Every year for the Holidays we tend to take on more projects than we realistically have time for. Wanting to make things for those you love comes along with the territory of being crafty. This year is going to be the year you get it all done one time! I have asked my friends from the Red Heart Joy Creators to give me their best tips for getting projects done on time. Which ones will you adapt into your routine today?
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Holiday Project Planning:
Although I have my own way of keeping on track we all work a little differently. Rather than just telling you my tips I wanted to get some different perspectives. I asked my Joy Creator friends what they do to keep on task when working on a deadline and below you will find all of their tips. Read through all of them, try them out and find which one works best for you.
Before you get started on any projects you should get your ideas down on paper. This will help you know what you want to accomplish. Some people work better having a list and others work better just wining it. Although I don’t personally like super detailed lists I do like to have an overall idea of all of the items that need to be accomplished. Then I can choose and pick what works best for me on the day that I am working.
To help you start your holiday planning download my FREE Holiday Project Planner. Use this sheet to get an idea of how many projects you want to make this season. Fill out the rest of the sheet as you see fit and get started! Let’s make this the year we get it all done!
Holiday Project Tips:
If you want to make socks for everyone but you’re running out of time…make bed socks out of thick yarn. They work up faster than fingering weight yarn and will be much loved.
Chic Sheep is a great option for this. Double it up and use two strands with a large hook and they will work up even faster. Try out the slippers socks we made in the 2018 Spring KAL.
Tip 1: With the holidays come lots of projects! Manage them all by keeping each one in a zip top bag. Keep everything you need in each one including pattern and tools. Not only will you be organized, but your projects will stay neat and clean too!
Tip 2: Don’t have time to create a handmade gift for everyone on your list? Try embellishing gifts with yarn accents! Wrap yarn around a package, adorn it with pom poms or tassels, or even add a cute crochet or knit a appliqué!
When making several gifts I try to plan ahead and be realistic; being real with myself on how many items I can make, how complex is each gift, how much time it takes to make each item and how much time there is actually to make the gifts. This means making a list, setting goals and tracking progress. It helps to have the list visible with names to stay motivated and even posting progress in online groups to stay encouraged as I check off my list. Above all, be realistic and have fun!
Stay organized. Make a list of what you are making. Are some things small and some large? Start with the large projects and create milestones. When you reach these milestones, take a break and knock out one of the smaller projects so that you don’t get burnt out working on the same large project. Pick up the large project when you’re done, and until you reach the next milestone.
If you’re low on time, how about making everyone something small, but meaningful? How about a Christmas ornament personalized to each person? Super low on time? Pick a larger yarn and hook to make larger blankets faster, something like Red Heart Stellar yarn that works up quickly.
Plan out all your projects ahead of time and make a list of each project and what is needed. That way you can make one trip to the craft store for supplies. If you want to be really organized, you can then make a little bag for each project.
When planning holiday gifts it’s important to think of colors and styles that the recipient will love and use. Neutrals go with any outfit and home decor, where as bright colors could clash. When in doubt, ask their family and friends or co-workers to provide clues as to their preferences.
Remember, you can always use different colors for your gift than what the designer used to crochet the sample. So if you love the pattern, but don’t think the color will work, look to see if the yarn is offered in different colorways. Having these things in mind before you start crocheting will help save time, and make your gift one the recipient will treasure.
Put together a “kit” for each of the projects you want to make – a bag or container with the yarn, printed out pattern, and any special supplies needed. Then you’ll easily be able to see what supplies you still need – and be able to grab a project and go whenever you get the opportunity!
With regards to projects, I feel I’m well organized, mentally speaking. However, physical organization is a whole other ball of yarn! I’ll purchase the perfect button for a project, then forget where I put it. Or I have 6 skeins of yarn for that afghan but can only find 4 of them. What has helped me tremendously with physical organization are these inexpensive storage cubes from Amazon. They are a bit on the lightweight side, so you don’t want to store fine china in them. But they are absolutely perfect for organizing yarn, buttons, ribbons, beads, looms, hooks, needles and all sorts of other craft supplies. It’s so nice to have all the yarn and accessories for that project stored in one spot. And when I’ve completed all the projects stored in the one cube, I move onto the next one!
Let’s face it. Not everyone appreciates handmade gifts. Other folks may not be fans of your favorite crafts. Trust me when I say that the holidays will be more fun for you (and for the recipient) if you focus your efforts on making gifts for those who will actually enjoy them. I call these folks “handmade-worthy” (or “crochet-worthy,” or “knit-worthy”) people.
As you think about all the people (and pets) you may consider making gifts for, narrow your list down to those who would actually appreciate a handmade gift! This may seem like a no brainer, but it’s the step most crafters forget.
Not sure who is handmade-worthy? Think about people who say kind things about your crafting, who are makers themselves, or who have worn and used previous handmade gifts.
Tackle a project or idea that falls within the range of your skill set and time frame, so crochet is a pleasure and not a chore. Even if you want to take on a challenge of something that you have never tried before, having enough time to learn and complete it will remove some of the anxiety of trying something new. That way, if you run into issues experimenting, you will accomplish something doable without the frustration of getting in “over your head” when you have the time to “play around” with a new pattern.
Make projects that call for bulky yarn for a quick gift, such as the Laguna Cowl.
Make smaller projects, like Peppermint Coasters, that don’t take too long to make, but have a big impact.
Leading up to the holidays I always have great gift ideas but when the time comes I never remember or run out of time. I do best when I have a list to cross off. So this year I created a gift plan and set up a schedule for each of the gifts I want to make. I figure out approximately how long each gift will take to make and then I know how much time each week I need to work on gifts.
I gather empty shoe boxes, one for each family member. As an item is complete I put it in their box. This way I won’t forget where I put it.
Whether I am headed out for the day to run errands, take a kid to the doctor, pick up the hubby from work, or whatever the case maybe I always have my crochet bag with me. Inside my crochet bag I always carry quick projects that I can use as Christmas gifts, donate to my charities, etc. For example, I will have scarves, scrubbies, beanies, fingerless gloves and a few other items.
I try to do large projects with intended recipients and in-between I work on smaller more generic gifts (like dishcloths, phone cases, etc.) that I can have ready for an unexpected gift. I also split my list of all things to do into “must” and “would be nice”. The must list takes priority and the rest, well, when I run out of time, I run out of time!