Looking for a craft
November 8, 2020 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Winter is coming, which means early nights and tv at night. I'm looking for a new hobby/craft, especially something I can do in the evenings while I'm watching tv. Basically, I'd like something that I can do with my hands without having to think too much while doing it.

I used to cross-stitch many years ago, and I enjoyed that, but they were all very Precious Moments-y, which isn't really my thing. I'd be open to cross stitching again, but are there patterns that aren't quite so Precious Moments? I also used to knit, which I enjoyed, but I haven't done that in a long time and never really progressed beyond scarves.

Any suggestions for crafts that aren't too difficult to learn or do? Thanks!
posted by McPuppington the Third to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are some excellent and modern cross stitch patterns on etsy.
posted by miscbuff at 6:53 PM on November 8 [6 favorites]


There have always been cool cross stitch patterns, but they're definitely easier to find online. I agree with looking on Etsy - a lot of people publish their patterns there. You could also look at embroidery patterns there, if you want to do something other than cross stitch.

(Although I have some very cool art deco cross stitch that my mom did, that she bought in person from a crafts store. If it wasn't for the pandemic, I'd also suggest looking through the kits at a local store that carries them, as long as it's not Hobby Lobby.)
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 7:05 PM on November 8


Crocheting is easier than knitting and more forgiving, and you can make very complicated shaped things quite easily. Even if you don’t crochet already, an afternoon with a hook and some yarn watching YouTube videos should be enough to get you going.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:22 PM on November 8 [3 favorites]


I think the Subversive Cross Stitch site will be of interest to you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


If you’d like to pick up knitting again, I recommend Tin Can Knits’ Simple Collection, which has tutorials and simple but attractive patterns that progress in skills required and difficulty. I recommend starting with the cowl pattern (Oats), then doing the Barley hat, and then doing the rest in order.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:28 PM on November 8 [4 favorites]


I bought some paint by numbers, a couple Van Goghs and some beautiful flowers. Not like the old paint by numbers. And I bought supplies to make beads out of Fimo. I might also try to make some miniature fake food to make as a gift to a Child with a dollhouse.
posted by cda at 7:29 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Spinning with a drop spindle, once you get the hang of it. This is based on observation of my partner and should be confirmed or denied by a spinner.
posted by aniola at 7:37 PM on November 8


Needle felting takes a little practice to get to the point that it can be done safely without keeping your eyes glued to it, but it's not hard to pick up and there are lots of kits.
posted by jedicus at 9:21 PM on November 8 [2 favorites]


Along the same lines as cross stitch, I just finished my first hand embroidery project. I did this kit from Jessica Long Embroidery and it turned out really well. There's an video tutorial to show you how to do everything. There are many other kit and pattern options on a Etsy. For a beginner, I think it would be tough to pay attention to the TV at the same time (I listened to podcasts), but I would imagine cross stitch would need about the same amount of attention.
posted by carolr at 9:29 PM on November 8


Shitpost Sampler may also be of interest to you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:50 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I learned crochet for this situation. It took a few hours of focused practice and watching tutorials before I could watch TV at the same time, but it's no problem now. I also liked coloring in an "adult" coloring book (images of cityscapes or gardens, etc.) with colored pencils and fine tipped pens.
posted by Red Desk at 10:01 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


I do a lot of crafts and I think cross-stitching to a pattern, maybe once you've done one to get the hang of it, is pretty mindless - you're just following along with a chart. I can easily do it while watching TV, especially small patterns with not too many colours. I would check out this subreddit, you'll see a WIDE range of stuff that people are doing, from the most Precious Moments-y to subversive samplers to huge landscapes to pop culture stuff. And posters usually name where they got the pattern so you can probably find some designers you like. I asked a question about finding interesting cross-stitch designs a few years ago here and got some awesome responses.

