Crafty Manolo » Quickie Question: What is Your Craft?




Quickie Question: What is Your Craft?

By Twistie


Crafting can quickly become a way of life. I know it certainly did for me! The thing is, there are literally thousands of possibilities when it comes to crafts. One may not speak to you, but chances are there’s another that gets right up on your emotional table and does the dance of the seven veils for you.

Sure, the Lady of Shallot up there is half sick of shadows, and apparently her tapestry work. I feel her. I do. I’ve tried crafts that didn’t float my boat at all. Me and embroidery? Not a happy match. I can’t make a French knot. It’s embarrassing. Knitting and crochet are closer for me, but I’m not good at keeping the right tension in the yarn.

Ah, but when I found bobbin lace, that was the moment when the crafting world really opened up for me. I’d discovered the siren song I’d been searching for all those years.

I still do other crafts. I dabble in a wide variety of handwork, and I’m always eager to learn about another. What I keep coming back to, though, is my pillow and bobbins. It reminds me of the way that my mother did all sorts of needlework but kept returning to her first love of needlepoint. A good friend of mine found her calling in making hand beaded jewelry. Another does historic costuming. I have a brother who’s a dab hand at chainmail.

So what is the craft that speaks most strongly to your heart? What craft do you make or collect that defines you? Is there something you haven’t done but long to try out? Tell me all about it!









43 Responses to “Quickie Question: What is Your Craft?”




  1. Valerie in San Diego Says:

    Recently I’ve been all about the knitting, but other crafts that I enjoy are crochet, soap-making, candle-molding, tie-dye, and drawing mazes. I’d like to get back into polymer clay, and one thing I’d like to learn is screen printing!

    Excited to follow this new blog!




  2. Twistie Says:

    @Valerie in San Diego: And I’m excited to see you here! Wow. You do a lot of interesting crafts. I’ll do my best to give you some fun new projects and inspiration for new obsessions.




  3. Theresa Says:

    Knitting, crochet (but no ponchos), sewing, Tunisian crochet, and some spinning, dyeing and cross stitch. :-) Yay for a crafty Manolo blog!




  4. La Petite Acadienne Says:

    My craft attempts have been rather half-hearted. I’ve knitted a few hats and scarves, have done a bit of sewing, but it was all slow and painstaking. I’ve tried a few other things, but nothing has hit me with that “click” that ignited a passion. I’m pondering trying my hand at quilting. Who knows, maybe it’ll be the thing that clicks for me.

    My husband, on the other hand, does woodcarving, bone carving and stone carving. I admire his skill.




  5. Twistie Says:

    @Theresa: Yay for you coming and commenting already! I don’t crochet ponchos, either. I have, however, tried my hand at spinning (drop spindle) and found that pretty fun. Who knows? I may try it again one day.

    @La Petite Acadienne: So delighted to see you here, dear! You know, I’ve got an article on quilting in the planning stages as we speak, so you never know. I bow to your husband. Carving is not an easy thing to do.




  6. SarahC Says:

    Up until 6 months ago I would have said that my go to craft was Hardanger embroidery. However, I think it may have been replaced at the core of my repertoire by quilting. When I’m feeling stressed I tend to knit up something pretty basic like a ribbed scarf because I find the repetition mildly hypnotic.

    Over the years I have dabbled in cross-stitch (would not presently touch that one with a ten foot pole), embroidery, beading and canvas work. Become pretty proficient at tatting and knitting and attempted to learn bobbin lace. I have tried to take up crocheting a couple of times but just can’t do anything beyond a basic chain stitch.

    I’m thrilled to see Manolo branching off into crafts and plan on sending the link to my sister-in-law, another crafty person.




  7. Twistie Says:

    @SarahC: I know just what you mean about the mildly hypnotic aspect of repetitive fiberwork. It’s amazingly relaxing, isn’t it? Hardanger is lovely.

    I did cross stitch for a sum total of about five weeks at one point in my life. I was cast in the title role of a production of The Heiress, and one of the plot points is that Catherine – my character – was constantly working on samplers. We decided that since I already knew how to do the cross stitch, I could do that and act at the same time. It worked. But after closing night, I’ve never felt compelled to take it up again. On the other hand, I can definitely appreciate a nicely done piece of cross stitch.




  8. Cami Says:

    Knitting floats my crafty boat! Totally….. I’d like to learn needlepoint, and I like photography (does that count as a craft? I say yes.) and cross-stitch is also relaxing.

