Inspired by the traditional use of fiber-craft to provide safety and comfort, California-based artist Laurel Roth Hope (who is a former park ranger and conservationist) has been crocheting small suits for urban pigeons that disguise them as extinct birds, thereby (visually) re-creating biodiversity and placing a soothing "cozy" on environmental fears. [more inside]
In 2011 a group of 40 women known as The Materialistics exhibited a collection of their art work called "The Grand Tour" at the Customs House in South Shields, England. "The Grand Tour" comprised 50 pieces of art work and it took The Materialistics a year to create them. What made this collection remarkable was the medium used to create these art works: they were not painted or sculpted, but knitted, crocheted, and embroidered. Through needlework, The Materialistics had recreated 50 well-known works of art in painstaking detail: Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, Edvard Munch's The Scream, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers, Pablo Picasso's Woman in Garden, Rembrandt's self-portrait, Dante Gabriel's Rosetti's Daydream, Gustav Klimt's The Kiss, and many more. [more inside]
If you’re interested in vintage knitting and crochet patterns, you might like to check out Re Knitting, the blog of a retired West Yorkshire woman named Barbara who for the past two years has been helping to sort and catalogue the U.K. Knitting and Crochet Guild’s collection of magazines, pattern booklets, pattern leaflets and other publications. Barbara has posted about some of her finds among this collection, which are sometimes drool-worthy, sometimes hilarious, and always interesting. She’s come across such evocative knitting artifacts as: patterns for delicately crocheted WWI-era patriotic tea cosies and milk jug covers, the WWII-era official guide to knitting for the army, instructions for crocheting your own cloché out of paper, patterns for very sexsai 1930’s bathing suits and very mod Mary Quant sweaters, patterns for sweaters commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 Jubilee celebration, and patterns documenting Roger Moore’s pre-James Bond career as a knitwear model.
If you’re looking for a way to carry your laptop about, want to protect it from scratches, or just hope to make the fact that you’re carrying a brand-new laptop slightly less obvious to shifty-eyed individuals who seem to be overtaking you on a deserted, dark street, and you have been disheartened by the cost and ugliness of the laptop cases and sleeves on the market, take heart. You can make a laptop case or sleeve that will not only protect your computer but will proclaim your individuality and style. Like yoga? Make a case out of your yoga mat. Love to travel? Use a vintage suitcase. If you’re a Jim Henson fan, make a Furry Monster case (but just don’t keep your computer under your bed at night because your aging parents are already terribly tired of running down to your basement lair every time you have a nightmare). [more inside]
The best social network you've (probably) never heard of is one-five-hundredth the size of Facebook. It has no video chat feature, it doesn't let you check in to your favorite restaurant, and there are no games. The company that runs it has just four employees, one of whom is responsible for programming the entire operation. It has never taken any venture capital money and has no plans to go public. Despite these apparent shortcomings, the site's members absolutely adore it. They consider it a key part of their social lives, and they use it to forge deeper connections with strangers—and share more about themselves—than you're likely to see elsewhere online.Why Ravelry is such a great community and social network. Prev
Think you love to crochet? I can guarantee you’re not a patch on Polish-born New York artist Agata Oleksiak, now known as Olek. Olek has covered everything in her apartment with its own custom-made crocheted sweater, and a installation of those items is on display at the Christopher Henry Gallery in Nolita until May 28. She’s also done people, bicycles, cars, windows in abandoned buildings, the bull on Wall Street, and pretty much anything else that would stay still long enough. She keeps track of her crocheting time by counting the number of movies she watches while making an item. I notice she uses variegated acrylic, which is the cheapest yarn on the market. I always wondered who was still buying that "ugly afghan" yarn.
