How to Stay Sane While Making Handmade Gifts

I have a bit of a follow-through issue when it comes to handmade gifts. If you don’t believe me, there are lots of people you could ask: my roommate (still waiting on a hat that just needs buttons from two years ago), my boyfriend (once received a handknit scarf 11 months after his birthday), or my mother (has been waiting a year for a sweater I have not started).

They all still love me, but it would be foolish to pretend this is their favorite thing about me.

Fundamentally, my problem comes down to a lack of reasonable expectations. I set myself goals and deadlines that I know, deep down, are unattainable. But unlike most other tasks, which can be procrastinated and then blown through, it’s hard to just knit or crochet faster to meet a deadline that was too aggressive to begin with.

This year, I’m trying to set myself reasonable goals and intermediate deadlines to check how I’m coming along. If you, like me, struggle with time management during this very demanding time of year, here are some articles I found really helpful in planning all the handmade gifts I’m planning to execute this year. May they help you strike the right balance between realism and ambition in your own endeavors!

Start Choosing Holiday Sweater Patterns Today! But Who Gets One?

This is an infographic I created this year to help me narrow down my handmade gift-giving scope. It’s tempting for me to try to give everyone I love or even like handmade gifts, but that’s a surefire recipe for a stressed-out Andrea and lots of unfinished gifts. I tried this approach last year, and NO ONE got their gifts on time.

When Knitting for Others, Sometimes It’s Best to Skip the Surprise Factor

It’s also tempting to try to surprise everyone on your list. The trouble is, handmade gifts take so much time, money, and care that it might be a good idea to consult with your recipient before casting on, as project editor Joni Coniglio recommends in this article. After all, because non-crafters look at handmade items so differently than you do, they might not have the same priorities!

6 Steps for Planning Handmade Holiday Gifts PLUS a Free Calendar Download!

If you, like me, thrive on clear deadlines and lots of planning, the downloadable crafting calendar in this article could be a live-saver for you. Sara Dudek, editor of Interweave Crochet, has tons of ideas to help you create a plan and stick to it! If you need even more organization, consider trying out a crafting bullet journal to keep things meticulous.

(Original Caption) From Salvage To Socks. The Children from the Duchy of Cornwall Estate in South London have formed a staunch little army of collectors and, headed by their Union Jack, they spend their playtime with their sacks on their backs collecting all the salvage they can This sorted out and sold and with the proceeds, the women of the Estate buy wool in order to knit socks for their men. Already over 50 pairs of socks have found their way to the man from the estate and both the children and the women tackle their jobs with great enthusiasm. Photo: With the wool bought from the proceeds of the children salvage efforts, the women of the Duchy of Cornwall estate knit socks for their men. 6th August 1940 (Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

5 Tips for Faster Knitting + Why You Shouldn’t Care

Even if you are already well underway knitting and crocheting your handmade gifts this year, it’s likely you’re going to find yourself coming up against a deadline. Our former content strategist, Lisa Shroyer, has knit to lots of deadlines, self-imposed and otherwise, and she has great tips for making those stitches fly. (She also encourages you not to worry so much about speed, but when you need to go fast, you need to go fast!)

How to Knit Gifts & Still Post on Social Media

I’m Interweave’s social media manager, so sharing my WIPs on professional and personal social media channels is a big part of my life. During the holidays, this gets tricky, especially if I’m trying to surprise someone! Our editorial director of books, Kerry Bogart, has some great tips for posting about gifts-in-progress without giving it all away to the lucky future recipient. It’s all about misdirection, people!

I hope these tips help you keep a little bit of your sanity intact during the inevitable madness that is holiday knitting! Do you have tips for planning out the making of your handmade gifts? Do you try to surprise your friends and family, or are they in on your plans from the beginning? Let me know in the comments!

Yours in Stitches,

(Featured Image courtesy of Getty Images)

Need ideas for handmade gifts? We’ve got you.