Now a word about presents—specifically, knitted and crocheted presents. Actually, this applies to any craft present upon which you have devoted hours upon hours of your free time—forsaking food, sleep, and bathing in some instances—to get it completed by the appointed due date. For us procrastinators, this would be Christmas Eve, the night before the wedding, as the baby is being born, etc.
Always, ALWAYS, check first to see if the recipient is interested in a handmade item. Over the years, I have heard horror stories about people who suffered terrible disappointments over the reception of their present. One woman I met once told me that she had sweat blood for SIX MONTHS making a shawl for her prospective daughter-in-law. She triumphantly presented the finished item to her at the bridal shower. The bride-to-be’s response? “I’ll never wear anything like that!” Another friend of mine once found a handmade item in the local thrift shop. Yes, you guessed it…she had given the item to someone several months back.
I find the best thing to do is to either wait until someone requests something, or just ask. It is better to find out ahead of time that either the person would LOVE something handcrafted by you; or, frankly, they’d rather have a Playstation.
Then I go into Business Analyst mode. I ask them what they would like for colors, how large or small they want the item (“blanket” usually means “afghan” – check, to make sure they don’t want something large enough to cover the bed), what type of fiber (some people do not want wool in any form, other people would sooner pet a live tarantula rather than touch acrylic), etc. Just ask anything that occurs to you, no matter how trivial. Clarify statements like, “I want the colors mixed in together.” This could mean they want a variegated yarn, or they want big blocks of color or stripes—you just don’t know until you ask.
Then go for it! I’ve had very good results sticking to the above technique, so much so that one person has asked me for more than one thing…LOL!