However much you want to, there is no denying the fact that somehow we are already in November and NCEA exams are approaching. Now, I’m sure that as regular and devoted Teen Blog readers you have already read through our excellent blog post of study hacks to get you prepared for the exam season. The tip from this post I want to bring your attention to is #4: Take breaks, where we’ve suggested that you use your breaks from study to get a rest away from screens or do an activity that you enjoy.
But what activity will be enjoyable enough to fill in that fifteen minute study break, give you a sense of satisfaction, and get your eyes away from those ever-dreaded screens?
Luckily for you, I am here to plug a favourite screen-free activity of my own, to give you some inspiration, and to encourage your creativity!
So let’s get into the wonderful world of yarn-based crafts!
There are many crafty options out there for you. From knitting, to crochet, to embroidery or cross-stitch, the possibilities abound! But those four crafts I named are the ones I’m going to be talking about. And I’ve even found you some fantastic examples of fun things to make, all made by librarians!
For more excellent examples and ideas, go have a re-read of our Sit ‘n’ Knit post, have a look at the wonderful creations featured there, and let yourself daydream about all the fun you can have once Sit ‘n’ Knit starts up…
Knitting is a classic. You get your needles, you get your yarn, and you can just sit there knitting and purling away to your heart’s content! If you’ve never knitted before the usual beginner project is a scarf – just go back and forth until it’s as long as you want it. Use some chunky yarn and big needles and just watch it grow!
Or if you’re a bit more confident, pull out a circular needle, have a go with double-pointed needles, try some cabling (not as tricky as it looks – trust me!), or venture into the world of colourwork. Hats are also cool. Though if they’re knitted, they’re probably warm.
If you are a beginner, don’t stress about dropping stitches or getting in a tangle. It’s practice and repetition that gets you there. And this is meant to be a stress reliever!
We’ve got plenty of books full of advice and patterns. You could attempt a Literary Knit, get ready with some Tiny Christmas Toys, create some even smaller Teeny-tiny Mochimochi, or go in another direction with some Vampire Knits! If you’re stuck at home and can’t get in to the library we also have many books of knitting patterns available through our eLibrary, and also several knitting-focused eMagazines!
Crocheting is done with one hook rather than two needles, so there’s not as many things to keep track of with your hands. And it’s usually faster than knitting too! Particularly with a big hook and chunky yarn…
Hats are usually a good beginner project, and they can be embellished in very fun ways if you feel like it, or there’s the good old-fashioned granny square – great for blankets, using up yarn leftovers, and cushion covers!
Some of the books we have available for you to borrow include more Literary Yarns, amigurumi style foods or animals, you’ll be sure to find something fun! We’ve got books of crochet patterns available through our eLibrary, and there’s also a few crochet eMagazines, and our eMagazines are always available.
Personally, I like to go a bit wild with my embroidery, as seen in this accompanying image (bonus points if you know who Candimir is, and why you shouldn’t give him any wheat). If you’re into carefully cultivated chaos then it’s easier than you’d think to teach yourself a few different stitches, find something to sew with (it doesn’t have to be embroidery floss – yarn scraps are pretty good!), and just play! If you’d prefer a more precise project though, you can buy embroidery kits that come with all the bits and bobs you need, and even have a design printed onto the fabric you’ll be using.
You do need a few more things before you can start embroidering than the previous two crafts. Namely embroidery hoop, non-stretchy fabric, threads of some kind, and needles (Controversial take: Embroidery needles from Daiso are perfectly adequate. Fight me.).
Check out these embroidery eMagazines too, for some inspiring ideas!
This is where I confess that of all the crafts in this list, cross stitch is the one I haven’t tried. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! Again, you’ll need an embroidery hoop, needles, something to sew with, and some of that cloth that has all the little holes in it to show you where to stitch (the internet reliably informs me that this is called “aida cloth”).
Like embroidery, you can buy kits that have a design for you to make and all the materials you need. Or if you snorted when seeing the picture to the right and would like to create something a little more exciting…
We have books! We’ve got Subversive Cross Stitch and Improper Cross Stitch and Really Cross Stitch. We have Literary Cross Stitch, Creepy Cross Stitch, and Cross Stitch with Attitude. There’s also a whole LOT of cross stitch eMagazines for your perusal!
The great thing (or so I think) about all these crafts is that they are activities that you can pick up for fifteen minutes or so and stitch away, then put down to come back to later. And that sense of accomplishment and “Oh, I made This” when you’re done is just so good!
So what are you waiting for? Get into it!