First Handmade Christmas Gift Done! There’s Just One Problem…

Remember last year, when I ambitiously declared I wanted to sew Christmas presents? And then was laid off weeks later, which left me with more free time but a lot less money. In the end, I sewed a grand total of one present! (Which was Mr Sewaholic’s Christmas shirt – click here to check out the construction posts or here to see more pics of the the finished shirt.)

Here’s Mr Sewaholic in his shirt, doesn’t he look nice?

This year, I’m not making a ton of Christmas presents either. My family draws names, and buy one gift for one family member. It certainly takes the pressure off, that’s for sure! For me Christmas is about spending time with family, not about buying a ton of stuff. It always has been, even when I had a regular job!

Mr Sewaholic was easy to plan for this year, too. He loved the hand-knit hat I made him and wanted another one for Christmas! Easy. I can do that, I thought!

So I bought the yarn, and showed him the colors to be sure he liked them. I picked a rather manly charcoal grey with a pale powder blue for the stripe. It’s a two-sided reversible hat, and I even figured out how to make the charcoal grey the solid hat and the main colour on the striped side!

And then, feeling super-organized and on top of my game, I finished it up this weekend. It was even easier to knit the same pattern a second time. One present done, one less thing to worry about when it gets closer to Christmas! That’s a great feeling!

Here’s the hat – no mistakes! Lovely even stripes. A success!

So what’s the problem, you might ask?

He’s already taken the hat!

The moral of the story? Letting someone know that you’re making them a gift is great, because you know they’ll like it.. but once they try it on it’s hard to get it back! How could I resist Mr Sewaholic’s sadface when I tried to take the hat back? Hard to resist, I tell you.

Are you making Christmas gifts this year? (Lots of great reader suggestions in the comments of last year’s post, if you’re looking for ideas!) Have you started yet? What kinds of things are you making – knitting or sewing? (And in all the years you’ve made handmade gifts, has anyone ever claimed their gift well before the holidays even begin?)

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26 Responses to First Handmade Christmas Gift Done! There’s Just One Problem…

  1. karen September 20, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    That last photo is hilarious! You’ve gotta love a man’s enthusiasm for your crafting when he wears a woollen hat whilst watching the telly.

  2. Emilie September 20, 2011 at 6:19 am #

    Great hat! What pattern did you use… I have a feeling that I just saw this hat somewhere on Ravelry! I might give it a try (and the colors you chose are so great!)
    I would like to make presents this year, but I’m also going to try to finish up my masters before Christmas, so this might not be possible :-(

    • Tasia September 20, 2011 at 9:23 am #

      @Emilie: Hi Emilie! The pattern is Christopher by Jane Richmond – it’s easy with a really nice result! Here’s the ravelry link –
      I made it in about a week of evening knitting. Good luck with both your present-making and finishing your masters!

  3. Tasha September 20, 2011 at 6:23 am #

    Awwww how could you resist indeed! Can you steal it back just before Christmas and wrap it? Probably not. ;)

    I don’t make a lot of Christmas gifts because it’s too much personal pressure. I have a hard time meeting a lot of self-assigned deadlines and then it becomes too much of a chore. However that being said, I broke my rule and knit my step-dad socks a few years ago. He’s really hard to shop for and last year my mom said “well he DID really like the socks you knit him that one year…” so I had to follow up with more knit socks. Hard to argue with that one. :)

  4. julia September 20, 2011 at 6:36 am #

    You can’t show it to him and then take it away, that’s just too cruel. :)
    I have given handmade presents ahead of time (it’s cold now and I see you need it and as it’s done, here’s your Xmas gift).
    This year, I will do a mostly handmade (as for several years now), it’ll be hats and mittens and potholders and I am trying to think of something I could sew without messing it up. Maybe time to check out the comments from that post you’re speaking of.

  5. Janine September 20, 2011 at 7:04 am #

    You’re trying to take it back too early. Let him have it now and on December 23/24 (depending on when you open your gifts) grab it, put it in a beautifully wrapped box and give it back ;) It’s all about timing!