Crafting can be great. But beware: crafting can also go spectacularly wrong. Fortunately for the benefit of those of us who might become so proud of having made something, anything, all by ourselves, that we are oblivious that the result is an aesthetic travesty, there are websites making a valiant attempt to document the legion of ways in which crafting can get totally out of hand. Before you pick up those needles or scissors or fire up the kiln or soldering iron, check out: Glitter Gone Bad; Handmade Gone Wrong; What Not To Craft, Homemade Hilarity; and Kraftomatic. The sturdy souls at CraftFail (previously) deserve special credit for documenting their own crafting mishaps, and Regretsy (also previously) and Etsy WTF will help you choose wisely from among Etsy’s hand-crafted wares. [more inside]
Crafters may look like a close-knit group, but the reality is that there are armed camps within crafting. Knitters and crocheters brandish their respective tools and claim their craft is easier to learn or more versatile, while those who are bistitchual remain determinedly on the fence. For the uninitiated/uncrafty, here’s an explanation of the difference between the two. “Wooly Bullies” [sic], a documentary, explores the animus between the Needles and the Hooks. When Sandi Wiseheart of Knitting Daily dares to mention the “c” word, she gets many comments from knitting readers who, while stressing that they have nothing against crochet, just don’t want to see it in their
backyard magazine. When Kim Werker, editor of Interweave Crochet, tries to talk to the Knitting Daily crowd about crocheting she gets even more negative feedback. Part of the problem seems to be that while knitters contend with the “old lady’s pastime” stereotype, crocheters are up against the much more negative “granny square and toilet paper cosy” stigma. [shakes head in sorrow] Crafters, can’t we all just get along? and make stuff?
Does your linen closet runneth over? Yes, you say, you have a stack of towels you regularly use in the bathroom and for swan origami, but you have others that are getting worn. You have tablecloths and aprons you never use, your dish towels seem to breed in their drawer, and you have pillowcases which have outlasted their matching sheets, king-sized bed sheets for the bed your ex took when you split, and your linen closet contains a selection of linens that are faded or torn or leftover from former decorating colour schemes. What are you to do with them? [more inside]
Audio visual technology changes so fast that if you’re of a certain age you’ve been left holding the bag of cassettes, VHS tapes and vinyl records. What will you do with these AV artifacts if you no longer want to play them? Have no fear; you can have lots of crafty fun with your real audio. You can make a cassette tape mini journal, a cassette wallet or cassette coin purse, or a mini cassette lamp. If you’re into melting stuff, you can make a sculpture, such as this skeleton, from the plastic. The tape can be crocheted or knitted into items like totes, evening bags, Barbie halter dresses, or baby booties. [more inside]
Christmas is coming, but while the goose may be getting fat, your wallet is not. And you’re dreaming of a green Christmas. How, you ask, can one decorate a home economically and with consideration for the environment? This depends on what you’ve got sitting around the house already. Do you have lots of old Christmas cards that always seemed too pretty to throw away? Use them to make a star or two, tree ornaments, angels, gift boxes, a basket, a wreath or a small tree. [more inside]
While you may not be the shoe hoarder some people are, you have shoes in your closet you never wear and you'd like to know what to do with them. Are they just boring? In that case you could just experiment with new ways to lace them, or find a way to make them light up when you walk into a room. Or you could draw on the shoes with markers or sharpies. You could also paint them, going with the theme of your choice: Art Nouveau, Picasso, Day of the Dead, or any of the ideas here. You could cut motifs from fabric and glue them on to your lace-ups, cover your flats with new fabric, bling up a pair of strappy shoes with glitter, or embellish your flip-flops with some yarn. Is the old upper worn out? Knit or crochet a new one. Want to get where you're going faster? Make custom roller skates, or modify your bicycle. Do your shoes hurt your feet? Put them on your face instead as a wrestling mask, or turn them into an iPod case. Your shoes could also become a birdhouse, a planter, a centrepiece, or an integral part of a coat rack, bookends or leg lamp. If you're really not up to crafting, here are 11 non-crafty ways to recycle old shoes. But what fun is that?!?
Ravelry is a knit and crochet community that my wife tells me is stirring up a lot of excitement lately. I'm not a knitter but I was impressed by the screenshot tour and the handy "check your place in line" tool.
The Top 10 Geekiest Yarn Creations If you've ever felt knitting was in danger of getting too sexy these days, the people at Threadbanger have provided an antidote. They've compiled a list of the ten geekiest projects on the net, which include an Atari 2600 system (on which you will never max your Pac-Man score), a knitted Hogwarts (though it appears to actually be crocheted and needlepointed), and a scrollbar scarf. And if anyone wants a crocheted yoda hat and matching light sabre, I am not taking orders.