It’s that time of year, almost.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s brain is firing like crazy, in search of ideas for perfect Christmas gifts this year. Since I have taken up crochet and knitting in this last year (in fact, it was last winter when I first began knitting), I have been looking forward to being able to gift some items that I’ve hand crocheted or hand knitted.
So, a couple of months ago, I went on the hunt to find the best gifts, DIY-style. Of course crochet and knitting will be two I’ll want to focus on. I searched online to find what items would be the most likely to be appreciated and loved by other folks. I even went on crochet forums to ask fellow crocheters for their advice. I polled my readers, I perused websites like Etsy to see what crocheted items appeared to be the most sought-after by my fellow humans.
I got some random answers and some useful ones. Some recommended sticking with a popular accessory like scarves. Others said that their families and loved ones always valued their hand-made blankets and afghans the most. And one person even said that her most popular item was pet beds! She shared a nugget of advice with me, saying that I’d be surprised to learn how many people really found pet beds to be valuable gifts! Who knew?
Her suggestion was later confirmed when my sister asked me if I could crochet or knit a doggy bed for my niece’s new puppy!
I suppose for a pet owner, beds really would be handy gifts to give because, as my advice-giver noted, pets love to sleep on their owner’s clothing items and furniture. Owners tend to prefer their furniture and clothing to be fur-free, so a bed for the pets to keep warm in does seem a logical and useful choice for gifting.
You see, my family members don’t crochet or knit, and people who aren’t familiar with the crafts tend to not know (or value) the work and love that goes into creating such a gift. So, I realize that the majority of my family members are simply not going to appreciate a hand-made product as a gift, especially the kids who would probably use the item as a means to create a fire with, or toss in the nearest trash can.
However, I realize that there are people out there who do value and appreciate a nice, hand-knit or crocheted sweater or afghan or blanket, so for y’all, I’ve compiled a list of 10 beautiful blankets & afghans that can be crocheted with a beginner levels experience (see, my crochet beginners, I’ve got your back!) This way, even beginner crocheters can get in on the crochet gifting. So, I hope you guys find my top 10 to be both simple to work with and also beautiful enough to give as gifts.
* Coming Up: Knitters Version: 10 Beginner-Friendly Blankets to Knit for Christmas (Free Patterns)
Since the chevron pattern is so popular and modern this year (2014), I thought I’d start off with a couple of those.
1. The Chevron Baby Blanket Free Pattern by Bellus Threads:
2. Free Crochet Ripple Baby Blanket by G. C. Murphy Co., found on Miracles Happen
(Another Free Chevron Baby Blanket Pattern that’s simple to follow.) In fact, this was the very first blanket I ever attempted to crochet & it went surprisingly well! The instructions are so easy and repetitive that you’ll have the memorized within the first few rows.
3. How to Crochet a Blanket for Beginners
This absolute beginner crochet blanket tutorial is a perfect first blanket to crochet, especially if a design seems a tad too daunting just yet. The folks from AHC Kids Crafts provide a detailed photo-tutorial from the very first step (knotting the yarn onto the hook and to the very last stitch)
This lap-throw is an easy, quick project that takes so little yarn (one jumbo skein) that you might be able to make more than just one to gift to your loved ones, or keep one to snuggle up with yourself. The best thing about it? It’s so simple and easy yet you wouldn’t know it by looking at the fun, textured design!
5. Crochet Super Easy Crib Blanket by the Purl Bee
Source: Purl Bee
If you’ve succeeded with a single color crochet blanket pattern and feel ready to start using multiple colors, then these chunky-striped or color-block blankets will be your perfect project. Choose bold color combos for a sunny, cheerful blanket or go with neutrals to gift to folks who like to match their bedroom/living room suite with their accessories. The best thing about this color-block blanket is that they’ll always be stylish, even decades down the road. Also great is the versatility.
6. The Five & A Half Hour Throw by Lion Brand with Vanna’s Choice Yarn
This pattern, with a difficulty rating of 2 is perfect if you’re strapped for time and want a really quick, thick and cozy throw that’ll look lovely in any atmosphere.
Tip: This throw requires 5 balls of the Vanna’s Choice yarn, which isn’t the cheapest yarn on the market. So if you’re like me and need a cheaper option at the moment, then one way to substitute for a thick yarn is by crocheting with double-strands (simply using two strands of yarn at once as you crochet) from a ball of yarn that costs less. This will achieve the same, or very similar thickness for a cheaper price, especially if you can get your yarn on sale.
*Tip: Joann almost always runs a 50% off one purchase deal.
7. Fiber Star: Soft Purple Baby Blanket found on I Brake for Yarn, Hooks and Books by Samantha Stopple and also published in Fiber Star.
Despite the name, you can use any color combo you choose or even stick with a single color for the entire blanket. The stitching creates a lovely, unique texture but the work is so simple a first-timer could probably get it down in little time.
8. Easy Beginner Crochet Baby Blanket Video Tutorial by I Heart Stitching
I didn’t want to leave out you guys who are visual learners, so here’s a fantastic video tutorial on a lovely, easy baby blanket. If you use the same thickness of yarn as the video instructor does, you’ll get an incredibly snuggly, chunky blanket which is all the rage right now in crochet world. The peach color is gorgeous, but you can choose any color you like, or even do a combination.
9. The Free School Spirit Throw Crochet Pattern from Red Heart is perfect for sports fans and the results are so professional looking that any sports fan is going to appreciate this gift. The fringed edges are icing on the cake.
Source: Red Heart
Bonus: these are even more warm, soft and cozy than those stiff store-bought sports throws!
10. Simple Crocheted Baby Blanket by Christy Grauer from Girl Uprooted
This intricate-looking pattern is simply genius in design because it’s based off a simple square, and it’s so aesthetically pleasing. This is a blanket that looks like advanced but can be achieved by many beginners, especially if you’ve already succeeded in the square, which is what most beginners learn first. If you’ve yet to tackle the square, please don’t let that deter you from putting your hook to the test with this one. It might take you a few tries at your first square, but I assure you, the results with this design are going to give you a great sense of pride and accomplishment! Plus, once you’ve got past the square that makes up this blanket, the rest is so easy.
You can easily change the size of any blanket/afghan pattern by simply continuing in the pattern for a longer length than a pattern calls for, or to shorten a larger blanket to a baby or throw size, simply stop when you reach desired length.
Size Tip: If your blanket turns out to be more narrow than you wanted, there’s a “fix” I like to use, which is simply crocheting — or knitting. Knitting can look lovely as an edging to a crochet blanket — around the entire blanket, as an edging. You can do this using simple crochet basics like a single crochet, double crochet or half double crochet all around the entire blanket, or add a decorative trim like a scalloped edging. The scallop edge is very simple, and beginner tutorials can be found all over YouTube, if interested.
So, will any of you awesome guys and gals be crocheting gifts this Christmas? If so, what are your plans so far? Will any of you be trying your hand at any of the 10 listed here? I’d love to hear your ideas! Also, feedback is very appreciated. If you like this kind of post, it’s very helpful to know that you do (or don’t), that way I can create more like this for those of you who do, or find another focus for those who prefer something else. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to stop by!