Heart in Hand: Crafters Among Us

Since people asked, here’s a thread to discuss what you make with your hands for love or gifts, what you’re working on or planning, and where (online or IRW) you like to go for supplies.

My favorite crafts are the stereotype of middle-aged, middle-class ladystuff. I have rubber stamps older than some of you Balloon Juice commentors (starting with a Kliban cat and a Kay Nielsen knockoff, in 1973). I’ve been doing basic beading almost as long, so I’ve collected some vintage beads & buttons that are older than me. I do counted cross-stitch and other embroidery work (I like Needleworker’s Delight for mail order supplies). And I collect fabrics, patterns, and quilting supplies, although I’ve never finished anything larger than a few vests and a growing supply of half-finished blocks for different projects. International Fabrics is a treasure house for exotic high-end imports (Liberty lawns & Japanese yukata panels). Luana Rubin’s eQuilter is the best online source I’ve found for high-quality domestic quilter’s cottons. And I really like the site’s pattern designer and design-board functions, which let you compare different fabrics and then see how they’d look in a particular setting. (Yes, I enjoy taking multiple larger pieces, cutting them into fragments, and combining them into something new & hopefully enjoyable.)

I’ll be putting up another ‘Artists Among Us‘ post Monday afternoon / evening, with pictures, for those who want to promote their goods for sale.

So… what are your favorite handworking projects? What are you working on now, for yourself or for others? Where are your favorite stores, and what makes them special?

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

88 replies
  1. 1
    Yutsano says:

    I cook for family and friends a lot. Does that count?

  2. 2
    FlipYrWhig says:

    Not a crafter but I know a lot of crafters… and should plug this super-friendly Etsy shop for supplies for knitters, sewers, weavers, spinners, dollmakers et alia: Northcott Wilson Artisans.

  3. 3
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Last year I used my newbie sewing skillz to make microwave potato baking bags for several friends, and they went over pretty big. If you’ve never seen these, they’re a great way for preparing “baked” potatoes in the microwave without needing to poke them with a fork, and they work well as a shortcut to boiling potatoes as required for a lot of Indian dishes (the gift was most enthusiastically received by an Indian couple for this very reason!)

    (The linked page isn’t the one where I found the pattern I used, but it’s pretty similar, and easy for the novice stitcher.)

  4. 4
  5. 5
    nancydarling says:

    Anne, I’m not a crafter, but I have to share my find with you. I was recently in Albuquerque and browsing antique shops with my sister. I found a found a crazy quilt top that I know is pre-1920. It is exquisite and if it had been finished, I think it would be near museum quality. I live near lots of quilters and am going to have it finished. I’m thinking of a forest green velvet for the backing. I don’t know a lot about vintage fabrics, but I think a cotton velvet should work since silk velvet is too expensive.

    The price for the quilt top? Thirty-eight dollars.

  6. 6
    Raven says:

    We’ve been at the beach for a week. My bride brings her sewing machine and she works on her handbags and wedding ring pillows while I fish. A marriage made in heaven! She’s only got one pillow up on her etsy page right now. Annie Pop Fabric Art

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    Here’s another one. Annie Pop

  8. 8

    Each WalMart employee costs the Federal Government $1,000 in assistance while the Walton family make billions. Who are the takers now?

    https://www.facebook.com/notes/alan-grayson/my-thanksgiving-a-turkey-sandwich-at-walmart/487779004578417

  9. 9
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    I just got done shopping at my LYS (local yarn store) Unwind Yarn’s Superbowl Sale. (It got pushed to this weekend because TNNA is actual Superbowl weekend.). I worry about them because it really seems like they have a LOT less stock now than other stores, which says to me they’re having a hard time staying afloat. Hopefully things will improve for them as the economy recovers.

    I bought two colors of purple yarn to make a hat for my niece. Last year, I made the mistake of making a hat for her from her previous favorite color and was informed that she didn’t like yellow anymore, she likes purple. I want to make something dragon-themed since she’s really into dragons right now, but also something that will suit the dignity of an almost-13-year-old who’s going to be taller than me soon. We’ll see what Ravelry has.

