Cross Stitch, Knitting or Crochet Handmade Gifts

I wanted to share this post by The Knitter NerdKnitting for Love, which talks about us crafty gods and goddesses creating handmade gifts for loved ones, and their appreciate (or lack there of) for said handmade gifts.

If you have a read, I’m the aunt in this story. I cross stitch and quilt gifts for loved ones including friends, and most of the time their reactions are appreciative.

They understand the effort that went into creating this handmade gift for them, and they understand the love and affection that inspired me to create such a gift.

This particular line is what strikes me the most though ..

Does this make us selfish? I read on Ravelry once that someone’s partner thought a knitted gift was just that: it was taking the opportunity to do something the knitter enjoyed without thought for the recipient.

I wonder if this is what people receiving the gift feel like. “Ohhh Erin loves to cross stitch and quilt, and she just gave me one of those things from her stash.”

This is never the case. Any handmade gift that I make has been made specifically for that person, not because I had excess finished works, or because I was too stingy or time poor to buy them something else.

I think that I really only make handmade gifts for the people that I know will appreciate them. I love seeing their faces light up when they realise that a personalised something is their gift.

The problem I’m starting to face is I’m running out of those people .. I’ve got a small small list of people that I’d like to make something for, and then what? .. Some people say you start the sell them, but I don’t know the first thing about selling any of my work.

Have you made a handmade gift for someone, and found that they haven’t appreciated it as much as you had hoped? I hope none of you have experienced this before .. But if you have, share and get it off your chest!



17 thoughts on “Cross Stitch, Knitting or Crochet Handmade Gifts

  1. I seriously feel like this, my list of people that will “appreciate” my work is so short! Or maybe I’m just scare, like you say of people thinking that is something I have already made and had it in my “stash” this had never happened to me but maybe it is because I’m too scare of giving anybody my work! Thanks for this post, I know now I’m not alone here hehehehe :) xx


    • Definitely not alone in feeling like this! Yes .. It’s hard if your list is short but you love making things. I say keep making and teach them to be appreciative hehe! :)


  2. I feel like this most of the time when I make things for people. I think when I started doing it years ago I made the mistake of telling them I enjoyed making whatever it was so now people think I do it for myself more than them. Ive also had the line ‘you’ve got bags of time to do it though so its not as special’ said to me. As though I have time oozing out of my ears to sit for hours on end cross stitching pieces for them. Last Christmas I made literally EVERYBODY a gift, as I don’t like to make people feel left out. It ended up with lots of ‘ahhh thanks…’ said awkwardly and questions over what I do with my life in order to be able to make all this stuff, them not realising that I had started gift making the January before. Unfortunately people like us who like to show our love for people through crafting things for them will always get stung in the tail by people who feel confused by people genuinely just trying to put a smile on their face but luckily most who know you will appreciate what you have done for them, even if they don’t understand the work thats gone into it :-)


    • It upsets me a little to hear that. Your actions were so thoughtful, especially in planning so far ahead of time to make sure everyone get a handmade gift, and then you get kind of emotionally bashed around for doing so!

      I do love the assumption that it’s so easy to just whip up a handmade gift sometimes .. But you’re right, those loved ones that know us are aware of the love and thought that have gone into our pieces :)


  3. I’ve gotten the mixed reactions. Last year I made loads of gifts for people. Some wee very happily received, some I think played the part of the grateful recipient, but like last year I used a weaving technique to make towels then crocheted toppers on them to hang on the oven door or drawer handle to dry hands. I used neutral colors. I haven’t been to every house that received, but the ones I have, my towels are no where to be seen. When I make a functional gift like that, I do it to be functional! I had made and tested one of these towels for months before I completed the rest for gifts. And like you, I wove and crocheted for months before Christmas. Lol


    • So thoughtful making a spunky but functional gift .. it’s a shame that some of the reactions weren’t as you had hoped, but at least some people happily received them.

      I think sometimes people just forget about the gifts we make them. They go into the pantry, or drawer, or closet and then lives goes by and they forget about those things .. It isn’t intended on being hurtful, but that’s how it ends up unfortunately. I hope the experience hasn’t put you off gifting your lovely work :)


    • I think what can happen with functional gifts (and I’ve caught myself doing it, too!) is that people see something handmade and think, “No, I’m not going to use that. It’s handmade and meant to be put away.” I did that with kitchen towels one of my aunts made for me when I started grad school and had to furnish my own place. One day I realized that I’d put them away so they wouldn’t be used for drying dishes and mopping up counter spills…but that was what she made them for! I suspect a lot of people do that, and no matter how much you insist that you made something to be used, they may never quite believe it.


      • That is a very good point .. Some people don’t want to ruin a lovely handmade gift, which can so silly because like you say, it was made to be used and not kept in a drawer!


  4. After a lot of years of cross-stitching for other people occasionally, I decided about five years ago that I will only do projects for others if they ask me to.

    I worked in home health, and I’d been with one client for nearly three years. She was religious, so I thought doing one of the angel charts I had stored away would make a nice gift for her. It took me about three months, in large part because there were five colors of metallic thread in it, but it was very nice when it was finished. I wrapped it up and brought it to her. She made happy sounds about it.

    It spent the next week, uncovered, sitting on her living room table. From there it graduated to a drawer in that table, then to a junk drawer, then to the catchall drawer that was the last stop before she finally gave in and threw things away. I took it back home with me before it reached the trash can. That was the final straw; never again will I make something that will go on the cross-stitch equivalent of the slush pile.


    • Good goly, 5 metallic threads in one piece .. I can only imagine how much work and effort went into your finished piece.

      It’s sad, frustrating, and all sorts of negative emotions when you do see a piece you put so much effort into go, as you say, in the slush pile for craft.

      That might be a good way to go though, not to do any unless someone asks.


  5. Thank you for sharing the post. I’m interested to hear all these viewpoints on it because it’s such an interesting and important topic to me. It really matters to me.


  6. I’ve gotten mixed reviews, it depends on the item. I crochet mostly, so as I’ve advanced, I’ve made more useful/interesting things for people, which have been better received than my previous attempts. I took up a couple other crafts, sewing, soap making, et cetera, to not only make things for myself, but have a wider array of gift making options. I’ve always been a practical gift giver, I try very hard to match the color/design to the person, whether I am fond of it or not. I have a few “experiment friends” who I send random, semi-stash busting gifts that are well received because they just enjoy my kooky-er attempts. I also send care instructions and promise to repair any wear and tear. When I made my cousin a baby blanket for her shower, she ripped that gift open first (she heard rumors I was making a blanket) and whipped it out while exclaiming “THIS WAS HANDMADE!” I was pretty darn proud of that moment.


    • LOVE your cousin for doing that – best reaction! I can imagine you were bursting with pride when that happened. Sounds like you have some lovely friends also, who accept your creativeness and embrace it!


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