Beautiful Burlap

I need a hobby. A creative hobby. I am feeling the “desire to be a clothing designer or an artist (one who doesn’t draw or paint or sew)” to quote Heidi Julavits in The Folded Clock: A Diary.

Cover of The Origami HomeThe library seems the logical place to look for inspiration to set me on my true creative path. But I don’t think just taking books home and being daunted by them will do it.

The Origami Home – exquisite but, honestly, the instructions. “Fold the left, right and lower edges in. At the same time, fold in the corners (a).” At the same time? Are you joking me?

So no to origami miniature design furniture.

Cover for Burlap BoutiqueBurlap could be the answer to my hobby needs. Beautiful Burlap: Cute Accessories to Create and Stitch and Burlap Boutique: Charming Accent Wreaths and Home Decor. ‘Cute’ and ‘charming’ – a bit off-putting, but my front door is worryingly bereft of an accent wreath and burlap sounds more forgiving than origami paper. Also it is a very pleasing word. Burlap. Much better than Hessian. Or Sacking. Are they the same thing? On to the For Later shelf they go.

Cover of Viktor Wynd's Cabinet of WondersA recent mover from the For Later List to the In Progress shelf provides some hope that I can become creative with very little effort. Viktor Wynd’s Cabinet of Wonders has thrilling chapters such as “The Collector as Artist”, and its even better companion “On the Joys of Mess”. Apparently finding and installing is as creative as actually making.

According to good old Viktor, “Collecting as an art form in in its own right is rarely given much thought.” So endless fossicking through every second-hand shop that presents itself is creative. Who knew?

I’m still going to investigate the burlap though.

Mainly manly crafts

Cover of The Complete Illustrated Guide to woodworkingEvery now and then, we get a comment that our Craft book collection contains endless knitting, crochet, felting, and sewing books, and very few manly crafts or hobbies.

When thinking of manly crafts or hobbies I immediately think of woodwork and metalwork, projects such as upholstery maybe, or landscaping, making furniture etc. Plenty of men do jewellery making, toy making or perhaps even whittling. There’s drawing and painting, sculpture, making models, flower arranging. You will be pleased to know that we cater for all these interests and that the dominance of the so called womanly crafts is not as great as it may seem.

Cover of The Knitting Man(ual)You will of course find many titles in the craft section but other parts of the library also include many crafty/hobby topics:

Cover of Kiwi collectorsIn the craft section you will find subjects including toy making, pyrography, and concrete crafts to name a few, and or course plenty of knitting and needle work – and remember that our friendly staff are always be able to help out.

Perhaps this book could also be inspiring: Kiwi collectors : curious and unusual Kiwi hobbies

Manly crafts

Does craftingSearch catalogue seems synonymous with women, or am I jaundiced by the amount of knitting/crochet/beading/embroidery/cross-stitch books that I select for the library? Not that I am complaining, as I do love all these books, but every now and then I get a plaintive cry from a male library user – “Where are the crafting books for men?”

With all the hundreds – and possibly thousands – of craft books that are published each year I see very few designed specifically for men, but even as I am writing this I’m thinking “What is men’s craft?”

Is it woodworking or woodturning, making wooden toys, crafting things out of metal, or leather, or making gadgets … Plenty of craft is also genderless such as jewellery making, pottery, or perhaps floristry, and apparently plenty of men knit.

Search catalogueMaybe when we think of men, it’s more along the lines of hobbies –building, models, creating things for the backyard, furniture making or garden adornment?

Do men craft to create things that are useful, as opposed to women’s craft which is more about making life more attractive?   These are big questions!

If men have UFOs I suspect they take up a bit more room than my knitting or unfinished embroidery, perhaps the shed is essential then, or at least the building of it could keep a man happily occupied for a long while?

Fun is … unravelling!

Cover of Knitty GrittyFor years it seemed to me that my nan sat in front of the television watching countless episodes of Coronation Street knitting what seemed like never-ending, but progressively larger versions of the same bottle green sweater for her 10 grandchilden who all attended the same local schools.

Typically, as she and my other grandma both kept us well provided with woollen garments, I never felt the need to learn.  Not saying she didn’t try but I wasn’t exactly a willing pupil!

My New Year’s resolution in 2011 was finding pastimes to keep me occupied and away from the television.  Well, I was still in the same room as the TV, but certainly couldn’t concentrate on viewing whilst getting to grips with a new interest.  A variety of short-burst ‘enthusiasms’ ensued and then a colleague suggested I try my hand at knitting.

I thought I would start with a scarf – mistakes occurred but the end result was snaffled by my  niece so I consoled myself that it obviously wasn’t too shabby an effort. Confidence at high levels I then attempted a sweater…  thank goodness for literature that explains how to correct mistakes.  My new hobby appears to be UNRAVELLING on a major scale.  The hours of fun I have had!!

Fortunately I have located both library books and magazines devoted to knitting  on the subject to assist me through this steep learning curve.  I have also discovered some interesting links in the library’s handicrafts page.

What New Year’s resolutions do you propose making in 2012?

I’ve stopped reading, what can I do?

coverIn times of stress I stop reading.  I have the concentration span of a gnat.  Books I have reserved and coveted for a long time are languishing by my bed.  I will return them to be read by someone more deserving.

What I can manage however are magazines – nothing too serious, mind you.  I fill my head with tittle tattle and meaningless fluff that satisfies my desire to read but not think.  The library of course has a huge variety of magazines to satisfy all tastes, including mine, thank goodness.

Another past-time  guaranteed to sooth my unquiet mind and to stop all those jobs being done around the house is crosswords.  When I have the urge to cheat (which of course is not often…)  our library webpages  thankfully have an invaluable  link to various crossword solving resources.

Our games pages and hobbies page list other suggestions for tired brains and for a times when books feel a bit overtaxing.