by Tamara Kelly of Moogly
Whether you have kids, or you were a kid once (which is, well, everybody!), you probably remember those classroom art projects for Mother's Day. Clay, macaroni, paint, and maybe even a bit of yarn all combined to make something that was full of love, if not raw artistic talent. I have a whole collection of interesting clay items and glued together poems from my own three kids, and as they get older and the handmade presents dwindle, it makes me a little sad to be honest.
My own mother, who had 6 children, has a very impressive collection on her dresser top of tchotchkes and doodads, drawings and trinkets. The first thing I remember making for her was a small wooden heart, which my grandfather helped me whittle. She loved the heart - or at least pretended to - but was appalled that he let me loose with a pocket knife at only 4 years old! Thankfully, no harm done - and last I looked, she still had the heart.
Now that I'm a mother myself, I know just how special those handmade items are! And while not every mother is the kind that enjoys crafted gifts, we knitters and crocheters are fortunate enough to have the skills to continue creating for our moms, when we are lucky enough to still have them to craft for.
Of course, when we were kids, the crafts were more often than not teacher directed - I don't know any kid that would come up with the idea of printing out a slightly sappy poem and gluing it next to their hand print on a piece of construction paper. Now, as adults, it's time to step back and think about what mom would really like and appreciate - not what we just happen to want to crochet or knit for her!
So before you pick a pattern and yarn, be sure to consider these 3 factors!
Does your mom like brights? Pastels? Jewel tones? Animal prints? Does she have neutrals around the house but always wear a pop of color? Take into account whether it's a wearable accessory or a home decor item - her favorite color might be green, but if she never wears it, use that emerald yarn to make a blanket or throw pillow.
Is mom's style sleek and modern, fun and funky, or classic and traditional? More pineapple doily, or colorblocked cowl? Triangle shawl, or rectangle wrap - or bikini top with motorcycle leathers? You know crochet and knit patterns are out there to suit every taste with a little searching!
There are gorgeous crocheted and knitted afghans out there to suit any taste and style, but if mom has retired to a tropical climate, they aren't the best pick! If it's always cloudy and rainy in her locale, then a floppy yarn sunhat won't get much use.
Beyond these factors of course, hobbies and lifestyle can affect your choices as well. If she hates cooking, a set of crocheted dishcloths won't suddenly inspire her to take up baking. If she collects goat figurines, look for a goat basket pattern (I happen to know where you can find one of those...). If she is traveling the country year-round in an RV, make sure any gift is both practical and small enough to fit in relatively cramped quarters!
So don't just follow the teacher's instructions - put some thought into it! Moms are notoriously difficult to come up with gifts for - especially when they like to answer "Oh nothing, dear" to requests for ideas. And for inspiration, there are literally thousands of free patterns here in the Lion Brand Pattern Finder, as well as elsewhere around the web.
And if she's a crochet or knitter herself... well, you can always order her some gorgeous luxury yarn from the LB Collection and call it a day!