"For each of us there is some mission in life if we but find it. All have some definite thing to do, something for which they have been created; and only the doing of this thing will justify their existence here on earth. If we come into the world and occupy space and time without giving back for this privilege, we have not justified ourselves, and our lives in the end are barren." ~ Hay

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Oh Where Oh Where Did The Crafters Go?

Dad's painted miniatures

What are your New Year’s resolutions?  Have you thought about it yet?  The year 2011 is right around the corner.  I have a suggestion for you.  How about learning a new craft or revisiting a craft you were enthusiastic about as a child.  You will challenge yourself and at the same time rekindle an interest in something that may have been long forgotten. 
 I was completely taken by surprise recently when I shopped at Michael’s craft store in Riverhead.  It was completely empty.  Oh where oh where were the crafters?  There was no one buying yarn, no one buying thread, no one buying acrylic paint, no one buying fabric, no one buying model aircrafts or cars, no one buying puzzles.   I was truly saddened.  The realization hit me….certain crafts are becoming obsolete.  Why?  Can it be that we are so fascinated by new technology, that we have forgotten to use our fingers for anything but computers and cell phones?  It’s not just teenagers who are missing out on the satisfaction and pride in making something fun and creative, but adults as well.  It’s time to discover or rekindle the joys of crafting like our grandparents did.
My grandmother knew how to do it all.  She liked to knit, crochet, sew, and do needlepoint.  When I was a young child, I so desperately wanted to learn how to crochet.  I begged my grandmother to teach me.  She used to say, “Why do you want to learn this old thing.”  I persisted and the reason was twofold; I wanted to make beautiful items and I also just loved the word crochet.  Unbeknownst to me, a pretty word sparked a lifetime interest.  At the age of 7, I was making granny square vests and wearing them to school.  I picked it up again as a young adult and made many beautiful things for my home such as afghans and doilies.  In fact, I crocheted a doily for every table in the house!  My husband used to joke that he doesn’t have to worry about me growing old because I already am…lol
Not only can you make fun and beautiful things by doing these crafts, it is also a great stress reducer.  It allows your mind to relax as you concentrate on the job at hand.  You cannot multi-task when doing these crafts (like washing dishes and talking on the phone).  They require your time and attention.  It will recharge you and keep you young as you continue to learn and grow.  So why not consider making one of these crafts your New Year’s Resolution.  You are never too old to learn something new or revisit a childhood interest.

Crochet – My personal favorite!!  Crochet means “hook” in French.  It is a series of interlocking loops of thread onto a chain (chain stitch) using a rod with a hook at the end.  The hardest part is learning how to weave the yarn on your left hand.  Once you get the hang of it, you will love it. (See photo of blanket I made).  There are many sites online that have instructions plus videos on how to crochet.  Here is one site:   http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Crochet

Jig Saw Puzzles – Did you like to put together puzzles as a kid?  Have you tried one as an adult?  These aren’t the easy ones you put together as a child.  They have some challenging puzzles that contain anywhere from 500-1,000 pieces.  It is hard.  The good news is, they are relatively inexpensive.  Make sure you don’t need that table top for quite some time…lol  Go ahead and give it a try!  They are a great mental challenge.  Here is a website that has a nice assortment:  http://www.puzzlewarehouse.com/
Knitting - Knitting is NOT the same things as crocheting.   It is a completely different craft whereby two needles are used, unlike one for crochet.  When you knit, you make a garment by a series of connected loops.  There are many “how to” videos available on the internet or you can check out this website:  http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/learn-to-knit

Latch Hook Rugs-To make a latch hook rug, you use a tool with a “latch” and draw loops of yarn though a canvas.  They usually come in kits with very easy to follow directions. I taught myself how to make hook rugs when I was young.  I also taught my daughter how to make these. (see photo).   Here is a website with pages and pages of kits!  (I may have to buy one!)  http://www.marymaxim.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/category4_10001_10054_15056_-1_15055_15055
Model Aircrafts/Cars – The model aircraft and cars come in kits with easy to follow instructions.  They are usually small replicas of actual cars or airplanes.  You glue them together and paint as per the instructions.  If you cannot afford the real thing, why not try putting one of these together:  http://www.hobbyplace.com/plastics/cars1.php 

Needlework (cross stitch) –Cross-stitch is a popular form of counted-thread embroidery in which X-shaped stitches in a tiled, raster like pattern are used to form a picture.  Cross stitching is really intense.  It requires a bit of concentration and accuracy.  You can make some absolutely beautiful needlework (see photo of birdhouses I cross stitched in 1997).  Beginners should start with a kit and follow the instructions.  Here is a website with kits:  http://www.everythingcrossstitch.com/

Painting Historical Miniatures – Miniatures are sold and then painted with acrylics. You can follow a book to see accurate and authentic period costumes.   My Dad enjoys painting very small military figures.  (see photos)  Here’s a “how to” get started on painting miniatures:  http://www.stormthecastle.com/miniatures/painting-miniatures.htm

Sewing - We all know what sewing is, but can we use a sewing machine?  There are many adult education programs that offer sewing as a class.  You can probably find a used sewing machine on Craigslist to get started.  One great thing to learn how to make is fabric grocery bags.  You can take them everywhere to avoid plastics.   Here is a website for more information:  http://sewing.about.com/od/bagstotespurseproject/ss/grocerybag.htm

Tatting – Tatting dates to the early 19th century.  Tatting is a handcraft for making lace out of very fine yarn.  Items you can make are lace edging, doilies or other decorative pieces.   Informational videos can be found online.  Also please check:  http://www.craftown.com/instruction/tatting.htm

Woodworking -  Oh the joys of hand making your own woodwork!!  You can purchase already made objects such as birdhouses and paint or stain them yourself or you can actually make a birdhouse from scratch.  There is no end to the imagination as to what you can make out of wood.  All you need is the right tools (of course, follow safe practices) and you’re off to create something…  Here is a website with great do-it-yourself wood working videos.  http://thewoodwhisperer.com/category/video/ 

What fun!!  I want some power tools!!
I hope I have inspired you to create and add crafting to your list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2011!  Go and have fun…….

Hmm…Does anyone collect anything either?  Coins? Stamps? Magazines?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder Chris! One of victoria's favorite things from her childhood was the blanket that I made her when you got me back in to crocheting (LOL).
She carried that blanket everywhere until it started to unravel. She is 16 and still begging me to make her a new one. Hmmm. 2011????