3 Valentine’s Day Gifts to Make and Give

Make someone feel extra special with one of these great craft ideas from Mary Polityka Bush featured in PieceWork’s July/August 2005 issue. All you’ll need are a few materials to make Valentine’s Day gifts with vintage charm.

Valentine’s Day gifts

Mary Polityka Bush’s tote bag. Antique crocheted table runner, rickrack, and buttons. 13½ x 11½ inches (34.3 x 29.2 cm); excluding handle. All photos by Joe Coca.

1. Crocheted Tote Bag

To recycle a vintage crocheted table runner into a tote bag, I fold it in half crosswise and seam the side edges. For runners crocheted from fine thread, I reinforce the top of the tote with grosgrain ribbon 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. To make handles, I interlock the zigzags of two pieces of jumbo rickrack 1¼ yard (1.1 m) long, cut the resulting “braid” in two, and sew each handle to the tote with buttons for strength. Use the bag to carry your knitting, take it to the market, or use it at the library for books.

Valentine’s Day gifts

Mary Polityka Bush’s lace rose pin and wire-stemmed rosebud. Lace from an antique handkerchief. Pin, 4 x 3 x 1½ inches (10.2 x 7.6 x 3.8 cm); rosebud and stem, 9½ x 1½ inches (24.1 x 3.8 cm).

2. Lace into Roses

The wispy hand-crocheted edging was incompatible with the plain, synthetic-blend fabric of the handkerchief I purchased at a charity shop, but Candace Kling’s The Artful Ribbon (Concord, California: C&T, 1996) helped me transform the lace into decorative roses. After cutting the edging away from the fabric, I gathered three-quarters of the edging and sewed it to a circle of heavy, nonfusible interfacing. I made a separate wire-stemmed rosebud from the remainder. I stiffened both roses with undiluted laundry starch and echoed their delicacy with leaf shapes created by folding and gathering sheer ribbon. I added a piece of felt to the back of the circular rose to enable me to pin it to a hat, garment, or fabric handbag.

Valentine’s Day gifts

Mary Polityka Bush’s shadowbox displaying a photograph of her mother and a handkerchief she made for the author. 11½ x 9½ x 2 inches (29.2 x 24.1 x 5.1 cm).

3. Mom’s Picture-Perfect Handwork

My mother was a whiz at sewing, knitting, crocheting, smocking, tatting, and many other types of needlework. To honor her talents in a special way, I borrowed an idea from my friend Carol Runner and framed a photograph of Mom with a handkerchief she made for me. After gathering the handkerchief to fit inside a deep shadowbox frame, I secured it to the frame’s padded insert with decorative straight pins, mounted Mom’s photograph on acid-free foamcore, which I edged with grosgrain ribbon and pinned to the insert.

For more great gift ideas from Mary see our blog post “3 Ways to Add Vintage Flair to Your Holiday Wrapping.”

Find other great Valentine’s Day gifts in PieceWork!


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