  10. 10
    Maude says:

    @Raven:
    That’s extraordinary.
    I only sew carry bags for the grocery store. I wore the other ones out.

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    Also, this article still amuses the heck out of me — apparently some male truckers have started crafting as an alternative to hanging out in bars when they’re on a long haul:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....38962.html

  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist:

    My friend at work offered to let me use her sewing machine to make a cover for my bicycle seat, but I haven’t used on in 30 years, so I’m a little nervous. I may try to take a couple of lessons first.

    Oh, also, I figured out a way to knit a completely seamless cat toy. I’m going to try and sell a few at the company craft fair.

  15. 15
    cdmarine says:

    I do jewelry (mostly woven stuff, as I currently have no place to do even simple metalsmithing). (Clicky the name for shop link.)

    I’ll leave these links as text so as not to trigger comment spam filters.

    I find Thunderbird Supply is best for metals, and some chain (wire, etc.).
    http://www.thunderbirdsupply.com

    Artbeads is best for commercial beads and supplies in small quantities. Most basics are sold by the “each”, and the quantity price breaks are within easy reach (i.e., you don’t need to by 200 packs of 50 of something to get the highest quantity price break). You also get free shipping on orders over $10, and I’ve found their service to be very reliable and friendly.
    http://www.artbeads.com

    Fusion Beads is similar to Artbeads, though prices are usually slightly higher. Selection is different, though, so you can find some things there that you can’t find at Artbeads. Also shipping on orders over $25.
    http://www.fusionbeads.com

    Beadaholique is a general bead & supply place. I’ve almost never found their prices to be the lowest on anything, but sometimes they’ll carry some stuff I can’t find elsewhere.
    http://www.beadaholique.com

    Fire Mountain Gems is really hit or miss. Probably your best deal if you’re looking for huge quantities of glass or crystal, but absolutely atrocious for gemstones, IMO.
    http://www.fusionbeads.com

    You should never order from FMG without checking first to see if you’ll get a better deal through JetBeads. JetBeads is a guy who orders so much from FMG that he gets wholesale pricing below what they show on the website, and he’ll order your FMG cart for you at his cost, then ship it to you. The double shipping costs can sometimes offset your savings, so you have to do a little calculation to see if it’s worth it, but I’ve saved quite a bit of money a few times this way.
    http://www.jetbeads.com

    Hit-or-miss on both pricing and selection, but always worth checking, is Shipwreck. Beads and general supplies.
    http://www.shipwreckbeads.com

    Another general beads, findings, and supplies outfit is Rings & Things. Decent quantity price breaks. They run a series of bead shows around the country, and it’s worth getting on your mailing list so you can get into those. You can buy individual strands at their deepest discount level at the shows.
    http://www.rings-things.com

    For your really high quality findings and cabochons, you can’t beat Rio Grande. It’s pretty much where the serious jewelry designers go for that stuff. Can be pricey if you’re not ordering in large quantities, though.
    http://www.riogrande.com

    Monsterslayer has sort of a limited selection, but within what they have their prices and quantity breaks are really reasonable. I get a variety of findings and chain there (particularly the base metal stuff).
    https://www.monsterslayer.com/

    Otto Frei is the place to go for serious tools. If I actually had space to do metalsmithing, I’d be all over this shit.
    http://www.ottofrei.com

    Finally, there are a crapton of supply shops on Etsy. Findings are generally overpriced on there, given the ease of finding them in reasonable quantities at reasonable prices elsewhere, BUT, there’s probably no better option for high quality gemstones in small quantities. Yes, you’ll pay a whole lot more per stone for that topaz briolette on Etsy than you would if you bought 10 strands of them from an Indian wholesaler, but who can afford to buy 10 strands of topaz at a time? Not that many people. Etsy supply shops will let you buy just a few stones for a few bucks, something you couldn’t really do anywhere else.

  16. 16
    cdmarine says:

    I think it’s going to be hard to submit a list of favorite stores/suppliers. Mine just got eaten by the spam filter. Too many links, I assume.

