Handmade Christmas 2011

After months of work spinning, knitting, crocheting, baking and so on I think I’m nearly organised with all my hand made Christmas Presents.

Aprons made from Tea Towels

Did I enjoy the process? Yes I did.  While it did take months it wasn’t a chore as I had so much fun choosing wool and patterns and trying to decide on what I wanted to make.  If anything the hardest part was realising that there was only so much time  and that I couldn’t make all those wonderful items that I had seen.  Never fear though – many patterns have been ear marked ready for next years Christmas……see getting organised already…..roflmol.
Ear Flap Hat

   Handspun wool, hand knitted (of course) Ear Flap Hat.  Pattern is here. 

Top of Ear Flap Hat

I have made another hat in the same pattern with handspun yarn that James helped me dye in the colours he wanted.  No pictures sorry but the pattern was the same I just changed the patterned sections to make the hats different.

If you want a super quick and easy fingerless mitten pattern – that will only take a couple of hours and use up some small balls of yarn check out Sideways by Sydney Crabaugh.  The pattern is a Ravely download but I highly recommend it. I used up left over wool from James’s beanie and they turned out brilliantly.  Again sorry – no photos.

Did I save money? Absolutely!!!!!!!  All of us have been doing an add up on what we have spent on the presents….keeping in mind that we could buy the components to make the presents ie canvas boards and crayons, but couldn’t purchase the actual gift…………and it’s surprising just how much money we have saved.  Lets take  James’s gifts for example – the magnificent Crayon Art he created cost him the princely sum of $20 for five presents. I bet you can’t find five presents in the shops for that amount of money and have something you are proud to give.

Hat and Mittens

Hand dyed with plant dyes, commercial wool (Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic 8 ply) Pattern here.  Mittens are the Cabobbled Mittens pattern here.

What the time and effort we put into presents worth it?  I have been asking the kids what did they think of the whole idea and process and all three agreed that they enjoyed it.  Even Elise with all the study and exams she had to do said it was worth it in the long run. That it gave her something to look forward to at the end of all the stress.  James told me it was a good “learning curve” and he loved it.  He thinks it’s something that we could and should do every year.  Nicola very quietly worked on her presents and seemed to breeze through the whole event with not even a ripple in her daily life.

Crocheted Cowl

Simple double crochet scarf that was twisted and joined to make a cowl.  Acrylic Wool from my stash. Super soft and squishy and warm.

David Tennant/Dr Who

David Tennant doll crocheted from someone who is a big fan. Pattern is here.

That’s most of the presents.  The Christmas cakes were made months ago and just have to be wrapped and there maybe some more baking to be done but I think I’m organised.   There are other handmade presents but I forgot to take photos.  I will admit to a moment of panic when I pulled out all the presents the other day  to make sure I had done everything. It didn’t seem like there was much there but then I sat down and really thought about it.  There is a lot there.  There is love and time and skill.  There is the hours of knitting and crochet and sewing when the family weren’t home. There was the fun of choosing the perfect gift and then the making of it.  The last minute moments when I would think “I’ll just crochet around this and whip up something else pretty for someone”.  The printing out of patterns and then the choosing. The spinning and dyeing of wool.  The endless questions from a small boy “Have you spun the wool for my beanie yet?” It’s all those moments that make the whole Handmade Christmas so worthwhile.

I think as a society, and this is just my opinion, that we are brainwashed into thinking that if something isn’t purchased from a shop somewhere and if it doesn’t come out of an anonymous factory the other side of the world then it isn’t “good enough” to give as a gift. That we are somehow letting down the economy and those workers and all that other stuff.  Rubbish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We can still support our economy even if we don’t have the skills or time to create homemade presents. There are loads of online sites selling handmade items that are absolutely beautiful.  Don’t forget your local markets or maybe a neighbour makes something that would be wonderful for a gift….and never, ever  underestimate yourself.  There are 12 months in a year. One present a month means 12 presents by the end of the year….more if you pick simple things or you get really good at something.  Treat it as a way to learn new skills. Even if you don’t think the item is outstanding I guarantee that the recipient will love it simply because you put time and effort and love into the gift.

Will we do it again???????????????????  Of course we will. How could we not?  As a family it bought us closer together – even though we were hiding what we have done….but there was the  questions of “what do you think you would like….give me a list of five things…..” that lead to present possibilities.  The discussions on colour and texture and design while working out the presents. It has lead us further down the road of creativity into area’s we would not have normally travelled.

Will all Birthday and Christmas presents be home made from now on? Possibly not. Christmas yes – birthday’s we might resort to purchased gifts but we will see.  Who knows what will happen in the future.

Regardless we went where we haven’t gone before and had fun in the process……and that’s the bit that counts the most.



3 thoughts on “Handmade Christmas 2011

  1. Busy busy Lady. I sew a few seams and then seem to get pulled away.
    This week has been so busy. I actually postponed a tour of Prahran Market due tomorrow. I figure a market and 30C and I do not mix.

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