Do one thing: learn to crochet, knit, embroider and cross stitch!


characteristic image via Subversive cross stitch

Welcome to the million-billionth installment of Do one thing, where we make handmade gifts for people! Or ourselves. Or our cats. Especially our cats.

Header by Rory midhani

Click here for more Make A Things !!!!!!!!!

It’s pretty cold in Colorado, and the cold weather means I stay indoors to tinker around, as I really don’t like to ride my bike when it snows. I love learning new trades in the fall that I can imagine doing on cold winter nights while sitting by my fireplace in ugly slippers. In the past, these things involved crochet, knitting, embroidery, and cross stitching – all major players in the crafting game. Also, these four basic crafts make perfect gifts for the holidays.

The thing is, I’m not good enough all of these trades to give you a tutorial myself. So instead, I’ll show you my favorite tutorials for each one!


I recommend learning to crochet for people who think knitting is too difficult. I find it a lot easier than knitting, in fact, because there is no chance that you will lose a stitch from your needle. It also hurts my fingers less.

I learned to crochet with my friend in college, then quickly forgot everything she taught me as soon as I graduated. As a reminder, I started looking for YouTube videos. Bethintx1 is by far the most pleasant and calming voice, it slows it down and shows you every step a dozen times.

I started crocheting granny squares because they are really nice to work with (much more than a scarf, which looks like nothing for a very long time). Grandma’s squares contain most of the regular crochet stitches, so they’re a great place to start.

Other crochet tutorials I have found useful: Stitch diva has beautiful pictures and clear instructions for many types of crochet stitches and All about Friend has amazing tutorials and patterns for the cutest amigurumi (crochet plush toys) you will never see.

Check out these panda, teddy bear, and koala ornaments!  via {All About Friend}

Check out these panda, teddy bear, and koala ornaments! You can crochet them!
Going through {All about Friend}


Although I find crochet easier than knitting, my aunt and grandmother taught me how to knit when I was young, so it became a heartwarming thing. The click of the needles, the repeating stitches, I love that. However, my family only taught me how to knit and reverse knit, so I learned most of the other stitches through various online tutorials.

GoodKnitKisses is my favorite YouTube teacher. The instructions are clear and given slowly (you may see a theme in the way I like to be taught: very slowly and in soothing words) and most importantly, what you are being shown is obvious.

Scarves are the easiest thing to start knitting. My best friend is learning to knit and starts with a scarf, and originally cast on 35 stitches and now has 72, but it’s adorable. This is the most charming wobbly bit of warmth I have ever seen. This is the best part of knitting, anything you do no matter how many mistakes you make will be endearing as hell.

Knitting this scarf on circular needles is super quick and easy and the result is beautiful.  via {Purl Bee}

Knitting this scarf on circular needles is super quick and easy and the result is beautiful.
Going through {Purl Bee}

I really like to refer Artisanal biscuit for the new knitting stitches because they have beautiful images. Purl Bee has a ton of gorgeous patterns for knitting, but most are a bit more complicated. The best source of patterns for knitting (and crochet!) I have ever found is Ravelry. Ravelry has a ton of designs (a lot of them are free but the paid support members of the DIY community so it’s always awesome) for scarves and sweaters and hats and mittens and lastly, almost everything, j ‘conceived.


The embroidery is so easy and beautiful and people are so impressed with it. I learned to embroider with the Young Women group as a Mormon, no kidding, but I always loved it. It’s quick and satisfying and really easy to learn. Plus, supplies aren’t expensive! Win all around.

I bet you can understand why I love Sewing cow. Slow, simple instructions and a delicious Australian accent.

The easiest way to start embroidering is to start a sampler. It gives you a nice grip on the different stitches

An embroidery sampler with the feather stitch.  via {Artisan}

An embroidery sampler with the feather stitch.
Going through {Artisan}

My favorite embroidery designs are always Sublime stitching. They also have a variety of cool tutorials for different embroidery stitches. Wild olive also has the cutest designs ever if you like putting tiny smileys on everything (which you should be).

Cross stitch

The cross stitch is my last project. Can’t believe I’ve never tried it before this summer, because I love it.

Expert Village has some great cross stitch tutorial videos, like this one that will show you the basics of cross stitch:

I actually prefer to read cross stitch tutorials because it looks easier that way. Do not ask me why. The tutorial I used to teach myself came from Land of Mochimochi and had really clear images. Bee Purl also has a good tutorial with illustrated instructions.

via {Subervise Cross Stitch}

Going through {Subversive cross stitch}

The best part about cross stitch is that there are a ton of tutorials and patterns for it. The worst part about cross stitch is that most of the designs are really ugly. But fear not, there are some really good ones too! Subversive cross stitch (NSFW) has some really fun designs and Hancock’s Happy House has around a million free templates to choose from.

What other tutorials have you used to teach yourself crochet, knitting, embroidery or cross stitch? Good owners or shops to share?

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