    Knitting a plain ol’ sock for my husband right now, and it is hypnotic for me…




  9. Twistie Says:

    @Cami: I see no reason to refuse photography entry into the crafts world. It’s certainly been used as a material in many crafts. (giggles) I love the idea of your husband wearing hypnotic socks.




  10. Kimmer Says:

    I used to do a lot of cross stitch, then scrapbooking. Now I make one digital photo album per year (THE Christmas present for the grandparents), and I sew. I do a little quilting, I like making bags, and clothes for my two daughters. I’ve made a couple blankets, pillowcases, and hats for charity, but I’s like to find more outlets for that. I’d like to get into knitting, but it’s too daunting for me to think about these days.




  11. Mark Says:

    I’ve been bookbinding for about three years. Combining paper, leather and imagination is most satisfying. Plus, I love glue!




  12. Nariya Says:

    Crochet. It’s so soothing to me. I generally make small projects, but it de-stresses me immensely!




  13. Impkitti Says:

    I dabble in all The Arts Thready , but always return to my best love – bobbin lace. It seems it always has something new to challenge me.




  14. Sarah F Says:

    Well, I’m a fiber fanatic. I love knitting, and I am itching to take up spinning and weaving. I took a class in spinning with a wheel and loved it- but the darn things are expensive, so I’m saving up for that. The knitting, though, is here to stay. I’ve knitted everything from washcloths to baby sweaters to gloves I can actually use, and several felted bags. I also love embroidery when the mood takes me- I’ve got a set of flour-sack tea towels I’ve been working on.

    My mother recently picked up her crochet hooks after 20 years and has taken off with them. It’s kind of funny- she taught me to crochet 30 years ago, and I can’t stand it. The one hook/needle thing is so irritating to me. I tried to teach her to knit a few years ago and after 20 rows, three very big holes she did not know how she created, and twice as many stitches on the needle as she started with, she gave up, saying it just wasn’t for her! So, to each her own!




  15. Twistie Says:

    @Kimmer: I’m getting tired just reading about all your crafting outlets! Fabulous to have you here.

    @Mark: As a lifelong biblioholic, I think I may love you. Also? Glue can be fun, as long as you make sure it isn’t too much fun, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

    @Nariya: I so hear you. There are few things as relaxing as getting to that zen zone in a repetitive craft form.

    @Impkitti: A fellow bobbin tosser! Welcome to my sibling in threadiness!




  16. Mary (of DOOM) Says:

    Cross stitch is the one for me! I absolutely love it. If I could quit my job and spend my days doing cross stitch, I would be a happy camper. Plus it would enable me to actually have a prayer of getting through all the things I have in my cross-stitch stash…

    Also, I don’t just stick to the kind of cross stitch that only has Xs…I’m working on a sampler right now for my sister that has all manner of crazy stitches in it. And I also love the kind of cross stitch that has beads and sparkles and other shiny things to go with it. SPARKLY.




  17. Twistie Says:

    @SarahF: Truly to each their own! Best of luck with saving up for that spinning wheel. I’ll keep my eyes open for a good sale to point you at.

    @Mary (of DOOM): That may, incidentally, be my favorite handle ever. Sparkly, shiny, beaded cross stitch sounds like fun. I know how excited I was when I discovered I could make my bobbin lace with copper wire and shiny beads. Yes, shiny makes many things better.




  18. Jane H. Says:

    After many years of counted cross-stitch and Hardanger embroidery, my eyes began to give out. I’ve moved on to scrapbooks and card making. A dabble in quilting was just that – a dabble. I had given away most of my stitching as gifts so it was nice after my mother passed away to have some of my pieces back – I think of her when I look at them.




  19. cthulhulovesme Says:

    I’m a bit all over.

    I’m a fine artist with concentrations in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture, so there’s that lot, but I also do a fair amount of fiber work. I sew, knit, spin and dye my own yarn, and occasionally make attempts at crochet. Last night I finished knitting a pair of colorwork mittens and spinning two skeins of accursed Romney wool. Tonight… who knows?

    I have yet to meet a craft I don’t like, to be honest.




  20. Twistie Says:

    @JaneH: Yeah, I got a couple things back when my mother died… and a couple more when my father died. Bummer of a way to get things back, but as you say they bring back a lot of good memories.

    @cthululovesme: Speaking of awesome handles! It looks as though it will be a challenge to introduce you to something you’re not already doing. I stand ready to take up that challenge.




  21. Cathouse Blues Says:

    If it involves handwork and a needle (but not a hook, I’m hopeless) I’m on it. I even have a very small side design business for cross stitch. And I’ve always considered my baking a craft!




