On gifting handmade items

With advent almost upon us, I've been thinking a lot about gift-knitting. In a recent Christmas interview I mentioned that my Nanna Shirl used to make knitted sweaters for all the family. For her it was a labour of love and also 'less expensive'* than going out to buy gifts for everyone. She was a pensioner with a low income and lots of time on her hands, so for her this may have been true.
Gift-knitting formula
As a busy mum with very limited time to knit (spin and blog) combined with a preference for knitting more expensive yarns than those my nan used, my own considerations are quite different. Although I love handmade gifts (giving and receiving them) I often decide against making them myself.  To help me decide, I have formulated an equation which I use to (mentally) calculate whether I should make a gift, or buy one:
R> (T+C) x E
R = Reason for wanting to make something for this person
T = Time (as a % of life during the intended crafting period)
C = Cost of materials (including postage or petrol & parking etc)
E = The anticipated enjoyment of the recipient 

It works for me, and means that my children make many of their gifts, but actually there are some things that just aren't worth making (I'm thinking of those never-ending 4ply socks I made my husband, which he can't wear as he goes through even the thickest store-bought socks after a single day. I made them for him by request, but I won't rush to make another!) 

With all this in mind, the Festive Gift Guide is coming back in December, and it includes lots of handmade items - some you might choose to make, but plenty you can buy, if your equations just don't add up. (There are also books, notions, and other things that you might like.) I hope to see you back for that, but in the meantime I'd love to hear your thoughts on handmade gifts. Do you make many?

*It's interesting that the most debated post on the CftC Facebook page this week was a link to an article about the devaluation of handknits. Nanna Shirl didn't value the time and effort she put into her items, only looking at the cost of materials, and that's still a problem for craftspeople, especially those who are trying to make a living. 


  1. Hmmm... my desire to make them comes and goes. Right now, it's gone! In years gone by though, I have loved making stuff for lots of different people, although in some cases I've only done that once after I realise they don't at all appreciate the time, effort and thought that goes into making some things. Oh well. I made my two big girls both dolls with an outfit each for Christmas a couple of years ago - they were two of my favourite gifts I've made - I loved doing them, they were made almost entirely from recycled wool and they are very beloved.

    1. That's the problem, when people don't make things themselves, they may not realise the time and effort that goes into them. The dolls sound wonderful! I have all the supplies here to make a Kiki Doll but have yet to gather the courage to start it!

  2. I'll only make presents for my children and husband now, they really appreciate them (though they're prone to over estimating how much I can get done in a given time frame!) I used to make presents for mine and dh parents and siblings, but they really didn't appreciate the love that went into them and just seemed to think them cheap - grrr.

  3. Thanks for sharing information about gift ideas.

    Food Gift Ideas


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