  6. Seraphinalina September 20, 2011 at 7:23 am #

    I try, but it usually ends up stressing me out because I don’t leave enough time. Actually the issue is more that when there is enough time, I spend too much time thinking about what I might do than just doing it.

    Lovely hat, I would succumb to the sadface and puppy dog eyes too.

  7. Chrissy September 20, 2011 at 7:24 am #

    I love the hat! And the color combo – I’m such a sucker for gray and blue. I’m thinking I might make one for my brother’s yearly “knit thing” I make him for Christmas every year.

  8. Vicki Kate September 20, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    The hat is great! And it’s always hard when they pull sad face, or a cheeky grin when they know they’re getting close to making you cross so that you laugh!

    I think I may make a hat for my Husband as he’s a nightmare to buy for and his hair is SHORT so keeping his head warm when he’s outside (which is most of the time) means hats! I’ll stash the shirt idea for another year – my confidence isn’t quite there and to say he is particular and detail orientated is an understatement!

    I do quite a lot of baking for presents at Christmas, particularly stuff I can make and shove in a tin to mature (fruit cakes) or freeze before giving (muffins, cookies). Photo calendars are also well received. I’ll go have a look at the post from last year for some more ideas too.

    But, if I don’t make all that I intended I don’t mind buying for people either as long as I know what they want! I hate wandering around shops looking for inspiration.

  9. Caroline September 20, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    Dear Mr. Sewaholic,

    As someone who makes lots and lots of hats for people I will give you one big piece of (unsolicited) advice: DO NOT LOSE THAT CAP! Whatever you do, do not lose that cap.

    Oh, and also, don’t expect another Christmas gift now that you’ve turned yours into a “Happy Fall” gift! Ha! Very, very tricky. (But I like Janine’s idea.)

    Awesome cap! Wait – don’t you guys call them “toques” up there?

    • Tasia September 20, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      @Caroline: Yes we do! But we also call them hats too. :) Are they not called toques anywhere else, just here in Canada?

  10. Stephanie September 20, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    I made my mil an apron last year and I’m going to make her a set of hand embroidered mug rugs this year. She’s really the only one in the family who enjoys handmade although, my husband may like a hat now that I think about it.

  11. Ashlee September 20, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I’m a sucker for punishment, so I make all of my gifts for family members and friends. In the past, I’ve tried to make something individualized for each person, but this year I think I will be making similar things for certain people. Mug rugs, tea wallets and a pouch of loose leaf tea for my girls, a hooded scarf for my step sister and Mum, and hot/cold therapy bags along with knitted hats for the men in my life. Can’t wait to start!

  12. CandaceClay September 20, 2011 at 9:43 am #

    I’ve come up with this (probably crazy) plan for making an assembly line to create these linen shopping bags I’ve designed. I’m using up all the odd doilies in my stash by dying them vibrant colors and stitching them to the bags as decoration. I figure if I get the bag itself sewn I can hand sew doilies on the long plane trip home :) At least I should have the ladies in my family covered!

  13. Casey September 20, 2011 at 9:46 am #

    That is so cute! rofl. It sounds like how things would progress around here if I made my husband a present… ;)

    I’m toying with the idea of making at least a couple gifts this year. I have every year made friends and family a box of Christmas cookies–does that count? ;) lol. Though this time ’round I’m thinking of employing my needlework skills a bit more. Perhaps some embroidered pieces for a couple people, and then a cute scarf for another. It will all boil down to time management–which I seriously stink at once the holiday season starts! (Which means I might want to think about starting now, right? lol.)

  14. Adrienne September 20, 2011 at 10:11 am #

    That is such as cute story and picture! His enthusiasm about your knitting is the best part. I’m pretty impressed by the regularity of your stitch by the way. Whatever I try to knit is always so wonky that it looks handmade.