  17. 17
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    Worthy heirs to football players like Rosie Greer needlepointing in their spare time. If I recall correctly, he displayed his handiwork on the Tonight Show.

  18. 18
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Weird, up until this post, I was picking up a distinct “Black Saturday” vibe.

  19. 19
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @Yutsano:

    It counts if you bake tiny loaves of delicious things and wrap them up for people. If you aren’t doing that, you should — most people LOVE getting a tiny loaf of banana or zucchini bread at the holidays.

  20. 20
    tom says:

    I don’t do much in this way of things, but next weekend I’m going to try to put together a washtub bass, so I can start a jug band with my kids.

  21. 21
    Libby's Person says:

    I craft in fits and starts. I’ve done a couple of piecework portraits of my dogs, (about 18×24 inches) that I’ve framed and hung rather than backed and quilted. I have one that’s been almost done for over a year – I made the tactical error of deciding to embellish it with surface stitching, and I got bored halfway through. I need to buckle down and get it done! It’s a memorial to my previous dog; I joke that my goal is to finish it before it’s time to make one for my current dog. Maybe I’ll turn off the computer and go work on it now…

  22. 22
    Abo gato says:

    I think the deal for me is that I just like to make things. That translates into pretty much gourmet cooking (dinner tonight is pan seared hanger steak with mushrooms, shallots and a red wine reduction sauce). I also make silver chains, earrings and bracelets by shaping and soldering the silver wire into links. I am a sucker for a good camera. I used to sew a lot and think about it again now and then. I make jams and jellies and pickles to give to my friends. I cure and smoke bacon and make pastrami and corned beef. Pretty much, if I can make something I will give a try. Give me a weird challenge and I’m on!

  23. 23

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    On Christmas morning I get up early and make batches of Cinnamon Rolls and Donuts for my next door neighbors. They have a big family and fresh made breakfast for all of them really takes the heat off Mom. It makes me feel good.

  24. 24
    Iceskatingschnauzer says:

    Knitting – for family and friends (and even myself). I try to buy from my favorite LYS, Bliss Yarns in Brentwood, Tennessee, even though it is across town from me but Internet sources are Webs, Jimmy Beans Wool (used to live in Reno and those ladies are super) and a handful of other online resources for specialty yarns that would be classified as luxury yarns (cashmere, quivat, etc.). I knit shawls, caps, gloves, sweaters, socks – you name it I love to knit it. It is very relaxing and I take my knitting everywhere with me in case I get stuck somewhere with nothing to do for a bit. I always have a few portable projects and I have a lovely shawl I’m working on that I will take to the Christmas Eve service because if you want a good seat you have to get there super early and a girl needs something to while away the time!

  25. 25
    BonnyAnne says:

    Current projects: I just finished a blue/green seaweed themed shawl (called Laminaria, for us Ravelry types) that I hated the whole way through and now kinda love. Made the mistake of working on a pair of elbow-length fingerless gloves in front of my BF last night and now she wants one, of course.

    Next up: A couple of months ago I made a single skein shawl (“Brandywine”) in worsted weight yarn for a friend — perfect for colder weather and super fast to knit. Naturally everyone who does not want fingerless gloves wants one of those shawl. Except for the people who want snoods. And my friend in the UK is currently unaware that she is about to receive a stuffed goat disguised as a woolly mammoth (I’m really proud of that one).

    I only have one craft, but it’s a fun one.

  26. 26
    PurpleGirl says:

    @debbie: Rosey Grier did needlepoint and knitted. He wrote a book called Needlepoint for Men. It became one of the things he often was asked about.

  27. 27
    BonnyAnne says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone):

    yes to all of this. Mini loaves of quick breads are a WONDERFUL present. Tasty, inexpensive, made with love (so no one cares about the cost or lack thereof), and takes up no space at all once it’s eaten! The best of all possible worlds.

  28. 28
    cdmarine says:

    @PurpleGirl: I remember that Rosey Grier Needlepoint for Men book! My mom bought that book for me when I was doing needlepoint in Girl Scouts. (I was never a very girly girl.)

