Even though I crochet almost constantly, I don't often give handmade gifts. Generally, I give people books. Almost exclusively, actually. Handmade gifts are an awful lot of work and (somewhat selfishly, I admit) I have trouble parting with something I've worked very hard on. This is clearly evidenced by the four afghans that are currently draped over my living room furniture. Also, handmade gifts are often just as expensive as store bought ones. I use synthetic yarn and it still costs anywhere between $50-$100 to get enough for a blanket or even a small throw.
So when I make a handmade gift, it's usually a very special occasion, and for someone I love very much. I'm currently working on two, which is very unusual. It's got me thinking about what it means to make something for someone else. The most special gift I've made so far was for the first of my friends to get married, M&H. It was a pretty hefty financial investment, as well as an enormous time investment. I made them a white bedspread, and it took me six months. They say the most important part of a gift is the thought that goes into it. When you're making a gift, it's not just one thought, it's many thoughts. While I was making that bedspread I thought about them the entire time. I don't mean that I was 100% focused on just them, but somewhere in my mind every single stitch (and they were countless) was for them. Every stitch was a little hope, a little prayer, and a thank you for all the love they've given me.