  22. Cathouse Blues Says:

    @Mary (of DOOM): One of my current BAPs is a Quaker sampler, so I feel you on the challenge of working different stitches. And like an idiot I’m working it on 32-ct linen with silk floss. Yes, I’m that much a masochist apparently.

    @Twiste: You may not care, but ManoloCrafty is now an official Live Journal feed…




  23. Babs Says:

    I am a knitter and crocheter and paper crafter. I am going to try my first scrapbook with my pics from my most recent vacation.

    I love being creative and making things. :)

    Very excited about the new blog!




  24. Twistie Says:

    @Cathouse Blues: Oh honey,if you want to see true craftsmanship from my hands, it’s all in the baking! Also you certainly are a masochist, but then aren’t most of us? And I think being fed by LiveJournal is a cool idea. What? Wait a minute… it’s not peeling me grapes and bringing me fresh lasagna? Sniffle.

    @Babs: So good to have you here! I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m excited, too.




  25. ZaftigWendy Says:

    I do primarily knitting (and have a few designs for sale on Ravelry, where I’m also ZaftigWendy), but I also crochet, spin, tat, cross-stitch, do crewelwork, and sew.

    I also bake artisan bread, which feels crafty to me…




  26. Neen Says:

    I did cross stitch for years – still have a few unfinished projects in a box somewhere that I keep meaning to get to. These days it’s papercrafts, card making, altered books and various mixed media projects. Oh, and turning fake fruit and vegetables into creatures.




  27. Suze Says:

    I must confess…I’m a bit of a crafts slut. I try lots of different things and never fully commit. ;)

    But seriously, I love all kinds of crafts and enjoy learning new things. Sketching, painting, knitting, beading, cooking, scrapbooking, cross stitch, etc., etc. Photography (which may be more artsy than craftsy) is the thing I’m most faithful to. My camera goes with me everywhere – the world is just so interesting through a lens.

    I actually just started to work on making felt ornaments for the holidays. My grandma was uber-crafty and I thought (as the only crafty grandchild) that I should take up the reins. Despite being not very good at sewing! LOL I also knit a little bit, but just super simple scarves and such that keep my hands busy while I’m watching TV.




  28. Twistie Says:

    @Zaftig Wendy: I’ll definitely have to head over to Ravelry and check out your designs. Oh, and if bread isn’t crafty I don’t know of any form of cooking that is… unless it’s decorated pastry. Mmm… now I’m hungry.

    @Neen: Okay, I want to see your fake fruit and veggie creatures. I mean I really, really, REALLY want to see them.

    @Suze: You have no idea how many times I’ve longed for a tee shirt that says ‘A Bit of a Crafts Slut,’ but nobody ever made one. Humph.




  29. ZaftigWendy Says:

    I have more designs, but have been too busy (read “lazy”) to get them up for sale…




  30. Monica the Tiara Chick Says:

    Beads. Beads, beads, beads. 2011 will be 19 years since the day I idly picked up a blue and gold bead in a little shop in London and my world shifted. Now I make fabulous things with which to adorn oneself as well as teach beginning wire wrapping in a local bead shop. I can proudly claim that over the last 8 years I have taught a few hundred people how to git that loop made.

    I can’t say that I want to try anything else because that would mean making room for more materials next to the bead storage! However, I’m constantly drawn to vintage or luxury fabrics, pretty ribbons, feathers…. So who knows?




  31. Rose Red Says:

    I love to knit and crochet – mostly knitting though. And to bake! And I love shoes (am a long time reader of the Manolo). I don’t have so much crafting time any more, with a little person, but one of my monthly goals to knit at least a few stitches every day, because it never fails to relax me. So pleased to see Crafty Manolo added to the Manolo suite.




  32. TeleriB Says:

    I’m a historical re-enactor, so I’ve gotten acquainted with a few crafts but usually only indulge when I need a new (something). Tablet weaving, braiding and lucet, bookbinding, calligraphy, sewing, embroidery, and reaaally basic leatherworking. I want to make a pair of turnshoes someday, too.

    Beaded necklaces are something I’ve started to do for for the heck of it, rather than as part of my kit.




  33. dinazad Says:

    For me it’s the material (and project) at hand which defines the craft I’m going to obsess about for the next few months. Necklace from buttonhole-stitch-covered washers? Sure. Sewing aprons from old blouses and hence developing a weird fascination with ruffles? That’s me. Last week I bought a new (second-hand) dining table. Most of my tablecloths are just a tad too small for it. I foresee wide, crocheted lace borders on my mind (and hopefully on the tablecloths) during the next few months. Once the crochet borders are over, I might take up bobbin lace. I’ve already assembled books and materials. Polymer clay beads also seem quite enticing, though…
    Apart from that I weave, crochet, knit, embroider, make French-beaded flowers and so on and so forth. Whatever takes my fancy.




