Crafts for the Thanksgiving Table

Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian friends! Canadian Thanksgiving is tomorrow — October 12th, 2020. And this year, in the USA, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 26, 2020. Maybe you celebrate this holiday, and maybe you don’t…Either way, I’d like to point you in the direction of some free, crafty ideas and instructions for setting a lovely table.

  • This page features a whole bunch of different napkin rings you could make for your holiday table settings — Thanksgiving or otherwise. Some of these ideas are so super simple that you’ll barely need the tutorials. Others are so complex that your dinner guests will be dazzled by your creativity. Whether you’re looking for quick, easy ideas or projects that or more in-depth, either way, you can’ go wrong with this list.
  • Crocheted placemats are ideal for Thanksgiving and other holidays. To make a placemat, crochet a rectangle of any stitch — perhaps half double crochet stitch — and then add a fancy crocheted edging. To make them extra special, you could also add gorgeous ribbon embellishments in holiday-friendly colors.
  • This list of Thanksgiving crafts includes even more fantastic patterns, ideas and inspiration.

Happy Thanksgiving go all our readers who celebrate this holiday!

Making Dolls and Toys for the Kids on Your Gift List

The holiday season is fast approaching. Soon it will be the season for toy shopping, but shopping for toys isn’t your only option. Have you given any thought to the possibility of making the dolls or toys you’ll give to the children on your holiday gift list? It’s totally do-able considering there are many, many patterns available for sewing, knitting and crocheting adorable toys.

You aren’t limited to these craft techniques, by any means. Lately, tiny, cute needle felted toy animals have been trendy. (I don’t know how to make these — so I have no recommendations for needle felting patterns. Yet. Hoping to work on that soon…) Right now, knitting and crocheting are my top craft techniques, so this post will focus primarily on pattern recommendations for crocheted and knitted toys.

Knitted Dolls and Teddy Bears

If you want to knit a teddy bear for a special child on your gift list, consider using this cute teddy bear knitting pattern from  Arne & Carlos Favorite Designs, published by Trafalgar Square Books.
If you want to knit a teddy bear for a special child on your gift list, consider using this cute teddy bear knitting pattern from Arne & Carlos Favorite Designs, published by Trafalgar Square Books.

If you want to knit truly wonderful holiday gifts for anyone in your inner circle, my top pattern book recommendation of the moment would be Arne & Carlos Favorite Designs. This book isn’t specifically intended to be a toy pattern book, but it does have some fantastic options for fun toys you can make — including a vibrant and colorful teddy bear, bunches of different dolls and doll clothes, plus assorted other toys. The book also includes patterns for slippers, socks, and all kinds of other gift-worthy items.

Learn More About This Book:

Amigurumi: Cute Crocheted Stuffed Animal Toys

Amigurumi: An Adorable Collection, published by Leisure Arts
Amigurumi: An Adorable Collection, published by Leisure Arts

There are a whole lot of outstanding amigurumi crochet patterns available for making toys and dolls. If you were to ask my opinion about the absolute best choice for a pattern book for Christmas 2020, the book pictured above would be my pick.

Why?

Bunches of reasons:

  • So far, this book offers you the best value out of any of the choices I’m aware of; it has the best per-pattern price out of any of the amigurumi pattern books I’ve reviewed.
  • These patterns are super fun, super cool and super cute. Well, OK, not all of these designs are cute, but most of them are.
  • There are designs suitable for both boys and girls, so the boys are not left out of the fun.
  • The book format is totally logical and user-friendly, with gorgeous full-color photography and readable fonts.

Learn More About This Book:

Handmade Fashion Doll Clothes to Make and Give

Want to make some doll clothes for the little girls on your gift list? You have lots of options for that. Pictured here is a rainbow top you can crochet for Barbies or other fashion dolls. In this picture, a vintage 1980s Creata Flower Princess doll is modeling the top. A free crochet pattern is available for this project.
Want to make some doll clothes for the little girls on your gift list? You have lots of options for that. Pictured here is a rainbow top you can crochet for Barbies or other fashion dolls. In this picture, a vintage 1980s Creata Flower Princess doll is modeling the top. A free crochet pattern is available for this project.

If there’s a Barbie doll fanatic on your gift list, perhaps you could whip up some new Barbie wardrobe pieces to delight her. One possibility is this cute fashion doll top. Click here to find the free crochet pattern.

If these ideas aren’t quite what you had in mind, I invite you to check out our page of knitting and crochet patterns for dolls and toys to find even more suggestions. Happy crafting, and happy holidays to you and yours. I hope your family will have a delightful holiday season this year.

