Normally Christmas brings with it a flurry of crafting. I usually can be found huddled over my sewing machine for weeks leading up to the day as I try to perfect something for each family member. This year that didn’t happen, and I have a feeling no one minded but me. While making gifts for everyone might be fun, I’m not sure that receiving these handmade gifts always is. The very first Christmas I endeavored to make hand-crafted goods resulted in scarves and hats knit in a drastically wrong gauge. These unpleasantly stiff accessories could stand on their own and looked worn out before they ever were tried on due to my sweaty hands clumsily pilling the cheap, acrylic yarn with each too-tight stitch. However, much to their credit, my family embraced them. And then the next year my mom and sister embraced the shawl and t-shirt sewn with uneven stitches and unfinished hems because I didn’t understand how to work with knit fabrics. And then the next year…
But this year no one had to suffer my gifts except for my niece. Toddlers don’t really need or want for anything so they are the perfect recipients of hand-crafted gifts. First up: hand puppets.
My sister and I set aside a few hours one weekend before Christmas to work on some gifts for our niece. My sister wanted to make some hand-puppets for her, and knew she wanted them to be funky, felt and shaped like animals. The key to our crafting sessions is to have some idea of what we want, but not to have any ideas set in stone (because of the inevitable disappointment when what we envisioned doesn’t turn out). We made the pattern up as we went and definitely learned what not to do when working with felt (Seams on the outside, guys). The cotton fabric is fused to interfacing for reinforcement and is sewn directly to the felt. The edges are left raw, so I’m sure these will not be puppets handed down from generation to generation. But they’ll work for now. And they are fun!
Next up: a lamb.
For whatever reason, I wanted desperately to make a stuffed giraffe for my niece. However, when I tried to make a pattern for one, it ended up looking like the All Terrain Armored Transport from Star Wars (with a long neck). I’m pretty sure I could have salvaged it, but one failure was enough for me for the night. Instead, I set out to find a new project. As I was sifting through my supplies, I found a pattern for a tiny lamb. I have no idea where the original pattern came from, but it’s pretty perfect and was fun to put together. It’s made from white fleece and is hand-stitched using the whip stitch, which gives it a really nice, round shape.
When my niece opened it, she clutched it to her chest, gently kissed its face…. then her eyes got really wide, she shook with excitement and then tried to bite its face off. So, you know — it got half the reaction I was looking for.
How did your Christmas crafting go?