I also agree that crochet is easy to do while watching TV once you have learned how to do it. It's pretty forgiving, more so than knitting because you don't need to worry about dropping stitches and you can just kind of rewind back to where you went wrong. You could learn to make a "granny square" and then make a whole bunch of those and put them together into a blanket.
posted by cpatterson at 11:30 PM on November 8 [1 favorite]


Seconding needle felting - it's so fun to stab something a lot of times and end up with something cute and fluffy! I'd start with a kit just because it's a simple way in, but really, just start stabbing!
posted by london explorer girl at 3:46 AM on November 9


Colouring in. It's not so much a craft as a way to keep me from fidgeting. There are some beautiful and witty colouring books out there - I have one of New York by Abbi Jacobson from Broad City, and Secret Garden by Johanna Basford.
posted by guessthis at 4:14 AM on November 9


There's also embroidery, for which I recommend Sublime Stitching.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:11 AM on November 9


I have been cross-stitching these one-color patterns from Modern Folk Emroidery - complex enough to take some time and a bit of brain engagement, but not having to change colors makes it go much more quickly and easily for me.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:57 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


Modular origami might work for you. You make the same piece over and over - the pieces are simple and rapidly become muscle memory - and then there's a more involved assembly phase.

One sort typically makes geometric 3D models or flat patterns, another makes stacking pieces that assemble into anything.

200 sheets of paper (2x2 or 3x3 for delicate stuff, 6x6 will work but the result will be large) will keep you going for long enough to see if it's your thing.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 10:20 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


I started doing diamond painting during quarantine. They're the kits you can get at craft supply stores or specialized websites with sticky canvases and you put tiny little colored gems on them to make a sparkly picture. I found it really relaxing and mindless to do while watching TV. The pictures do tend to be pretty cheesy but you can find some that are nice landscapes or works of art.

The only caveat is to watch where you're buying them from--the first I bought from a website that I will not name took 4 months to arrive from China. If you go through Michael's or JoAnn, you can get them much quicker but the selection is pretty limited.
posted by Fuego at 11:39 AM on November 9


I can say from experience, that making dorodangos is very rewarding. If doing in your living room, just use very wide bucket or deep tray to collect all the dust/sand.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 1:19 PM on November 9 [1 favorite]


I'll second coloring. I have a cat swearing coloring book. Embroidery or cross stitch.
posted by kathrynm at 4:22 PM on November 9


Celtic cable crochet. It's cross stitch for yarn addicts.

This is the winter of trellises and lattices, ropes and braids. I'm currently doing vertical samplers with 23 or 24 stitches, approx. 30 rows long (most samplers are half double crochet background), or horizontal samplers with 34 or 35 stitches, approx. 20 to 30 rows long (depending on background stitches). Eventually these will be bordered to make a standard size, and then will be sewn together for a blanket of every post stitch, raised stitch, crochet cross stitch, and textured stitch I can find that I like.
I've done some long braided panels for blankets for people I really love. Pro tip -- use colored one-inch safety pins to mark the raw side edges so that rows join together correctly. Don't be surprised if you have to frog part of a long panel (rip it, rip it).
No deadlines. No hints beforehand. Let it be a surprise (some year in the future).

I'm getting deep into the rushes with Bonnie Barker: Contemporary Celtic Crochet and Celtic Cable Crochet. She has some online videos as well, which helped me with the Cable Stitch.

My go-to for all things Celtic cable crochet is Melissa Leapman's Indispensable Stitch Collection for Crocheters. This is the book for half double crochet backgrounds, my favorite projects. Pages 74 to 103 have so many of my handwritten instructions that I may need another copy.
posted by TrishaU at 7:09 PM on November 9


I love cross-stitching and find it so relaxing! Subversive Cross-Stitch is what got me into cross-stitch as an adult, her patterns are great.

I have also gotten some great patterns from the shop Stitched Modern.
posted by radioamy at 8:16 PM on November 9


I'll put in a rec for picking up knitting again, but specifically knitting hats. Hats can sound complicated, but I think they are even better than scarves for newbies because a) they can be knit in the round (instead of switching back and forth), and b) they're much, much faster and use much less yarn. You do have to decrease at the top for a hat, but personally I think decreases are less complicated than learning to bind off, which you've already done if you have been making scarves.

I think the following patterns are all beginner-friendly:
  • Tyson Hat: A very simple beanie. Just ribbing, then knit stitches, then decreases.
  • The 100 Stitch Slouch: Another simple beanie, but featuring a slightly different knit stitch.
  • Shear: This one has a cool pattern that looks more complicated than it is. I think it would be easier for knitters who have a good sense of what "knit" vs "purl" stitches look like on the needle, since that makes it easier to follow the pattern.

posted by catabananza at 8:52 PM on November 9


I just ordered a miniature house for the same reason.
posted by monologish at 8:59 AM on November 11


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