By Amy Solovay

About the Author: Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She holds a bachelor’s degree with a studio art minor; and she has also obtained another degree in textile design. Amy has been crocheting and making crafts since childhood, and knitting since her teenage years. Her work also appears at AmySolovay.com, KnittingandCrochet.net and Crochet-Books.com. Amy sends out a free knitting and crochet newsletter so interested crafters can easily keep up with her new patterns and tutorials.

Warm Knitted Socks for Fall and Winter

Winter is fast approaching. In the northern hemisphere, the first official day of winter will fall on Monday, December 21, 2020 this year. But for many of us, the weather is already starting to turn cold and wintry. I’m currently living up in the mountains — and in my neighborhood, we’ve already had our first snowfall of the year.

It’s about time to break out the warm knitted socks for winter, and I’m also thinking of turning my attention to knitting some new wooly socks for myself and my family.

Need some warm socks to wear under your winter boots or sneakers? Or maybe even to wear to bed at night if your bedroom gets cold or drafty? If you think you might enjoy knitting some new socks, too, I invite you to consider the following winter-friendly sock patterns and knitting pattern books:

I highly recommend all of the sock knitting books pictured here: Colorful Knit Soxx by Kerstin Balke, published by Stackpole Books; Jorid Linvik's Big Book of Knitted Socks, published by Trafalgar Square Books; Socks From Around Norway by Nina Granlund Sæther, published by Trafalgar Square Books; and Knit Socks for Those You Love by Edie Eckman, published by Leisure Arts.
I highly recommend all of the sock knitting books pictured here: Colorful Knit Soxx by Kerstin Balke, published by Stackpole Books; Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks, published by Trafalgar Square Books; Socks From Around Norway by Nina Granlund Sæther, published by Trafalgar Square Books; and Knit Socks for Those You Love by Edie Eckman, published by Leisure Arts.

Colorful Knit Soxx by Kerstin Balke

Colorful Knit Soxx Book by Kerstin Balke, published by Stackpole Books
Colorful Knit Soxx Book by Kerstin Balke, published by Stackpole Books

Colorful Knit Soxx is a unique and wonderful book featuring nothing but sophisticated sock knitting patterns. These patterns are all unisex designs, and they are sized for adult men and women. If you want to keep your feet warm while also making a unique fashion statement, this is definitely a book worth considering for your pattern collection.

Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks

Jorid Linvik's Big Book of Knitted Socks, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Jorid Linvik’s Big Book of Knitted Socks, published by Trafalgar Square Books

There are a lot of cold places around the world. Out of all of them, Norway ranks high at the top of the list of countries where residents endure some of the coldest wintertime temperatures on earth. So,if you’re interested in knitting some ultra-warm winter socks, Norwegian knitting pattern books offer you an excellent starting point; knitted Norwegian accessories are typically designed for wearing in the coldest of cold temperatures.

The Norwegians have mastered the art of keeping warm while also looking chic and stylish. Their hand-knitted socks tend to be really interesting designs. And, so far, some of the most interesting sock knitting patterns I’ve found are the ones designed by Jorid Linvik and published in her Big Book of Knitted Socks.

Jorid’s sock knitting patterns draw heavily on Scandinavian style knitting traditions, yet they are also thoroughly contemporary and unique. I’ve never seen anything quite like them. They are super impressive knitting projects — so if you’re looking to show off your knitting skills while making socks to keep your feet warm, Jorid’s sock knitting book is one you’ll want to keep foremost in mind when you’re shopping for sock knitting patterns.

Socks From Around Norway by Nina Granlund Sæther

Socks From Around Norway by Nina Granlund Sæther, published by Trafalgar Square Books
Socks From Around Norway, published by Trafalgar Square Books

This sock knitting pattern book by Nina Granlund Sæther features numerous examples of innovative Norwegian sock designs that have all been inspired by historic patterns of past. Of all the sock knitting pattern books I’ve reviewed, this one has the broadest diversity of different sock patterns and techniques. It’s a truly lovely book featuring sock patterns for everyone ranging from babies through adults; patterns are included for people of both genders.

In my opinion, all the books I’ve included on this particular list offer you a substantial value for the money you’d spend on them. Value is a subjective thing — but in this reviewer’s opinion, Socks From Around Norway offers the best value I’ve yet found on a sock knitting pattern book, assuming you plan to do a lot of sock knitting.

Knit Socks for Those You Love by Edie Eckman

Knit Socks for Those You Love by Edie Eckman, published by Leisure Arts
Knit Socks for Those You Love by Edie Eckman, published by Leisure Arts

If you aren’t sure whether or not you’ll like sock knitting, this affordable booklet gives you the opportunity to try it out without making a sizable financial commitment in sock knitting patterns. The patterns you get are all appealing ones, and this book is a great value for the money you spend on it.

