Help me find a new hobby!
August 11, 2009 3:09 AM   Subscribe

I need a new, productive hobby, please!

I need something new to occupy my hands - something that doesn't require a dedicated room or big chunks of time, something that I can pick up and put down wihout a lot of preparation or clean-up time. Most importantly, I want to be able to produce something wearable, decorative, useful, or some combination of those things.
I can't really get the hang of knitting. I crochet like a champ, but it's not the best medium for wearable items, and I've already flooded the market with amigurumi (little stuffed toys), dishcloths, and potholders. I have 5 years experience in silversmithing/ jewelrymaking, which is more involved and intense than what I'm looking for- but if I could carry over any of those skills that would be great. I also have experience in bookbinding, which I love, but I already have way more journals and other blank books than I will ever be able to use or give away.
Financial outlay isn't a big issue, I would drop a few hundred pounds if I found the right thing.
posted by Wroksie to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: How about embroidery? You won't produce entire items, but you will decorate them. Calligraphy or drawing might also be options.
posted by orange swan at 3:52 AM on August 11, 2009 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I was going to come in here to suggest knitting but see that you were not having luck with that. I still think it really ticks all the boxes for you. I recommend checking out Ravelry and see if people on there can help pinpoint what you are having difficulty with. They are super nice and we have a Mefi group on there!
posted by like_neon at 4:11 AM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: I would disagree with you about crochet not being the best medium for wearable items (amigurumi is very basic usually - have you looked into crochet lace, e.g. Irish crochet and things?), but... other things that may fit your criteria:

- Hand sewing. Slow but very satisfying. Or sewing with a sewing machine...though that does take more space, but the ultimate reward (your own clothes made with your own hands!) is the greatest.
- All kinds of needle work - Embroidery, cross stitch, needlepoint, sashiko, crewel work, quilting, applique, needle lace making, etc... any and all of these have been used to make beautiful wearable things
- Beadwork, making jewelry, bead weaving
- Related to the above: making your own beads, buttons, jewelry etc. with polymer clay (though polymer clay work is a bit messy)
- Still crochet, but how about crochet jewelry? You can make it with fibers or with metal wire, which can be fragile and beautiful and a totally different challenge from amigurumi, and you can use your jewelry making experience
- Tatting (can't stand it myself, so fiddly, but it does produce some beautiful stuff and is very portable)
- Bobbin lace (see tatting; but not as portable)
- Painting on silk (a bit messy but not as much as tie-dyeing and such)
- Cartonnage (French (well very popular in France) fabric-covered cardboard boxes) might appeal to your bookbinding side...though can get messy and take up space

Finally, since you like amugurumi, you might get inspiration from Japanese craft magazines such as Cotton Time.
posted by thread_makimaki at 4:18 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Quilting is pretty awesome because there are large and small patterns, practical and decorative patterns, and easy and hard patterns. It can get a little pricey but one project can also occupy you for a while, especially if you quilt it yourself.

And if textiles aren't what you want, I think origami is so beautiful and fun. It's inexpensive and you can make decorative figures as well as practical things like origami boxes.
posted by Mouse Army at 4:27 AM on August 11, 2009

What about picking up the harmonica?
posted by alon at 4:41 AM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: I would suggest whittling. It's fairly easy to pick up and put down. You can make some remarkable decorative pieces with an easy mess to tame.
posted by Saydur at 4:52 AM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: How about making decent quality Print and Play games.

You could start with a nice Micropul set, and work from there. I have a really nice micropul set that I made from Adhesive tile I bought at a local store, then I printed out the tiles for the game, stuck it to the adhesive side, and then scored and snapped the tile on the lines to make my smaller Micropul tiles. It looks nice. Now I just need to make a nice little box for it.

Also, creating your own print and play games is alot of fun. Here is mine.
posted by JonnyRotten at 5:05 AM on August 11, 2009

How about zine-making?
posted by divabat at 5:06 AM on August 11, 2009

Brew me some mead!

(I'd do it myself but I am too lazy)
posted by ian1977 at 5:51 AM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I have friends who crochet beaded bracelets. Very portable; many patterns and unlimited colors. I'm wearing several right now.
posted by theora55 at 5:57 AM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: Pick up papercraft, it's pretty awesome.
Print the model on a thick cardstock, cut and glue together!
posted by PowerCat at 6:30 AM on August 11, 2009

Facet gemstones the machine is small the process is clean.
posted by hortense at 7:42 AM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: Origamic architecture is a lot of fun, and all you need is a ruler, an X-Acto knife and some card stock.
posted by usonian at 8:05 AM on August 11, 2009

Get some Victory brown wax and start modeling small figurines that can be cast in bronze.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:50 AM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: Needle felting! It's very satisfying! It's not expensive! All my supplies fit in a little tool box! Inspiration here, and here; and cute kits here. I just buy bags of assorted roving, and sculpt whatever speaks to me, whenever. I learned it quickly. It's not too wasteful, as I can use a lot of recycled stuff, and mistakes can be corrected. I did little gnome ornaments for the holidays as gifts, and I've done friends' dogs and I buy cashmere scarves, gloves, hats and sweaters at thrift stores and embellish them, for myself and for gifts. I may turn some old sweaters into throw pillow covers with embellishment too. Aside from the occasional finger-stabbing, it's very pleasurable to jab, jab, jabjabjabjabjab jab jab at a ball of wool.
posted by peagood at 3:27 PM on August 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Lots of great suggestions here already but I'll add crewel (embroidery with thicker wool thread - lots of neat designs out there to start with - and perfect for embellishing clothing and other items that you already own). I'll second needle felting and add that reading craft blogs and online sources like Craft Magazine can become a hobby in itself...
posted by rosebengal at 3:46 PM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: Get yourself a bedazzler and make home made GemSweaters!
posted by JonnyRotten at 4:03 PM on August 11, 2009

Best answer: I recommend cross-stitching over embroidery, personally!
posted by radioamy at 12:08 AM on August 12, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone- definitely going to look into different sorts of embroidery- I'm sure there's more to it than the Garfield crosstitch kits I did as a kid- and needle felting looks super fun and cute. The papercraft, origami, and print-your-own games seems like something I could get my husband into, as well.
JohnnyRotten- my last big house party in college was a gem sweater party. Mine was covered in bedazzled fruit and a big parrot.
posted by Wroksie at 1:47 AM on August 12, 2009

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