects, I tend to make one (full of mistakes and ugly bits) for myself, and the next one (fewer mistakes, but certainly far from perfect!) I give away.

I think that for a beginner, your scarf is amazing! I've been knitting on and off for a few years now, and most of my stuff looks very amateurish!

The Craft Giraffe said...

I totally feel like that too. One of the first things I made a few yrs back after getting back into crocheting was, well lets just say, less than well received. I think the person would have preferred some sweat shop made, off the rack, chain store bought outfit that would have required no thought whatsoever. It made me so insecure about ever giving a handmade gift again. Thankfully though I had made two of the same blanket and practically everyone else I know(even my dad) has said how nice it is and all the other bits and pieces I make. The time that these projects take to make should, by itself, make getting gifts like these mean so much.
I love your scarf, it definitely looks good enough to be shop bought but you can also see that there is nothing that nice to be bought in the shops. The colour is beautiful and the person that receives that as a gift is very lucky indeed.

HillyT said...

I'm full of doubts about my handmade Christmas, but I'm going for it anyway because I genuinely think I will be able to match gift to person better than I could with store bought gifts this year.
I guess I'll just have to wait and see how they are received but mostly they will be opened without me being there so I probably won't lose too much sleep over it.

karisma said...

It is beautiful!

Faith said...

I think everyone is with you on gift giving, not easy especially if it's for a non-crafter. I've been stressing over my one-a-day blanket as I know who I would like to give it too which is different to who I started out making it for. The second person would maybe keep it for a month or so, then as usual have a change around and charity shop it, no thought going to the effort put in.

I know I would love a handmade thing over anything else and definitely more thought has gone in than a dash to shops to find something as quickly as possible. Your scarf is beautiful and I'm sure will be well appreciated. I like your idea of a man-hours label.....brilliant.

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