The Gift of Hand-Made

This holiday is going to be interesting now that the coffers have been drained by the kitchen remodel. I thought about just taking a picture of my new kitchen and putting it in a card with “Happy Holidays! Your gift is a new kitchen for me!”

Something tells me that won’t be as popular as the year I made candy for everyone. Whatever.

The good news for me is that I’m a creative, crafty person and I really enjoy making gifts for my loved ones. I don’t get to see or spend enough time with them so by making a gift, it feels like I say things I normally don’t get to say. “I love you. I’m thinking of you.”

Sadly, some people think hand-made gifts say, “I didn’t want to spend money on you.”

If only they knew how much we actually spend when we make things. They’d probably be pissed we didn’t just give them a gift card so they could buy that laptop they have been wanting.

Just for fun, I thought I would go through a few of the hand-made projects I’ve done over the years and how “cheap” they are.

This scarf was knit with Japanese, hand-painted yarn because…well, look at it! The materials alone for this cost around $180.

I try to knit socks like these every Christmas and Mother’s Day for my grandmother because my hand-knit socks are the only ones she wears anymore. This makes the $30 yarn for this pair, totally worth it.

The yarn for this little beauty, this baby sweater that will fit for about a week and a half, over $120.

I don’t necessarily have only expensive taste in yarn. I do believe that if you are going to spend all that time making something, use the materials that will make the outcome special.

I also don’t want to give the impression that I have money to fling around. Knitting is my hobby and it is important for my sanity. I don’t go out to eat or go to movies. I drive a 10-year-old car, etc. The point being, I save money for my knitting and crafts because it is important to me. This is what I want instead of nice clothes or shoes. I’m very lucky I have discretionary funds. Or at least…I had them before the kitchen.

I know I’m only shared knitting projects but mainly that is because I document my knitting pretty well (with the money and time that goes into them, who wouldn’t?) and because it really is a good example of an expensive hobby that is often perceived as something people do to save money. Knitters laugh and laugh when they hear that.

While this Christmas will be about not spending the money I don’t have, I do have a LOT of raw material (good stuff) on hand that will make very nice gifts.

This Christmas I’m thinking about some alternatives to knitting. Partly due to time and partly due to the fact that most of my family live in warm climates and have more knitted love from me than they can wear in two lifetimes.

I’m thinking about some of these:

Photo found on Pinterest but originating site disappeared.

And some of these:

Photo found on Pinterest and linked to the beautiful etsy store it comes from.

Or a slightly different version:

Photo found on Pinterest and linked to the board of the clever woman who made this.

I have been working on an ongoing ancestry project for my brothers. This would be the year to get it done. At the very least, I found some historic maps of Europe and I was going to map our ancestors’ locations on the map and frame them. I had hoped someone else did something like this before me so I’d have inspiration but it looks like I’m coming up with this one first.

When I was looking through my pictures, I did find an old picture from when I was a professional knitter. Yes, I was briefly a professional knitter.  This is what being a professional knitter looks like.

Knitting samples for a catalog

The flip side to this cozy scene was that I couldn’t leave it for two days. Well, I did get up and have a meal or two and I did sleep but I had to sit there and knit for all that time. That does get old. Even for knitting.

Anyone else have some ideas for hand-made gifts this season? I’m thinking about making a few extras when I make something and maybe throw them up on etsy or organize a swap or something?

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3 Responses to The Gift of Hand-Made

  1. Amy says:

    Was thisclose to thinking that I should get my friends something else, to supplement “only” getting handmade socks. Your post reminded me that $28-$32 per skein + 16 hours of knitting at minimum wage (let’s say it’s $8/hour) is roughly $160 at the end.

  2. Amy D. says:

    Here I was thinking, should I go ahead and place my order?! 🙂 Also, my daughter’s knitting habit has taught me about the true cost of her “relaxing time.” Last year she convinced me to spend $30 on a small roll of yarn. Of course, it was handcrafted by a former elementary school teacher from the wool from her alpacas . . . and then there are the yards of material for all of the doll clothes my girls have created. They are only 11 and 7, but it is amazing what they can create with their imagination. Oh, and I should add that the 7 y/o just started making Christmas gifts for this year. I guess the short response should have been, I love hand crafted gifts. I just wish I was craftier!

    • LoveThisSpace says:

      Her knitting will pay off in more than knitted items. It is a wonderful, creative outlet as well as a well-documented meditation tool. I’ve watched my 96 year old grandmother lose a lot of her buttons, but she can still knit. And while we can’t talk about a lot of stuff because she gets confused, we can pour over knitting magazines and books and I thank knitting every time for giving us this common hobby keeping us close. Your daughter is lucky she has such a grateful recipient to her knitted love!

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