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Vanna White's Tips for Handmade Gifts

'Wheel of Fortune' cohost fills her idle time with crochet

Vanna White

Amanda Friedman

My maternal grandmother was always crocheting. And she taught me when I was 5 years old. That's how we spent time together. I would do the chain stitch and little things like that, while she crocheted these beautiful, intricate doilies. To me, it was amazing that she could take yarn and make lovely things that were also useful. When I got a little older, I had other things I needed to do, but I put that experience away in the back of my mind.

Then when I started Wheel of Fortune, my hairdresser, Kim, was pregnant, and she was crocheting a blanket for her baby. I thought, Oh, my gosh, I used to do that when I was a kid! I'd love to do that again. So she refreshed my memory of crocheting. The funny thing — which I didn't realize at the time — is that she was left-handed. I'm right-handed, but I watched and copied her movements, and I've been crocheting left-handed for the past 37 years. There's always a crochet project going on for me. I keep one in my travel bag, and I keep one going in my car. That's how I stay occupied during lulls in my day.

Mainly, I make baby blankets for friends and family. I also make scarves, or I'll make a big afghan for someone who's getting married. Giving a gift that's handmade is special. It's something that never goes out of style. We all love handmade things.

My daughter, who is 22, crochets as well. I taught her how. It continues a family tradition. But for someone who's trying to learn without anyone to teach them, I would tell them to go to YouTube and follow along with an instructional video. Something like a baby blanket is very, very simple — it's just two stitches. And it's fun! You're making something and you're relaxing.

To me, it's like therapy.