March is National Craft Month

Posted March 21, 2011, at 5 p.m.

I’m a little behind on this one, but March is National Craft Month. I’m not entirely certain who selected March as the month to binge on craft projects, but it strikes me as the right time, now that the end-of-winter-blahs are upon us. What better way to divert your attention from oozing mud, potholes and dirt-spattered, frozen snowbanks than to indulge your senses in fabric, yarn, sequins, beads, paper and maybe even glitter glue.

I am keeping the craft fires burning at home by concentrating on a sweater I am knitting using Harris tweed yarn. It’s slow going, but I can boast that the back and one of the front pieces are done, and I am half done with the second front piece. The yarn is rough, and though it knits up beautifully, it’s not as friendly to the hand as merino or alpaca. I am using a sweater pattern from one of my 1980s vintage McCall’s Needlework magazines. The sweater’s most outstanding feature is a bold collar and extra-wide knit 1, purl 1 ribbing at the bottom edges.

Months ago I started an embroidery featuring mermaids. It languishes in my living room gathering dust on a table right where I left it weeks ago. Perhaps as the days lengthen, I will be inspired to pick it up and see what it wants me to do to it. Some things just can’t be planned — they have to evolve — I think this piece is waiting for the return of warmer days and green grass.

The Internet is teeming with things you can do to indulge your interest in craft — try Googling “crochet-along” or “knit-along” to discover websites that feature such projects that dozens of others in the United States and the world are doing at the same time. Or visit http://www.redheart.com to join its crochet-along — a sampler throw. Each square in the throw is done in a different stitch, which gives the opportunity to learn new techniques as the afghan grows.

The local public library or your own personal book shelves are good places to visit before starting craft projects. Perhaps in the pages of books you will find the inspiration to build a kite, make a cloth doll or animal, or become obsessed by what wonderful things you can make with beads. Or stop by your local fabric store, stroll the aisles and select fabric to make easy, quick projects such as pillows to brighten a room, an apron, cloth grocery bags, a valance for a bare window or a tablecloth. It might be prudent to stock up on cotton because, according to a spot on a national news broadcast recently, the cost of cotton and goods made from it — such as fabric — is spiraling upward. Better to be overstashed than suffer cloth sticker shock later on.

One of my favorite craft materials is cardstock. I collect photographs I have taken and whenever I need a card for a birthday or other special occasion, I select a photo, fix it to cardstock with sticky photo corners, use stamping techniques to add a message and other embellishments, and off it goes into the mail.

Make journals by folding plain white printer paper in half, insert the folded pages into a manila file folder — even a recycled one — cut it with scissors to fit the pages and use dental floss or embroidery thread to stitch the pages in place. Cut items from newspapers and magazines to glue in collage fashion to front and back, and suddenly you have a special journal where you can jot your thoughts, make lists of bird sightings, or fill with family news to send to a loved who lives far away.

No matter where you turn for inspiration for craft projects, the best place is always inside your own head. Everyone has craft materials on hand, including paper, or old clothing that can be made into something else, such as stuffed toys, tote bags, placemats and potholders, and yarn, thread and fabric.

You don’t necessarily need special equipment or sewing machines to do craft projects. Try stitching by hand, or using things you have in your kitchen, such as muffin tins for sorting beads. Basically, all you need to craft things is the desire to begin.

So what are you waiting for? Get crafting!

Snippets

Spring craft course offerings at SAD 22 Adult Education include a penny rug applique class beginning 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 23; hand towel applique 6-8:30 p.m. Monday, April 11; Mommy and Me Easter cards 5:30-7:30 p.m. Monday, April 11; springtime card workshop 6-8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5; Mommy and Me springtime cards 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19. For more information, call 862-6422.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or e-mail ahamlin@bangordailynews.com.

ahamlin@bangordailynews.net

990-8153.

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