  29. 29
    PurpleGirl says:

    I crochet and make beaded jewelry. I’ll try to find pictures or links on the web to the Water Tower Cozy project I participated in and the Hyperbolic Crocheted Coral Reef. If you look at the picture of the meet-up that DougJ posted a few days, I’m wearing a partially finished necklace of mine. (I’ve been adding beads to it every so often when I find beads I think will work with the others.)

    @cdmarine: Ah-ha, that’s nice. Do you still have the book?

  30. 30
    PurpleGirl says:

    @cdmarine: Very good list. I had edited my previous comment to add in some things about the list but FYWP eated the edit.

    I agree with you about Fire Mountain Gems. You have to be careful when buying from them. It may take a few purchases to figure out what is good and learn what items to stay away from (ex. their miracle beads are only so-so).

  31. 31
    John M. Burt says:

    Here is a song which every maker of things ought to hear:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSsFcs8S4xM

  32. 32
    PurpleGirl says:

    A song for the knitters and yarn people among us:

    http://youtu.be/KSjsOeC6OcE

  33. 33
    cdmarine says:

    @PurpleGirl: I don’t. I don’t think my mom does, either. Her house got whacked by a tornado, so a lot of stuff from my childhood is gone.

  34. 34
    M-pop says:

    Oh my gosh, I read your list and description of hand crafts you like to do and realized how much I have in common! I don’t bead except for a few necklaces here and there, but the stamp collecting, sewing, cross-stitch was right down my alley! Thanks for sharing these!

  35. 35
    Svensker says:

    @Raven:

    Wow! Really pretty and unusual.

  36. 36
    muddy says:

    I’m a maker too. I make too many different things to list, but here’s some stoneware:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/m.....080711205/

    I wish I could knit or crochet though, I have tried several times to learn and end up tangling my fingers. My sister knits amazing things.

  37. 37
    John M. Burt says:

    I have one extremely long-running craft project, which I commonly call The Sweater:

    http://www.thesweater.blogspot.com

    http://the-sweater.tumblr.com

  38. 38
    RSA says:

    I’m not a crafter, but one of my wife’s crafts is weaving. She learned to weave when we were living in Amherst; she worked at Webs in Northampton (weavers will recognize the yarn company name). She sold a few commissioned pieces, but a highlight was having a runner published in Handwoven (weavers will recognize the magazine name). Even though she does less of this now, we still regularly visit the craft guild shows in western NC. Weaving is a fascinating craft, having influenced early thinking in computer science, surprisingly enough.

  39. 39
    PurpleGirl says:

    @RSA: Weaving is a fascinating craft, having influenced early thinking in computer science, surprisingly enough.

    Yes. The punch cards used with Jacqard looms to create the complex patterns became a model for computing/tabulating equipment.

  40. 40
    donnah says:

    I have posted on your artist threads quite often, and usually my posts are well into the thread. The type of work I do is an art form, but it is also considered a craft. After years as a painter and then more years as a stencil artist, I found rug hooking. I take thin strips of dyed wool and pull them up through linen backing with a hook, forming loops which create patterns and pictures. It’s like painting with wool.

    I got started ten years ago and have advanced to a professional status. I make rugs for galleries and do commissioned pieces as well. I write for Rug Hooking Magazine often and have just published a book for them, the Rug Hookers Companion. I am now teaching all over the country and love it so much.

    I just got home from the rug show in Shelburne, VT. I won a ribbon for my Alzheimers Rug, which was a big honor. I also taught a workshop there for fifteen great students.

    Here’s the Alzheimers Rug:

    http://s32.beta.photobucket.co.....&o=40

  41. 41
    Raven says:

    @Svensker: That’s my girl!

  42. 42
    Yutsano says:

    @Raven: I suppose this means I REALLY have to get married now huh? :)

  43. 43
    PurpleGirl says:

    @donnah: Congratulations on winning an award ribbon. Also, it’s good to hear that you are able to work professionally at your art craft. You’ve posted the Alzheimers rug before and I think it is really outstanding in beauty and meaning.

