I hear hammering coming from the cellar all day. When I walk upstairs I have to remind myself that it's Jonathan's woodburner I smell and that the house isn't burning down. We are a family that likes to work with our hands. When Christmas is in sight everyone starts brainstorming what they can make for gifts for each other. Hammers pound, smoke rises, crochet hooks fly, paint brushes flash, and this year my new sewing machine whirs.
The main gift crafting I am able to squeeze in is crocheting, as it's the one thing I can still do while nursing or riding in the car. I so enjoy crochet because it is so very versatile. My dear Aunt Irene taught me how to crochet when I was a little girl so it is like second nature for me. I have been making some pretend food for the little ones for gifts. No made-in-China-paint-worries with these! I just love the luscious colors I've been working with. These are readily available and inexpensive cotton yarns - Sugar 'N Cream is made in Canada and Peaches 'N Cream is actually made in the USA!
I don't use any patterns as I like to just make things up as I go along.
Don't they look yummy?
I have made all of these things amigurumi style, crocheting tightly with all single crochet stitch, working in the round without joining rounds (spiral fashion), and using an H hook.
I just increase or decrease to shape the fruits as I go. For the pear and apple I crocheted a stem and then left a tail of yarn. I threaded this tail through the fruit with a needle, tied a knot and trimmed it for the blossom end.
Here's a little carrot. Vegetables are tasty too!
Cookies are fun as the sky's the limit for flavors and shapes, just like real cookies. I have been making numerous cookies the same way, so I can share a little pattern for those. They are a simple project to start with as they are small and quick to finish.
I used an H hook and cotton worsted weight yarn. Crochet in rounds without joining. You can use a stitch marker to mark the end of the round or simply count the stitches.
- Chain 2. 6 single crochet in second chain from hook. (6 stitches)
- 2 single crochet in each stitch around (12 stitches)
- [single crochet in next stitch, 2 in next stitch] around (18 stitches)
- [single crochet in each of next two stitches, 2 single crochet in next stitch] around (24 stitches)
- [single crochet in each of next three stitches, 2 single crochet in next stitch] around (30 stitches)
- slip stitch into next stitch and fasten off.
- Make two of these rounds, but do not cut the yarn on the second one. Embellish the right side of one of them however you like. You can make French knots for chocolate chips, or embroider little raisins. You can make a free-form shape of icing to sew on. For the pink swirl icing I just attached pink yarn in the center and started to chain, working in a spiral and attaching it to the cookie with a slip stitch every 3 stitches or so.
- Sandwich your two cookie halves together, right sides facing out. Using the yarn still attached to your cookie half, join the halves by single crocheting them together. Be careful to keep your stitches lined up.
- For the 'filled' cookie, I made a separate piece of 'chocolate cream'. Chain 30 with your filling color. (Single crochet, chain one) in each chain stitch to make a little 'ruffle'. I used brown in the cookie shown, or you can make a brown cookie with white filling for an Oreo. You can also use pink or even red or green for Christmas cookies. Sandwich the filling in between the two cookie rounds and stitch together through all three layers as shown.
These make such nice simple and inexpensive gifts, and gifts that children can make for each other. Or you can get a little more elaborate in your presentation for a more substantial gift. You can pair a set of different flavored cupcakes with a homemade apron or a muffin tin. You can make a variety of cookies and present them in a basket with a few cloth napkins and a wooden spoon. The possibilities are endless, and you don't have to worry a bit about burnt cookies or broken piecrusts.
If you prefer using a pattern you can find lots of free patterns for crochet food items here, including various cupcakes, donuts, cakes, fruits and all. I think I might try ice cream cones next, just because we love to hear Kateri say 'ice eem tone'. Have fun!