This week I made this beautiful (I have no modesty about this) blanket for a friend who’s having a baby soon. I followed this Cheery Wave Ripple Blanket tutorial on Meet Me At Mikes. The only thing I added an extra line all the way around of treble crochets just to neaten up my sides and because I adore this yellow so much I just needed to squeeze a little bit more of it into the blanket and I did 7 sets of 19 chains to start it off to make it baby blanket/cot-sized.
And it made me thinking about how much I adore handmade gifts. Both giving and receiving them. Though sometimes handmade gifts can go a little pear shaped. Either in the planning and production stage or sometimes giving them can be a little bit disheartening when all that effort seems to go unappreciated.
So, here’s some tips how to give or receive handmade gifts.
Giving Handmade Gifts
Give yourself as much time as you can to complete your handmade gift. I am TERRIBLE at this, and I have many times left things to the very last minute. I recently made a dress for a friend’s daughter and I was still fixing up the last few details on the skirt the morning of her party! Pressure doesn’t make for neat work. I know that one of the appliques I attached was a little bit wonky and I simply didn’t have the time to unpick it and do it over again. It was still a lovely dress, but it wasn’t up to my usual standard. So, plan out when you’re going to make the gift – and allow yourself extra opportunities if you can’t finish it – and then do it!
Have a Budget – and stick to it.
So. Many. Times. I’ve planned out a gift idea and it’s not until I’m actually shopping for the materials that I even considered what it was REALLY going to cost me. Depending on what you’re making you need to ensure you include all the material, thread, patterns, lace, ribbons, yarn, paper – any tools you don’t have that you might need – add them ALL up before you commit to a project. I’ve had relatively small gifts snowball into a expensive projects because I didn’t consider all the costs involved before I commenced and once it’s started it’s hard to stop.
I would never tell someone not to have a go at something they really want to try, but when you’re planning to give someone a handmade gift often something simple – but well made, is better than something more ambitious, but maybe not so well finished. Think about what you’re existing skills are and work from there. This is definitely a mistake I’ve made myself and I’ve wound up wishing I’d stuck to something simpler that I know I can manage rather than going with what looks amazing on Pinterest. However I’ve also challenged myself to learn how to make something with several months to practice so I could give that finally finished project as a gift.
I do stress myself out a little when it comes to handmade gifts and I also do have to remember they don’t have to be perfect. Love and good intentions make up for a few little mistakes.
Receiving Handmade Gifts
Don’t Assume It’s Cheap
It might be – sometimes handmade gifts are a great way to make thrifty presents – and money spent shouldn’t be the most important thing about being given a gift anyway – but see point number 2; quite often a handmade gift is as expensive, if not more, than something bought in a store already made.
Don’t point out flaws
Unlike mass produced machine made items, handmade items might have a little bit more character. They might not be entirely perfect and that’s okay. It’s easy enough to walk into a store and buy something, but making something by hand takes a lot of time and dedication.
Say something nice about it
Obviously thanking someone for a gift is just polite, but especially with handmade gifts try to give some specific feedback. And be genuine. If you love the colours, the feel of the fabric, the neatness of the sewing, the design, the flavour choices – whatever it is – say it.
Show that you’ve used the gift
Given the time, love and energy that goes into handmade gifts it can be a little bit disappointing to never hear about the gift again. If it’s clothes (especially for a baby or child) When you try it on them for the first time, take a picture and send the picture it to the gift giver. This is hugely appreciated! I know I’m always anxiously waiting to hear whether or not it fits! How it look on. And whether they like it. If it’s food, like homemade jam, just take a snap of it spread on your toast! Whatever it is – show them that it’s been appreciated. It goes a long way.
What is your favourite handmade gift you’ve ever received? OR is there anything you wish someone would make for you?