  44. 44
    bin Lurkin' says:

    I make spinning tops among other things from exotic woods, antique ivory, copper, brass.

    These pics are of a small gyroscope styled top made from briar burl and antique ivory.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/2rzan7m.jpg

    http://i47.tinypic.com/2qn4ief.jpg

    And this whistling top is made from African blackwood with an antique ivory tip.

    http://i49.tinypic.com/2ceoon.jpg

    My ivory is sourced from old billiard balls, piano keys, hand mirrors, brushes and other antique sources. I salvage broken or otherwise useless pieces, restore some few and repurpose the rest.

  45. 45
    PurpleGirl says:

    @John M. Burt: Are the ornamentations/restorations on those sweaters various different things, i.e, beading and embroidery, etc.?

    (You read Making Light; are you and SO science fiction readers and convention attendees?)

  46. 46
    Anne Laurie says:

    @nancydarling:

    I found a found a crazy quilt top that I know is pre-1920. It is exquisite and if it had been finished, I think it would be near museum quality…

    TOO COOL!

    If you have access to a professional appraiser, it might be worth showing them the top before you get it finished — vintage textiles can be ‘museum quality’ even if they’re a lot less than perfect, just because so few survive. But your quilting friends have probably told you that.

    Cotton velvet sounds good for the backing, but if you can’t find a match you like, a good-quality slipper satin (aka ‘bridal satin’) might be a good substitute. I’m thinking of the kind of heavy slippery stuff they use to line fur coats… devilish to work with, but lovely against your skin. And it comes in wider widths, so you wouldn’t need a center seam, which is an advantage…

  47. 47
    bin Lurkin' says:

    This top is somewhat larger, made from antique ivory and briar burl.

    http://i50.tinypic.com/8wcu1k.jpg

    http://i49.tinypic.com/2ziphd3.jpg

  48. 48
    donnah says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    Thank you! Yes, I find that these threads fill up so quickly that my feeble attempts kind of get lost. ;-)

    I was a quilter for several years, doing hand and machine piecing, and I enjoyed that very much. I moved into stenciling and when that fell off, I picked up rug hooking. I love the idea of knitting and what people are doing with it, but I’m simply horrible at it. Crochet, too. I have learned my limitations!

    Here’s another one:

    http://i32.photobucket.com/alb.....9314f6.jpg

  49. 49
    PurpleGirl says:

    @bin Lurkin’: Those are beautiful. I love the idea of repurposed old ivory.

  50. 50
    txvoodoo says:

    WHEE crafting! I’m a knitter – my projects are here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/txvoodoo

    I’m heavy into gift-mode knitting right now.

    I’m also doing a lot of household DIY, having bought a new house this year. Since my husband and I are building a large saltwater reeftank set into a wall, we decided to have a LOT of fun with it, and are doing the tank room up bigtime, with ocean themed decor galore. We’re geekily documenting it here: https://www.facebook.com/RoweFishRoom . Today I painted a window shade to match the walls.

    I’m also sewing ALL THE THINGS. Duvets, shams, window treatments. WOOT. And painting furniture. I painted a bookcase to hold my yarn stash: http://images4.ravelrycache.co.....edium2.jpg

  51. 51
    Anne Laurie says:

    @cdmarine: I fished it out, thanks! Your good advice is going to cost me a LOT of money, I can tell already…

  52. 52
    Arachnae says:

    @ bin Lurkin’ – anyone ever ask you to craft hand spindles? Spinners will spend a LOT for a beautiful, well-balanced spindle. Just FYI. (hint, hint)

  53. 53
    Anne Laurie says:

    @donnah: All your rugs I’ve seen pics of are lovely, but that Alzheimer’s piece is amazing! If you send me a jpeg, I can run it on the front page for the Cyber-Monday post, okay?

