Ten years ago a quick trip to the boutique on the corner was my preferred method of obtaining a last minute gift. But since then, the number of gifts I need for friends, family members, and coworkers has increased and my budget has tightened. I think most of us are trying to adapt our budget to rising costs while still being able to show our love and appreciation to other with a unique gift. Now my one-stop gift shopping is a small paper bag of quick and simple crocheted items in my craft room.
One of my favorite gift ideas is Lisa Naskrent's Organic Indulgence Washcloths. Each washcloth requires only 110 yards of worsted weight cotton, perfect for single balls of yarn left over from larger projects. Combine a single washcloth with a bar of nice soap or bubble bath for a friend's birthday, add a bottle of baby wash and a rubber ducky for a baby shower, or wrap three coordinating washcloths with a simple ribbon for a coworker or housewarming gift. The best part is that you can whip up a washcloth in an evening, stashing a variety of colors for your next gifting need.
For the coming winter months, I need to bolster my stash of hats and mittens. The simple Mitts for the Whole Family pattern makes a great birthday, holiday, or get-well gifts. Whip up several pair and sew on a quick crocheted flower or motif to further personalize them. The Hat Squared if a fun shape for men and women alike, and in the suggested alpaca sport, it is incredibly warm and soft.
And last but not least, let's look at the Play Time balls. These little bundles of fun only require 10-15 yards, great little stashbuster, and can be used as juggling balls, hacky sacks, or simple children's toys. When filled with plain batting, these little balls remind me of the felted balls we adored as children. You can throw them at each other without injury; they won't shatter glass windows, and they tend to illicit squeals of delight.
Whether it is a box under the bed, a sack in the closet, or a paper bag in your craft room, a store of crocheted gifts for a variety of occasions can be a life-saver without threatening to derail your budget. Find dozens of great gift ideas in Crocheted Gifts: Irresistible Projects to Make & Give.