Think of it. If you start tonight and do one or two a night, you can crochet enough flaky tree onraments to make a snow emergency just in time for a holiday tree.

Snowflakes are easy (usually) and always different (well, there aren't as many of the crocheted variety as the real thing, but who's counting) so you won't get bored.

There are enough handcraft books out these days to give you snowflake patterns and sweater patterns and vests and ponchos and bags and toys and anything else you can think of to keep your hooks and needles twinkling for years. But there's a catch. Don't think they'll help you save. Sure, it's cheaper for you to handknit a sweater than to buy a sweater handknit by somebody else, but even with your donated labor costs, the price of a handwork hobby is high.

Best buy of the current hook-and-needle books is "McCall's Christmas Knit and Crochet," head and shoulders over the rest. At $2.95 it is full of snowflakes (14 different ones), gift trims, sweaters and toys and a creche full of crochet figures. Easy to make, easy-to-follow instructions.

Other books available:

"Erica Wilson's Christmas World" by Erica Wilson (Charles Scribner's Sons, $17.95).

"A Treasury of Crochet Patterns" by Liz Blackwell (Charles Scribner's Sons, $10.95).

"America's Crochet Book" by Gertrude Taylor (Charles Scribner's Sons, $10.95).

"The Big Book of Small Needlework Gifts" by Annette Feldman (Hammond, $15.95).