  54. 54
    greennotGreen says:

    I make things out of pieces parts. I quilt, but I also make mosaics out of broken china, sculptures out of painted tin cans, and I’ve made a “quilt” out of beer bottle caps. I love to create whatever pops into my mind, without having to worry about whether it would sell. So, I have a day job. I have also painted and done pottery, but I’ve drifted away from those.

    Actually, I do one thing that makes a little money, at least for my club. I have designed all but one of the lapel pins offered at this site: http://www.gesneriadsociety.org/Shop/apparel.htm

  55. 55
    dexwood says:

    @donnah: Wow.

  56. 56
    SuperHrefna says:

    I love to knit, but haven’t done much at all since tearing my rotator cuff. I’m nearly back to normal now so I’m thinking of knitting myself another aran cardie but before I take the plunge I’m going to warm up with this charming hot water bottle, Winterberry: http://www.gluecksfisch.com/en/patterns/ Knit in my favorite yarn for cables, Black Water Abbey: https://www.abbeyyarns.com/html/products_frame_page.html My handknit sweaters & hotwater bottle covers got me through eight days with no electricity (courtesy of Sandy) and I’m feeling very motivated to knit myself some more!

  57. 57
    bin Lurkin' says:

    Acorn top, I dyed this one with aniline dye after making it from briar burl so it’s darker.

    http://i46.tinypic.com/23l0ghg.jpg

    And here’s a Star of David I made for my Jewish friend after he saw one of my Celtic crosses, blackwood and briar burl.

    http://i47.tinypic.com/2rm2h09.jpg

  58. 58
    SuperHrefna says:

    @cdmarine: Oh my, I am drooling over the findings on Rio Grande! I’m not letting myself buy any more beads for a while, but who can bead without findings? :-D

  59. 59
    bin Lurkin' says:

    @Arachnae: If you have a link to the sort of thing you’re talking about I can make just about anything from wood.

  60. 60
    SuperHrefna says:

    @greennotGreen: Those lapel pins are very beautiful, I love enamel work.

  61. 61
    greennotGreen says:

    Thanks!

  62. 62
    bin Lurkin' says:

    @PurpleGirl: Thank you for your kind words, I feel a bit ambivalent about using ivory, I like to feel I’m honoring the animal that gave its life to provide it by making things that people will treasure out of the small to medium pieces I can salvage. Then on the other hand maybe I’m fooling myself, wouldn’t be the first time.

  63. 63
    debg says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Thanks SO much for that link! I’ve been sewing forever, so I have tons of fabric scraps that I can use up with these potato bags.

    I spin and dye yarn, knit, sew, occasionally weave, cook, bake, make chocolate truffles, and make small home improvement doodads. Knitting projects are here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/dgerish
    My handspun yarns are here: http://www.ravelry.com/people/.....h/handspun

  64. 64
    Svensker says:

    @txvoodoo:

    Can’t get into the website — says we need a password? I wanna see!

  65. 65
    Svensker says:

    @bin Lurkin’:

    I love the darkened wood. Very very satisfying stuff you’re doing.

  66. 66
    aimai says:

    I make small doll sized quilts, about a foot by a foot and a half would be the biggest, out of pieced and appliqued bits of batik cloth. If you’ve seen Kaffe Fasset colors you would have an idea of what they look like, if such a quilt were pieced by a drunken seamstress. I’m always surprised by how lovely they are, in their inexact and freaky way. For presents for the teachers at my children’s schools I make the deepest, darkest, hot fudge imaginable. I also grind my own spices and make my own spice mixtures. And I am beginning that phase of life known as “upholstery” and beginning the project of upholstering six dining room chairs.

    aimai

  67. 67
    jenn says:

    @bin Lurkin’: Oh my word that is gorgeous. I used to use a drop spindle as a kid, spinning wool as I walked to school. I’ve been wanting to get back into it. One of these days!

  68. 68
    donnah says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Thank you so much, Annie! Look for my email. Quite an honor!

  69. 69
    ruemara says:

    The only crafting I do is jewelry, but for art’s sake I do printmaking. I think some of the relative despair I feel has cut off my creativity because I can’t seem to make anything. However, I got 1 new piece out before I got sick this past month. Hoping to do a few more, but we’ll see. I was thinking of throwing a holiday gallery open house for my photowork, but we’ll have to see about that too.