  34. Twistie Says:

    @Monica the Tiara Chick: Boy do I recognize that random moment that leads to a lifetime obsession! In my case it was an ad in the back of Threads magazine that said ‘Learn to make bobbin lace’ that sealed my fate. I thought it sounded so esoteric that I just had to try it out.

    @Rose Red: Here’s to more crafting time! Also, stay tuned because I intend to do some articles on crafting with kids to help bring up the next generation right.

    @TeleriB: Ain’t historical reenactment grand for learning crafts? I actually bought a set of weaving tablets once, but I’ve never tried them out. Must do that sometime soon. Oh, and when you do those shoes, I want to hear about how it goes.

    @dinizad: You sound like a real Renaissance crafter! So many fun projects! I adore bobbin lace, as I believe I may already have mentioned, and polymer clay can be no end of fun. I’ve got a couple of my own polymer beads on bobbin spangles.




  35. Margot Silk Forrest Says:

    I do shoes! Or, to be precise, I re-do them. I paint them, glitter them, add feathers, ruffles, beads, trim of all sorts, and generally have a blast! The secret is to use paints that are made to stick to leather (and manmade leather) and to attach the embellishments in ways that will keep them attached. I stitch them on with very strong thread and a leather needle, or use the right glue for the two surfaces I’m working with. I put new projects on my blog every week at http://glittersweatshop.typepad.com and have lots of free how-to info and examples on my website. Go for it!!
    P.S. You can do the same thing to purses.




  36. Twistie Says:

    @Margot Silk Forrest: Wow! Those are really something.

    Hey everybody, go check out Margot’s blog. It’s very fun.




  37. Genevieve Says:

    Let’s see, photography, some crocheting, and, my true favorite, re-doing junk shop furniture… ok, any furniture. It started with a cheap IKEA wine rack I got from a friend when he was moving that was totally unfinished. . . and then a junk shop book case . . . and well, onward from there. :) I love being able to customize my own furniture–and you find some good quality stuff at second hand shops, just kind of beat up.




  38. Margo Anderson Says:

    I’ve been embroidering for almost 50 years, since I was four. I’ve also done leatherwork, including making shoes and leather corsets, beadwork, wirework jewelry and decorative items, ceramics, spinning with a drop spindle, hand painting furniture, floral arranging, corn husk dolls, sculpting in polymer clay and paperclay, making pomanders, dying fabrics with various decorative techniques, and who knows what else. I’m currently learning to crochet, and hope to get beyond the “knit a square” stage. But my preferred craft remains sewing and making patterns for historical clothing.




  39. Twistie Says:

    @Genevieve: I love the sound of your furniture rehabilitating. Do you just generally spiff them up or do you add more surprising decorative touches?

    @Margo Anderson: I figured we’d see you here soon! I look forward to having many an exhilarating conversation with you about various and sundry techniques. Seriously, it looks like you’ve tried even more than I have!




  40. Genevieve Says:

    Twistie: Depends. My bookshelves and wine rack were just stained and waxed–they both had such lovely grains that I left as is. BUT I am always on the look out for interesting decorative bits to add. I’d like to do something to the bookshelves beyond the re-finish, but I just haven’t seen that *thing* yet that I want to do. . . My main focus at first,since I haven’t been doing this very long, is to stain or paint everything so that it looks perfect! (I did stage crew in school, and set construction, so I kinda knew what I was doing . . . but you know! haha)

    Right now, I’m concentrating on a mobile–I made a whole bunch of origami cranes out of some lovely paper, and I’ve got some thin dowels. I’m going to paint the dowels and then build up the mobile from there. I’ve got really high ceilings, with exposed pipes, so I’ve got a lot of room to play around with the structure of this thing.




  41. Bretta Says:

    I am delighted to follow you into crafts.
    I am returning to knitting after a long hiatus… I like reusing wool from second hand sweaters, and (at the moment) hope to try spinning and weaving.




  42. Twistie Says:

    @Bretta: I’m delighted to have you follow me into crafts! I love that you’re working sustainability into your work.




  43. RoseCampion Says:

    I’m primarily a knitter, but I also crochet, mostly afghans. I can also sew, though I haven’t done a lot of that since we moved and I have no dedicated sewing area anymore. I can also quilt, but if I appraise myself honestly, I’m not very good at it. I’m sloppy about seam allowances and my corners don’t meet up well.













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