As the holidays are coming to a close, the shreds of wrapping paper and ribbon are in the trash, the gift bags are folded in the closet to be reused another year, I look with gratitude at my family and all my blessings. It’s a fun time to ask the question:
What is the best handmade gift you’ve ever given or received?
I’ve been given so many amazing, thoughtful handmade gifts over the years, so it’s really hard to choose just one, or even two. Even as I try to write this, I keep thinking of more.
One gift is a crocheted blanket from my grandmother, my mom’s mom. She and my mom taught me to knit and crochet and do a variety of other crafts. I always gravitated toward knitting, Grandma to crochet, and Mom to the other crafts, but we all did them all—it’s in our blood. For one of my birthdays (I think I was probably 10-12 range, but I really don’t remember), Grandma crocheted me a big afghan in worsted weight acrylic. Stripes of flamingo pink, white, and a variegated pink and green that gave a kind of floral feel–the colors are not my best. But I loved that Grandma made it for me, and it’s so warm. I took it to college, and it was perfect for catnaps between classes. (Which I did a lot.)
The second gift that I’ll never forget is very different. It’s a scarf, sewn of purple velvet. The color is totally me, and I’ve always been a fan of velvet. But the thing that makes it special is that it was given to me in high school by one of my best friends, L., who was one of the last people to hand-make anything. I know her mom had to coach her through the use of the sewing machine, and I’d be prepared to bet there was a good bit of cursing sewn into that scarf. But it was made and gifted with love.
I can’t write about amazing gifts without mentioning the quilts my mom made for me over the years, especially the last one we made together before I went to college. They kept me warm and made my room feel like home.
And then there’s the baby blanket made by another of my high school friends, S., for my Little Bear when he was born. It was so warm and soft, and the woven cable border was so intricate—I was blown away. We used it with Little Bear and again with Munchkin when we brought him home.
I could apparently go on all day about handmade gifts I’m grateful for (the pottery bowl from my friend K. that I’ve had to glue back together a couple of times but that I still use…). But instead I’ve asked some other designers about gifts that have been meaningful for them, too:
Maria from Maria’s Blue Crayon: I think the best handmade gift I ever received was an ornament my son made me from preschool. It’s the little things that I love!
Jessica from Mama in a Stitch: I’d have to say there are two amazing gifts I’ve received. A woven baby blanket from a family friend (in one of my fave colors—cream!). The other was a doll that was crocheted by my great-grandmother from Italy. They are so special to me!
Taralah from yokieB: The best handmade gift I have ever received is a crochet unicorn and blanket combination for my daughter when she was born. It was beautiful and so thoughtful. Being a crocheter myself, I could understand the time and love that went into making it.
Phanessa from Designs by Phanessa: My friend’s mom made me a scarf before I even crocheted/knitted myself. I still have it and wear it every winter!
Melinda from RhyFlower Knits: That’s a tough one! I’d say last year when I gave my uncle hand knit socks. He was adamant that yarn was scratchy and terrible, having knitted items from his mother way back when, which was toothy. I converted his opinion of knitwear to being soft and wonderful—so much so that he requested hats for this Christmas.
Stephanie from All About Ami: I think one of the best handmade gifts I ever received was a charm bracelet by a polymer clay artist named Oborocharms. Each clay charm was modeled after my original amigurumi designs such as Chinese New Year Doll, Dragon, and Sweetheart Bunny! It was sooo sweet, thoughtful, and unique! I treasure it to this day.
Rose from Loopingly Made: One handmade gift I’ve received and really loved were beaded necklaces made by my sister.
Maria from Ninja Chickens: There are so many handmade things that I treasure, but not really one more than the other. I know that each maker put their love and attention into the object and that means a lot to me. Honestly the thing that comes to mind that wasn’t really a gift per se is my house. My husband and I designed our house and built it with our own hands. But if it weren’t for the time and energy and efforts of our friends and family it never would have been finished. Many weekends, we offered beer and pizza for hands-on help and they came in! Week after week people continued to lend a hand and word spread what we were doing and they would bring friends. It was an amazing process that still brings tears to my eyes. Their friendship created this gift that I call home.
What about you? What is the best handmade gift you’ve ever given or received? Tell me in the comments!