By Sonia Simone
If you choose the right techniques and easy knitting patterns, making your own Christmas gifts doesn't have to be intimidating. Even a beginning knitter can make wonderful gifts that will show your love and creativity!
The key to knitting for gifts is to keep things simple, use quality materials, and, if you want to knit several gifts, consider using one pattern multiple times.
I'm a beginning knitter (or I don't know how to knit yet)
Here's the big untold secret about knitting. If you pick a simple pattern, knitting is really easy! If you're an absolute beginner or just feeling a little lack of confidence, knit up some scarves in chunky, beautiful yarn.
They'll go quickly, winter scarves are wonderful to wear, and a thick "novelty" style yarn hides any little irregularities in your stitches.
If you don't know how to knit at all, pick up a book like Teach Yourself Knitting Visually or a clear, simple how-to-knit eBook like this one
You can master the basics in less time than it took you to figure out how your email program worked.
Finding the time to make handmade gifts
This is the kicker, right? We're all crazy busy, and finding time to make hand-knit gifts might seem completely impossible.
Here are some great opportunities to get some knitting in. Think about your own schedule and see if there are other times you can find.
* TV. This is the big one for most folks. If you watch an hour of TV a night, you can get a beautiful gift knitted every week, at least. Two hours a night = two gifts a week. Netflix counts too!
Knit for charity
If you live in a warm climate or your friends just aren't winter scarf people, you might consider knitting for charity. You can knit blankets for the elderly in cold climates, "comfort dolls" to comfort children with AIDS in Africa, or hats and scarves for the homeless. Google "knit for charity" to find some great opportunities. You might even consider knitting for charity in a friend's name as a holiday gift, if you're a little short on cash for something like the Heifer Project.
Tips for knitting Christmas gifts without stress
The most important tip is to keep it simple. Even if you're a pretty proficient knitter, this isn't the time to learn a new technique or work with a skinny fingering-weight yarn that will take forever to knit up. Pick an easy knitting pattern for something like:
* A winter scarf
I created a Squidoo lens with lots of tips, patterns, resources and ideas--far more than I can link to in an ezinearticle. There are resources there for cute and easy knitted toys, too, and some more charity knitting ideas. You can find it at Knit Christmas Presents
If you find a pattern you like, say for an easy hat or a cute stuffed toy, use it as many times as you can for multiple presents. You'll be amazed at how much faster the second, third, and fourth version of the same pattern can be.
You also will usually want to stick with chunky yarns (this is a good use for "novelty" yarns, which have lots of texture and are usually thick but also light and fluffy), since they knit up quickly so you can make more presents. Remember that a scarf or hat should be made of nice, soft yarn so it feels good against the face. Even a beginner can make a simple scarf with novelty yarn in just a few hours, and have it look just fantastic.
Don't let the idea of knitting Christmas presents intimidate you! Keep it simple, use quick-knitting materials, make use of your downtime, and you'll have 5 or 10 heartwarming home-made gifts to give this year. Happy knitting!
Copyright (c) 2007 Sonia Simone. Sonia is a professional marketing writer and editor who also loves to knit. You can read her blog at www.remarcom.typepad.com
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