As of right now, these are my top recommendations for sock knitting pattern books. If you’d like more information about sock making, I invite you to check out my page on the topic of sock knitting and crochet patterns, which is posted online at KnittingandCrochet.net.

I hope you and yours will stay toasty warm this winter season.

Best wishes,

Amy

Where to Find 8 Things You Need (Even If Your Store Shelves Are Bare)

In the last few months, many of us have found that our lives have changed dramatically because of the Coronavirus crisis. Global supply chains have been disrupted. As a result, many of us haven’t been able to find essentials we need.

But maybe we’re looking in all the wrong places.

Even if your local store shelves are bare, you’re likely to find that micro-niche businesses have all the supplies you might need — and you can find many of them available for sale on Etsy.

Check out some of the possibilities:

1. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is available for sale at Etsy -- Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
Hand sanitizer is available for sale at Etsy — Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Quite a few Etsy shops have alcohol-based hand sanitizers available for sale. Some of the current bestsellers include this one and this one.

If you’d prefer to make your own hand sanitizer, you might find it helpful to purchase a hand sanitizer recipe.

2. Paper(less) Towels

Whether or not you’ve been able to find paper towels at your local store, I have a suggestion: Grab some environmentally-friendly cloth paper towels. You’ll be glad to have them if you run out of the paper kind. I think these look good, but you’ll find bunches of different options if you shop around on Etsy.

3. Garden Seeds

If you didn’t already buy your seeds this year, you’re probably having a hard time finding them now. Many local garden supply stores are totally sold out of them; and virtually all of the best-known online suppliers I’m aware of for heirloom seeds have either been so overwhelmed by demand that they’ve had to close their stores (temporarily, I hope) or made the decision to only sell their seeds to farmers.

Yikes.

What’s a gardener, or aspiring gardener, to do?

Well, that’s an easy one. You can buy seeds on Etsy.

In some cases, the sellers on Etsy are farmers who actually grew the seeds themselves. I’ve been compiling a list of them because I want to buy seeds from them, myself. Here are a few that I have bookmarked:

4. Gardening Tools

I recently bought a couple of garden trowels on Etsy and can highly recommend the seller who made them available; at the time of this posting, she has more of the same trowels available for sale. They are super affordable, with lovely wooden handles, and made in the USA. I think they’re a great deal for the money — in fact, I bought 2 of them. However, if they’re sold out by the time you read this, don’t hesitate to shop around on Etsy for other possibilities, because I found many other options that I thought looked wonderful. The selection of vintage tools is always changing, so this is something to check on frequently, especially if you’re in need of tools you can’t easily get locally.

5. Gardening Instructions

One of my favorite craft authors is Stephanie Rose, whose business name is GardenTherapy. Stephanie has an Etsy shop, where she sells her craft and gardening books and tutorials. I highly recommend her work!

6. Planters

Gardeners around the USA are reporting that their local sources for planters and pots are sold out. However, talented artisans on Etsy are making a broad variety of beautiful planters available for sale. Check out some of your options HERE.

7. Essential Foods

You might be surprised at how much food is available for sale at Etsy. Some of the food sellers are small farmers who are selling their own crops directly to the public on the Etsy marketplace. Others are talented chefs who are selling their concoctions on Etsy. Here are a few possibilities:

8. Indoor Things to Do

If you’re like most people, all of a sudden you’re finding that you’re spending a lot more time at home than you used to. Perhaps you have bored kids at home, too. Etsy is a fantastic place to load up on craft patterns, craft instructions and craft supplies for keeping everybody busy and productive.

And if you’re feeling a bit down, you might also enjoy checking out the Etsy Editor’s picks for fun, cheerful items that will make you smile!

Etsy Is a Trusted Source of Income for Small Businesses

Remember, too, that Etsy isn’t just a marketplace where you can buy things you need. It’s also a marketplace where you can sell your own handcrafted items, your best vintage finds and any craft supplies you’re not planning to use. If you’ve lost your job or suffered a major reduction in work hours, Etsy could be a lifesaver in helping you bring in some of the income you need to keep going. Many of you have crafting skills that could be put to use in making and selling much-needed items such as hand sanitizer and items similar to the others listed above.

