Thursday, November 14, 2013

Winter Crafting

Learning a new craft is wonderful any time of year, but especially in fall and winter when many find themselves sequestered inside from the elements. The amazing thing is, It seems the lost arts of quilting, sewing, woodworking, and the like aren’t so “lost” anymore. Things once associated with grandparents are now relevant as a way of spending free time or even making money by selling on websites like Etsy or at a local farmer’s market. People everywhere are more willing to buy something made by someone from their neighborhood rather than ordering it online or buying it at an anonymous big box store. And it’s original!

There are many layers to the question of why crafting has seen such resurgence in the past decade. Part may stem from genuine economic need. Dealing with the past economic downturn, people were looking for a way to make their own household products or clothes, or perhaps they were hoping to sell these handmade objects for a little extra cash. This has definitely been aided by the accessibility of the internet. The monstrosity that is the world wide web has created a community of people who want to do for themselves, and use others’ posts and ideas for launching points of their own. Websites like Pinterest have become increasingly popular and sites like Craftsy and Instructables actually give online classes or tutorials for those interested in learning a new craft or completing a DIY project. BPL has a page dedicated to local classes and supply stores around town to also help the burgeoning crafter.

Since the stigma of homemade clothes not being “cool” has given way to homemade clothes actually being “hip” and an expression of individuality, crafting has a whole new face for the younger generation. Television shows like Project Runway have exposed the behind-the-scenes of fashion design and prompted watchers to create clothing items of their own. Sewing machine sales are on the rise and wonderful websites like Knitty and Crochetme are online havens for the textile-inclined.

Perhaps there’s also the urge to know simply how to hem a pair of pants or embroider a handkerchief like the generations who came before when items weren’t as readily store-bought. Learning that craft gives the creator a feeling of being self-sufficient, even if that means making a bookshelf, or a hat for a nephew, or just learning how to knit and purl. Of course, there is a subtle beauty to the patience that crafting demands. Taking up a pair of knitting needles or learning how to bead can be a respite from the busy times we live in and gives many a sense of peace.  


You know what’s better than making jewelry or t-shirt quilt? Visiting your local library. Not only do they have the resources one can check out and take home to learn whatever craft your heart desires, but the librarians themselves are sometimes a valuable resource for the subject. Come visit the Birmingham Public Library’s Central branch and see the latest crafting display. Here are some amazing titles currently available:

Get a Hobby! – Tina Barseghian

Craft-a-Day – Sarah Goldschadt


 – Kathreen Ricketson

Art of Seamless Knitting – Simona Merchant-Dest and Faina Goberstein


Submitted by Rachel Joiner
Arts, Literature, Sports
Central Library

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