  70. 70
    bin Lurkin' says:

    I’d forgotten about this, a steampunk fantasy vampire hunter’s double barreled “shotgun” from random stuff I had laying around. Seems like this one ended up at a con somewhere but I can’t remember where.

    http://i45.tinypic.com/dxzho6.jpg

    I’ve made a lot of stuff over the years but I’ve not been good at getting or saving pictures.

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @donnah:

    Your pieces are beautiful! I can knit pretty well at this point (I’ve been doing it for about 5 years) but I still can’t crochet to save my life. The knitting needle gives me a nice straight line to follow, but all of my crochet pieces end up triangular because I keep putting the hook in the wrong place.

    @jenn:

    I’ve had a few handspinning lessons, but I’m not very good at it and I didn’t have the patience to do it every day in order to get good. Maybe I’ll take it up again someday — I still have my spindles and fiber.

    @RSA:

    Weavers are frickin’ hard core sometimes. I went to a fiber festival and there were several people there who had hand-grown cotton, processed it, dyed it, woven it into cloth, and made it into various articles of clothing. And I thought the people who sheared a sheep in the middle of the Oregon Convention Center and then spun the fleece into wool and knitted it into socks as part of a contest were hard core!

  72. 72
    Steve Finlay says:

    What the heck, I’ll join in — I learned to knit two years ago, at age 53. (I did learn to knit back in my early 20s, but forgot.) I’m hoping to get four projects done in time to send them to my sister and her family. There are four of them, so they can negotiate over who gets what. So far there is a pair of gloves, a pair of three finger mitts, maybe a tuque (unless it goes to someone else), an unfinished scarf, and a 3/4 finished pair of socks. But then I also want to do a project for each of my sons … and the calendar is ticking…

  73. 73
    MomSense says:

    I am a knitter and do most of my shopping at my local yarn shop which carries plenty of items from Maine. I especially love Quince & Co and string theory. I have finished several hats and fingerless mitts and am now working on a reversible cable scarf for my niece. When I knit for myself, I enjoy knitting lace and sweaters/jackets with either interesting stitch patterns or construction.

  74. 74
    lee says:

    I’ve just started doing some woodworking. Nothing nearly as nice as bin lurkin (so far). Just started with some simple boxes to learn on

  75. 75
    RSA says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Weavers are frickin’ hard core sometimes. I went to a fiber festival and there were several people there who had hand-grown cotton, processed it, dyed it, woven it into cloth, and made it into various articles of clothing.

    Holy crap. I’ve met people who’ve done the sheep-raising-to-clothing thing, but growing cotton?! :-) Still, good for them. I sometimes think about how useless I’d be if civilization fell. Not crafters.

  76. 76
    Tony the Wonderhorse says:

    Ha ha, “Crafters” are also a type of witch, the type that have been doing it generation after generation …

    My ex-wife was a Crafter, and I am very glad we ended on good terms :-)

    Happy Holidays!

  77. 77
    Original Lee says:

    My primary craft nowadays is knitting. Since August, I have made a pair of fingerless gloves for Original Daughter (using the Musica pattern for those of you on Ravelry) and a pair of baby booties for a neighbor’s grandbaby, using the pattern in Extreme Double Knitting. I also just have to sew on the button for a bolero I made for a friend’s daughter (amazing how the last steps take the longest). I have started on a sweater for Original Spouse – the first one since we were dating many years ago – using the Chain Link cable pattern.

    I learned to knit when I was 7 years old, but it’s one of those things I don’t always have the time for, so sometimes I go years without knitting a thing, and then I have a spurt. I have started to add learning a new technique to my New Year’s resolutions list, and I think that is helping me find the time to knit things for friends and family. My 2012 resolution was to learn double-knitting, so yay!

