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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last-Minute DIY Gifts For Your Holiday

Rushing to buy last-minute gifts for your loved ones? Why not DIY, or Do It Yourself, instead? Handmade gifts are often cherished for years – though the process of making them can be time consuming.

Purl Bee's 11th Hour Blanket. (Photo Courtesy of Purl Soho)

Purl Bee’s 11th Hour Blanket. (Photo Courtesy of Purl Soho)

With less than a week before Christmas, we’re joined by two crafty women who share their tips on the best projects to fill out your gift list.

Boston-area crafter Marisa LaManquais enjoys all kinds of crafts, from knitting to cross-stitching to canning.

LaManquais told Here & Now’s Robin Young that the process of making gifts is “soothing” and that a little part of her is embedded into each stitch.

Joelle Hoverson, founder of Purl Soho, a yarn shop and DIY space in New York City, agrees and shared some patterns for last minute gifts like “the 11th hour blanket” and the “bandana cowl.” (See more ideas on the store’s craft blog The Purl Bee.)

Cross-stitching and embroidery are enjoying a comeback, Hoverson said.

“It’s a beautiful and very old fashioned thing to do, but it’s a very, very simple craft and anyone can do it,” Hoverson said. “And then if you contribute a modern sensibility or sense of humor to it, it makes it all the more fun for everyone.”

A great example is the “Word To Your Mother” cross-stitch that Here & Now producer Kassandra Sundt is making for her mother this year (see slideshow above). The pattern is sold online by Subversive Cross Stitch for $5.

Purl Bee's Bandanna Cowl. (Photo Courtesy of Purl Soho)

Purl Bee’s Bandanna Cowl. (Photo Courtesy of Purl Soho)

Another growing trend is crocheting iPhone cases, Hoverson said.

Robin gave a shout-out to her cousin’s daughter Meg, whose craft blog “Barefoot Crafting” details projects like DIY Christmas cards and  T-shirt produce bags.

Marisa’s Suggestions:

Joelle’s Suggestions:


  • Joelle Hoverson, founder of Purl Soho in New York City and author of “Last Minute Knitted Gifts.”
  • Marisa LeManquais, Boston-based crafter who cross-stitches, embroiders, knits and makes her own jam.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Susan

    One special gift is a mixed CD and some carefully chosen items to commemorate our 40 years of friendship.  Not hand made in the strictest sense, but more heart made.  


  • MollyJWalter

    This has been my choice of quick knitted gifts for the holiday - http://www.churchmouseyarns.com/collections/churchmouse-classics-patterns/products/shoulder-cozy-pattern

    Also, ravelry.com is a fantastic resource for knitter and crocheters – I highly recommend it!

  • Liberty

    I love the Purl bee website – have already made 4 of the Garter Gaiters featured in a 12/6/12 post as Christmas gifts. I am new to using large knitting needles and chunky yarn – so easy and satisfying! Every project on their site is modern, but still has handmade charm. Thank you, Joelle and all of the Purl bee posters!

  • Llatham1

    As I listened, I was frantically knitting a cowl (yes, I use the word cowl!) for a friend’s daughter–I’ve been knitting them all fall as a fundraiser for the church I pastor. I’ve also made coffee cup cozies, homemade sugar scrub for rough feet, and cheese balls for Christmas gifts. Also, several of us have knitted or crocheted headbands for the kids at the Children’s Home in our town and are taking them over today.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stig.roo Stig Roo

    As I was listening I was making earrings from my stash of seltzer cans-only I know they are seltzer cans (of course sometimes they are diet pepsi, but no one HAS to know! There is osmething about the handmade process that just can’t be matched .Ah-if only I could knit:D

  • Paul Raymond7


    hand made pie safe…just in time for christmas!

  • Guest


    Personalized Acrylic Monogram Jewelry

  • Willout

    Nothing feels better than seeing a family member’s face when they receive a hand-made gift. The kids and I got ideas from http://blog.homeseasons.com/ and pinterest and made individual items for each family member. Took a while, yes. Worth it, most definitely.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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