Many of us have been compiling our holiday project lists ever since the leaves first started to change. If you are anything like me, you daydream up a million amazing handmade gift ideas, but when the season is knocking on your door, you start to panic—there just isn’t enough time! I’ve realized two important things over the years that have helped me manage my gift lists and reduced my holiday stress:
1. Unless the recipient is an avid crocheter or knitter, a complicated project that involves colorwork, intricate cables, or a 20-row repeat lace pattern might not get the appreciation it deserves. These projects are best saved for the person who taught you to crochet or yourself (it isn’t selfish to keep your projects, by the way). Often, people appreciate things that are simple to make— projects that fit into their existing wardrobe/lifestyle without fuss. It doesn’t have to be something unlike-anything-they-have-ever-seen-before to be appreciated. In fact, something common like a simple ribbed cowl that they will wear for years to come becomes extra special simply because you made it for them.
2. Ribbed rectangles make AWESOME gifts! You can make a zillion different things with a ribbed rectangle: scarves, cowls, headbands, fingerless mittens… the list goes on and on. You don’t even need a pattern—you just need to start with a foundation chain that matches either the length or width of the desired rectangle size. Take a look at what I’ve been making!
For each of these projects, I used the HDC stitch worked through the back loops. I began each rectangle by working into the bottom (or back) of the foundation chain for a tidy edge. Because you can use any yarn weight you like, I am not including my gauge information here, but rather I have noted the rectangle dimensions, as those are more important.
For the navy cowl, I used about 270 yds of a chunky weight yarn (CYCA #5) and a K (6.5mm) hook and chained 161 stitches (the last stitch counted as the turning chain) to measure 54” wide. I worked 14 rows to create a rectangle that measured 5.5” tall, then I stitched the shorter ends together. This long circle scarf can be wrapped twice around the neck.
To make a neck gaiter (or a smaller cowl) with about 150 yds of medium weight thick and thin yarn (CYCA #4), I chained 61 stitches (including 1 stitch for the turning chain) to measure 20” wide, with an H (5.0mm) hook. I worked 20 rows to create a rectangle that measured 8.5“ tall, and then stitched the shorter edges together.
For the colorblocked cowl I used about 580 yds of a light weight, color changing yarn (CYCA #3) and a G (4.0mm) hook. I chained 49 stitches (the last stitch counted as the turning chain) to measure 9.5” wide. I worked 14 rows to create a rectangle that measured 54” tall, then I slip stitched the foundation edge to the last row worked. This long circle scarf can be wrapped twice around the neck.
With only 45 yds of a super bulky (CYCA #6) yarn, and an N (10.00mm) hook, I chained 61 stitches (including 1 stitch for turning chain) to measure 19” wide for an adult/teen sized headband. I worked 6 rows to measure 5.25“ tall, fastened off, and stitched the short ends together pulling the seam very tight to gather the center of the headband. Note: Headband circumference should be 1-2” smaller than head measurement in order to stretch and stay in place.
I hope that these projects inspire you to make something simple and beautiful for your loved ones this year. Please share photos of your holiday projects with us—we’d love to see them!
Best wishes for a warm, wooly, and wonderful holiday season!