  15. Caroline September 20, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I make alot of gifts. As time goes on, I make more. My son is getting to the age where he gets lots of birthday invitations. Usually I can make something for a child with materials in my stash or just a small purchase. I am planning to make quite a few Christmas gifts this year. In fact, in the spring I knit a BUNCH of hats – three of them are for the three of us. To keep hubby from taking it, I had him close his eyes while I tried it on him. But it also helps that it is fairly warm most of the year here, and he got hot just wearing it for a try-on. Much different than Canada! I have a bag full of hats hanging in my closet and just sent out the first set for my nieces who have birthdays this month (and live in Pennsylvania, so they will get much more use out of them.)

    Here’s the link to our family hats :

    This year I will have teacher gifts also as my son just started school. I am toying with the idea of knitting each of them a set of Christmas dishcloths.

    I still have several things I want to get done for my boys too – pajamas for the little guy, Aloha shirts for both as hubby brought me fabric from Hawaii… for kids, it’s hard to sew too far in advance because you aren’t sure how much they will grow!

    • Tasia September 20, 2011 at 10:21 am #

      @Caroline: You did christmas knitting in April!! talk about organization – I am impressed. Love the idea of having hubby try on the hats with his eyes closed. I’ll have to try that next time!

  16. Andrea September 20, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    You should do an intro to knitting post! I only recently took it up because I saw the beautiful things you have made. The problem is, I feel sort of lost on how I can build my skills more. I know not a lot of people like to knit but if you just did like an into post that might be nice for some of us to catch on. I really want to knit someone a sweater or something by Christmas. We’ll see how that goes! Thanks!

    • Tasia September 20, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

      @Andrea: I read somewhere (and of course, now i can’t find it..) that one in every 4 women in the USA knit. I wonder if that’s true and where I heard it? I think lots of people knit – I wonder if more people knit or sew?

      I found the best way to learn new skills is to try new patterns. When I get to a part in a pattern I don’t understand, I go to youtube and search for a video showing the technique. I found Jane Richmond’s patterns (the designer of this hat) really easy to follow for beginners and each new pattern I tried had maybe one or two new techniques. Video is super helpful for knitting as you can watch someone doing the technique!

      Kristen and Sarah are running a newbie knitalong, full of useful knitting help and information! Even if you don’t make the sweater with them, there’s plenty of helpful info already! this is the link to one of kristen’s posts all about yarn. Super helpful!

      I’m not sure I’m qualified yet to do an intro to knitting post, I’m still learning myself.. though it is a good idea!b

  17. Susan Tiner September 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    I can never resist a sad face. He looks cute in the hat!

  18. Katy September 20, 2011 at 1:28 pm #

    I’ve already made and given one too, a dress for my mum. She got it early for her and my dad’s joint 60th party they were having halfway between the birthdays (hers had already been) so it got worn for the first time a week and a half ago!

  19. Lisette September 20, 2011 at 7:57 pm #

    That’s a mighty impressive hat! I love knitting and am attempting a small knitted thing for each person – mittens, headband, dice bag, etc. We’ll see how many actually get done! Nobody can ever claim theirs early from me because I usually miss the deadline. I made my boyfriend a quilt that ended up being a few years late. Oops!

  20. Catholic Bibliophagist September 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm #

    I was thinking of making quilted potholders. I even bought some table felt to use as batting.

  21. Sewing Princess September 21, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    I have hand-crafted presents a couple of years ago and in the past for Christmas and later. But in the end it¬¥s a lot of pressure so I decided against it for this year…plus I am getting a bit tired of trying to find the right Christmas present when people have pretty much everything these days. I love making presents but it has to be something special for the person…so my quest goes on.

    Love the hat…I think you will have to sneakingly make another one for wrapping ;)

  22. ooobop! September 21, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    That is such a lovely hat. Gorgeous colour combo. I’m not surprised he didn’t give it back! Every year I have a pang of wanting to make presents for everyone but I clearly forget that I have next to no time left on my hands… ever!