    I also crochet (mostly baby blankets), sew (mostly costumes for the kids), hook rugs, and bake (nowadays mostly holiday gifties). I learned how to use a glue gun about three years ago so I could make a parade banner for a group my kids were involved in. I have an instruction manual for a log cabin quilt that I intended to make 15 years ago but never got around to, and I have to confess stamping and scrapbooking have never really appealed to me. But I think the people who do these things craft some really amazing stuff!

  78. 78
    Tlazolteotl says:

    What a timely question! Right now I am working on some petit-point bookmarks in silk thread. The design is a Celtic heron pair with intertwined necks. One of them is for me, the other I am gifting to a pen pal in England who also loves books. When I’m not needlepointing, I knit, but I’m really going to concentrate on the needlepoint this winter.

  79. 79
    lizzeymac says:

    @muddy: Hi muddy – your stoneware is beautiful. I particularly like the wave pattern urn and the sm. utensil jar is gorgeous, I love the russet-red color. Do you sell ever sell it?

  80. 80
    glaukopis says:

    Knitting my first pair of socks – toe-up.

  81. 81
    steveday says:

    I also “play in the mud” and thereby avoid the dreaded “job.”

    http://www.art-kiosk.com/25069

  82. 82
    Riley's Enabler says:

    I learned to knit about a year ago, and have made some simple things; shawls, baby blankets. My next goal is hats and then I really want to make some fingerless mitts. My drug of choice is yarns of all flavors, and I usually support my local yarn shop: http://www.sugarlandyarnco.com/. Fabulous place. They have weekly gatherings but I’m too shy to join, so I just shop and imagine.

    Baking is my therapy, and I adore canning both homegrown bits (pickled jalapeños are always a big hit gift-wise) and store bought fruits for sweet jams and savory chutneys.

    Now I’m hungry, and am thinking of cinnamon rolls for breakfast…hmmmm….

  83. 83
    Kathy in St. Louis says:

    I make dresses for family and for children in Haiti. Last years, a couple of friends and I sent 24 outfits for orphans at a home Mother Theresa’s nuns run there. This year, there are about 22 outfits. I make sleeveless dresses out of a nice fabric that doesn’t have to be ironed and trim them up with lace. I always think kids should have a happy memory to look back on. A special dress may be just the thing that makes some child feel special. We also make shorts for boys and buy shirts to go with them. It’s really not a whole lot, but it makes me feel useful

  84. 84
    Narya says:

    I’ve dabbled in so many things over the years. I have never spun or woven, though I very much want to do both. I have knit things, but I’m not very good at it–the body tends to be fine, but the necks are all wrong. I have done a bit of crochet, though not in a million years. I used to sew (with a 4-H club of all things), and, given that I have material, I need to make curtains with it, but that will require reacquainting myself with sewing (I have my grandmother’s old machine). I particularly like needlepoint, and have done a lot of that and am likely to pick it up again at some point. I design my own canvases, so the blending of colors takes a lot of time. I’ve done a very little bit of work with clay.

    But the thing I do most is bake and cook. I have my own sourdough culture in the fridge and I use it often. When I win the lottery, I’m going to build my own brick oven in the back yard.

  85. 85
    brantl says:

    I do woodworking, but my wife doesn’t like any of the woods that I have in any abundance, so I rarely get to make anything substantial. It pretty much sucks.
    I made her a double-bow windsor rocker before we got married, out of ash.

    I’ve made her one quilt rack, and now she pretty much doesn’t want anything else.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    Taking a break from hand-sewing a zipper into a giant pillow I made for the cats because hand-sewing SUCKS ASS! But apparently machine-sewing a handknit is just as fraught, so I’m stuck.

  87. 87
    Original Lee says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’ve only done this once, and I agree it’s a major pain. After I finished installing my zipper by hand, a friend told me that serging first makes it possible to install the zipper by machine. I don’t know how true that is, not having tried it myself since.

  88. 88
    Narya says:

    @brantl: I need a means to display a wild turkey fan, and I’d like it to be able to stand upright rather than hang on a wall. (I have the fan but not the beard or spurs; a hunter friend had an extra fan.) Can I commission you to put together something for me?

Comments are closed.