A Different Way to Give Handmade

A few years ago, a knitter friend of mine presented me with a different way to give handmade gifts: don’t gift finished projects. It was a revelation.

Business As Usual

It seems to be a common progression amongst knitters.  When you first learn to knit you think to yourself “I’ll never have to buy another gift again! From now on, everyone in my life will receive thoughtfully planned, lovingly created, unique handmade treasures!”

A Different Way to Give Handmade - An Ideal Christmas

Then your first Christmas happens.

Realizing that you cannot, in fact, make all of your gifts by hand (short of quitting your job and your wrists falling off), you scale back your expectations. But even if you only make a few things a year for the most special people in your life, at some point you will end up staying up until 3 AM some Christmas or Birthday Eve to weave in ends, hoping a fan will dry it out in time.

A Different Way

The radically different alternative is to just opt out of crafting deadlines. Instead of finished pieces, the “gift” is a designing session and yarn. Spend the time with your loved one picking the perfect yarn and just the right pattern. You then make it in your own time frame. No deadlines, no worrying whether they’ll like, they get it when it gets done.

Not only does this sidestep the deadline, but also presents the delightful opportunity to involve them in the process from start to finish. You can talk with them about the difference between a scarf and a shawl, alpaca versus wool, fingering or worsted weight. And let *them* decide if they want it machine washable. It will be more like ordering a personally tailored garment than buying something from a store.

A Different Way to Give Handmade - Gorgeous Yarn

Best of all, you don’t have to hide your work-in-progress! Involve them in that too! Show them how it’s going, even share mistakes and accidents. As fun as it is to revel in the mystery of crafting, your loved ones will appreciate it that much more once they’ve seen exactly how much thought and time and effort goes into the smallest gift.

And did I mention no crafting against a deadline?

I’ve been doing this for several years, through a number of gifts, and I cannot recommend it enough. I’ve picked out yarn on the computer with my partner, I’ve conferenced with my sister across the country, I’ve gone to 4 different yarn stores with a friend looking for just the *right* shade of blue. Sometimes it takes months to actually finish, long after I meant to be done, and it’s always been okay. Because they’ve shared every frustration and setback, breakthrough and relief; they get exactly what they asked for and they know *exactly* how much thought and time and energy went into it.

And did I mention no last minute all-nighters?

Last Minute Gifts Without the Stress

If you want to retain the feel of a traditional gifting with wrap and trimmings, you can make a present of the yarn itself. With our extended Christmas shipping deadline, if you work with the loved one now and order from KnitPicks.com by 9 AM Friday, December 16th, you can have the exact yarn they ask for, even a gift card, to open on Christmas Day. Or order one of our pattern collection books for a wealth of possibilities that your loved one can pick from in person. (You could even download an ebook ON Christmas Day!)

A Different Way to Give Handmade - Pattern Ideas

If you’re *really* pressed for time, our expedited shipping deadline isn’t until December 21st, or you can create your own gift certificate for a bespoke handmade garment. Make it as elaborate as you can!

A Different Way to Give Handmade - Last Chance for Shipping Knitpicks.com

So say goodbye to stressful all-night Holiday crafting sessions and embrace a different way to give.



  1. Cara Brooke / December 20, 2016

    Oh my goodness, THANK YOU! I actually wrote a post of my own not too long ago about how DONE I was with deadline gift crafting, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with that feeling ever since. I love to make gifts, but I’m just worn out with constant gift making and all the anxiety of whether or not the recipient will like what I’ve made for them. This is a total win-win solution. Thank you for putting it into words and sharing it with us all.

  2. Sio / December 17, 2016

    Yes! I did this for my sissy this year and it was great. Never mind the fact that I gave it to her on a 90F day, she loved it. I’d never really put it into these words but now that I see this as a concept, I’m inspired to do it again.

  3. Cindy Lou / December 17, 2016

    I’ve done this and it really is a stress reducer. I bring them to my LYS or theirs and let them pick what they want. I also put a dollar limit on what I will spend on the yarn. It’s funny to watch their faces when they see how expensive good yarn really is! Once in a while, they will really like a certain yarn and they say they will pay for it because it’s over my limit. Win-Win!

  4. muskaan / December 15, 2016

    Great idea !!!!

  5. Sue / December 15, 2016

    It is important also to steer your friend to projects that you can do and will enjoy…my counted cross-stitching friend has suffered through projects that origionated with the invitation to:”pick anything”…. It is easier and a lot more fun to get to completion when that is kept in mind

  6. Knitfrigknit / December 15, 2016

    I’ve been doing this for years😜 Only I was not as clever as Daniel to say. ‘I want to make just what you want so we will pick it out together and then I’ll make it.” All of my family at one time or another has gotten a piece of fabric or box of yarn with promise to get it done quick. I love your creative way of avoiding the deadline crunch because as usual I’m behind. Did u know Dec 25 is Christmas? Apparently I don’t because I’m not going to be ready. Thanks for Plan B😇

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