Hello everyone! Tara here—
Are you ready for the holidays?
I always tell myself I’m going to start making Christmas gifts for everyone in May, and, every year without fail, I wait until the end of November to get started on everyone’s gifts.
So, every November and December is spent with me in a panic and trying to make as many gifts as I possibly can in a short amount of time. This means that I’ll spend hours on end on my couch, frantically crocheting as fast as I can.
And even if you aren’t necessarily crocheting quickly, making homemade gifts will still have you crocheting for hours, if not days (or weeks, depending on the projects you’re working on and how big they all are).
Let’s go over some tips to help you whip out those last-minute gifts:
# 1: Take Stretch Breaks
Not only is it really bad for you to sit in one spot for too long without moving, but it’s really bad for your hands, wrists and fingers to crochet for hours on end without a break. And nothing will slow down your gift-making like carpel tunnel. So, remember to give your body a break and try some hand and wrist stretches like the ones in THIS VIDEO.
Chair yoga is a lot of fun too and will help stretch out your shoulders, neck and back.
# 2: Think About How You Sit
I usually curl up on my couch with my legs tucked to one side and my opposite elbow leaning against the end of the couch or a pillow and I crochet like that. It’s what I’ve always found comfortable, so it’s the position I get into when I crochet. If I get uncomfortable, I’ll just flip to the opposite side and get back to my project.
Not only is it terrible for your shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, legs, etc. to sit like that, but it’s terrible for your back too. Much like when you’re on the computer, there are a lot of articles that can tell you the proper position to be in to crochet without hurting yourself. You really should be sitting in a straight-backed chair with both feet on the ground and a pillow on your lap, not only help cushion your arms and wrists, but to bring your project closer to you so you don’t strain your neck too.
# 3: Have Proper Lighting
If you aren’t crocheting with proper lighting, not only will you potentially put your stitches in the wrong spots and have to frog everything you just did, but you could strain your eyes and give yourself a headache. Either way leads to you losing precious crochet time. It’s easy to avoid and something to keep in mind when you sit down to start crocheting. Especially if you’re using dark yarn.
# 4: Use Ergonomic Hooks
Using a plain metal hook is a lot worse for your hand and wrist than an ergonomic hook, and you can tell that almost immediately when you switch to an ergonomic hook like these AMOUR hooks or this FURLS hook. Once you get used to the new feel of the hook, you can crochet for hours longer than you could before, which is essential when you’re crocheting on a deadline.
# 5: Look Up Hacks
Sometimes hacks waste time and are unnecessarily wasteful, but sometimes they can change your life. One thing I always struggled with was keeping count. I always get distracted and will second guess myself, which then leaves me re-counting everything I just did. And it isn’t a huge deal for small projects, but when your project has a beginning chain over 100 or more than 25 rows….
I saw a hack about using stitch markers to help you keep count and it’s something I always do now. When I’m making a long chain, I’ll put a locking stitch marker (LIKE THESE) every 50 stitches. If I have a long project that has a repetitive pattern, I put a stitch marker every 10 rows instead of fiddling with a row counter that I will inevitably forget to adjust at some point. If I’m feeling especially lazy, I’ll change colors too, and use one shade of stitch marker when I hit 50 chains or rows and another shade when I hit 100, then back to that first color for 150 and back to the second color for 200.
# 6: Stay Organized
Work always moves so much smoother when you’re organized. You know exactly where everything is, your yarn isn’t getting tangled so you don’t have to spend precious time trying to unravel knots, and you can concentrate on your work. I love THIS YARN TOTE, and the pockets that are specifically made for hooks, needles, and skeins of yarn are perfect for keeping you organized.
Let us know how what gifts you’re working on in the comment section!
– Tara Orchard, Editor of Crochet! Magazine
Need inspiration? Check out Annie’s Craft Store for incredible crochet patterns!