If you’re a crafter in need of additional income right now (or any time), you have my permission to use any of my crochet patterns from this site and Knittingandcrochet.net to make items for resale — You can use any of the patterns with my by-line (Amy Solovay) if you’re interested. Etsy is the ideal venue for selling your finished items. I give almost all my patterns away for free, so all you’d need is yarn and hooks to get started (You can get those on Etsy, too — search here for hooks and here for yarn). But whatever your particular talents are — whether you crochet, knit, quilt, sew, make soap or do some other craft — Etsy welcomes your creativity and gives you access to a valuable source of potential buyers for your handcrafted items.

I hope this information is helpful to you as you attempt to navigate the “new normal”. The floor is open for comments if you have other recommendations for great Etsy sellers who are making essential supplies available for sale right now. Thanks so much for your interest, and for any recommendations you have to share.

This page was last updated on 8-1-2020.

Dishcloths and Potholders Make Fantastic Summertime Crochet Projects

You don’t need to take a vacation from crochet during the summer months; it’s a great time to work on making lighweight, quick projects such as potholders and dishcloths. Here you can see a coordinating crochet kitchen set that makes an ideal summertime crochet project:

Color Mix Afghan Stitch Crochet Projects: Kitchen Set With Potholders and Dishcloth
Color Mix Afghan Stitch Crochet Projects: Kitchen Set With Potholders and Dishcloth

But of course, these aren’t your only options for summertime crochet projects. I invite you to check out our list of summer knitting and crochet ideas HERE.

Accessorize for Fourth of July With a Handmade Bracelet

Accessorize for 4th of July With a Handmade Bracelet
Accessorize for 4th of July With a Handmade Bracelet

You can make this simple-but-lovely bracelet using metallic floss and round glass beads. If you’ve never crocheted with beads before, this bracelet is a fantastic introduction to the technique; it’s a quick project that proves that bead crochet does not have to be difficult, despite what you may have heard to the contrary.

For those of you in the USA, this bracelet is an ideal way to accessorize for patriotic holidays such as the Fourth of July. It’s a fabulous everyday accessory as well.

Related Crochet Resources:

Father’s Day Craft Ideas for 2020

Did y’all make any plans yet for Father’s Day this year? If you want to but haven’t yet, you still have some time to figure out what to do, although the date is soon approaching. This year, Father’s Day falls on Sunday, June 21, 2020.

Also important: have you selected some gifts for the dads on your gift list yet?

Perhaps you might like to make a DIY gift for dad. If so, you’re invited to check out our DIY father’s day gift list.

Whatever you decide to make for dad or give him as a gift, here’s hoping he’ll love it.

Free Mother’s Day Craft Ideas

Mother’s Day is approaching. We’ll be celebrating Mom’s special holiday on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Do you want to make a card or a gift for your mom, stepmom, grandma or other beloved mother-figure this year? If so, here are a couple of pages filled with free ideas, patterns and instructions you can use.

Celebrate Spring With a Rainbow of Lovely Crochet Patterns

Double Rainbow Crochet Square Pattern
Double Rainbow Crochet Square Pattern

You know the old rhyme: April showers bring May flowers. But you know what else April showers sometimes bring? RAINBOWS! Whether or not it’s raining in your neighborhood right now, you can crochet a lovely rainbow pattern to introduce more color into your life.

Pictured here, we have a double rainbow dishcloth you can make and use for spring cleaning this month (or, really, any time). It’s a quick and easy crochet project that will look cheerful and lovely in your kitchen.

Make Fun Easter Crafts for a Child You Love

Easter Crafts
Easter Crafts: Photo Courtesy of Sebastian Staines at Unsplash.

Wow, can you believe it’s already spring? You know what that means: Easter is coming right up. This year, we’ll be celebrating Easter on Sunday, April 12, 2020.

If your family celebrates the Easter holiday, perhaps you’d enjoy making some fun Easter craft projects for a child you love.

Knitting and crochet are my crafts of choice – so when I find myself with free time available for crafting, I tend to reach for a crochet hook or pair of knitting needles.

There are bunches of different Easter projects that can be crocheted or knitted. For starters, how about making an Easter basket? You can grab a broad variety of different basket patterns that would be suitable for that purpose.

Another idea: Knit or crochet a stuffed Easter bunny toy for your favorite child (or make multiples for your favorite children). You can embroider the eyes on your bunny, or use attachable safety eyes. Some of the available bunny patterns even include instructions for making cute clothing the bunnies can wear — how adorable is that?

You could also make an Easter-themed collage, painting or drawing.

This list of Easter patterns has even more ideas for fun Easter craft projects.

For those of you who don’t celebrate Easter, there are plenty of other spring knitting and crochet patterns you might enjoy. The list includes projects for spring flowers, spring cleaning and the other spring holidays like Mother’s Day.

I hope you’ll enjoy your Easter crafts, and that you and your family will have a blessed Easter 2020.

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