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Tag: Crafts

Cool things to make during a study break

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

A hand puppet snake, mostly knitted with green wool but with some variegated orange and red stripes. A red forked tongue pokes out of the side of its mouth. It has big plastic green eyes.

Some snakes are scary. Some snakes are knitted and teach children maths.

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!


Crochet

A green, grey, and yellow crocheted caterpillar sits next to a yellow crocheted octopus. The octopus has one tentacle through the handle of a white and blue crocheted teapot.

Just some crocheted friends sharing a pot of tea. Lovely.

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…

But there are so many things you can crochet! Crochet a curious critter (as seen on the right), make a garden of flowers, or even the Twelve Birds of Christmas!

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.


Embroidery

A chaotic piece of embroidery. Black letters on a red background across the centre read "No Candimir, you can't have any wheat". There are mountains in the upper left corner, and yellow flowers on a dark green background in the lower left. Some beads and buttons are sewn in on the right side, and the whole photo area is covered in colourful stitches.

There’s a …lot going on here.

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.).

In terms of library inspiration, we can provide you with some Edgy Embroidery, some Animal Embroidery, and some cool ways to Customise Your Clothes!

Check out these embroidery eMagazines too, for some inspiring ideas!


Cross Stitch

I mean, you’ve got to make sure all your books are in order.

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!

Te Taiao Needs Our Help: Recycling Week 2021


Did you know that Aotearoa has a week dedicated to recycling? Of course we should be recycling all the time, but it’s good to have a reminder about what we can do to care for the taiao. Recycling Week runs from the 18th-24th of October, with each day being dedicated to challenges to encourage us to re-think our waste minimization and recycling behaviours. To get us inspired, here are some awesome recycling initiatives from around the world!

There are machines in Colombia where you can recycle your tin, glass and plastic bottles in exchange for public transit credits. Imagine paying for the bus with bottles! You could literally collect other people’s littering and profit from it. Then you’d be both a tidy kiwi, and a kiwi with a topped up Snapper card, Incredible!

Barcelona had a issues with cooking oil being poured down the drain and clogging the pipes (sound familiar?). City officials tackled this problem by giving away free “Olipots” for people to collect their used oil in, while also setting up collection spots for people to dispose of their oil around the city. The collected oils are then recycled into a biodiesel.

ReTuna Återbruksgalleria, in Sweden, is the world’s first recycling mall! Here, old items are given new life through repair and upcycling. Everything sold is recycled, reused or has been organically or sustainably produced. Visitors to the mall can also easily drop off donations, which are then sorted into what can be repaired and resold or donated to somewhere the item will be useful.

Scientists in South Korea have invented a t-shirt that could be used to charge your phone! Specifically, the fabric of the t-shirt generates electricity as it bends and flexes and “a person wearing a shirt tailored from the material only has to move around to power a small screen or other electronic devices” .  This process is possible through the utilising of Triboelectricity, electricity generated by friction. If you want to know more, click through to the article because this goes over my head very quickly. It has been a minute/decade since I did NCEA Physics. Most importantly, this invention would be very handy for long Pokémon GO missions (is Pokémon GO still relevant and cool? Please let it still be relevant and cool. I need this). 


Keen to take the next step in your recycling? Here’s a little book list to send you on your way. 🙂


My zero-waste kitchen : easy ways to eat waste free / O’Rourke-Jones, Ruth
“Looking to live sustainably without overhauling your life? My Zero-Waste Kitchen shows you how to put the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – into practice in the kitchen.  (Adapted from Catalogue)


Make & mend : a guide to recycling clothes and fabrics / Peacock, Rebecca
“Welcome to Make & Mend! This book shows how, with a little knowledge and a little creativity, you can make a wide range of fantastic items from those old clothes and fabrics you can’t bear to throw away. Full of projects, from aprons to curtains, bags to jewellery, we show you how to turn a bag of scraps into wearable, beautiful and personalised items.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Remade vintage jewelry : 35 step-by-step projects inspired by lost, found, and recycled treasures / Bush, *Co-Co Nichole
“Transform vintage finds and broken objects into pieces to treasure with Remade Vintage Jewelry.” (Catalogue)


A little bit crafty
“A little bit crafty is a nifty collection of 39 DIY ideas from creative types across Australia and New Zealand. With an emphasis on recycling, cheap and easy materials, and projects that can be done in an afternoon, it’s chock full of sweet, clever and slightly oddball crafts that’ll make you smile and keep your hands happy, too.” (Catalogue)


ReadyMade : how to make (almost) everything : a do-it-yourself primer / Berger, Shoshana
“For people who like to make stuff, who see the flicker of invention in everyday objects, this quirky ‘how-to’ volume contains design projects ranging from water-bottle lounge chairs and ladder shelving to shopping bag rugs and denim dog beds.” (Catalogue)


The upcycled T-shirt : 28 easy-to-make projects that save the planet – clothing, accessories, home decor & gifts / Montilone, Jenelle
“Did you know the average American throws away more than 68 pounds of clothing each year? Join the revolution to reduce your carbon footprint—one T-shirt at a time! Widely known for her recycling efforts, environmental crafter Jenelle Montilone will show you how to upcycle tees into fun and fanciful quilts, accessories, toys, and gifts for the whole family. (Adapted from Catalogue)


50 fantastic ideas for sustainability / O’Sullivan, June
“Teach children to reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and be respectful with 50 fun activities for encouraging environmental sustainability. From creating butterfly feeders with food scraps, to turning old kitchen equipment into beautiful planters or bringing broken crayons back to life, these original ideas encourage practitioners to see the potential for creativity and fun using and reusing everyday, easy-to-source items, some of which might have otherwise gone to waste. Enhance children’s creativity, cognitive development and motor skills through indoor and outdoor activities that are enjoyable, educational and environmentally friendly. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sit ‘n’ Knit: Coming Soon to Johnsonville Library!

Lockdown has been a great opportunity to learn some new skills, and get cracking on the projects that have been gathering dust on your shelf. And here to help we have a brand new sewing and craft group starting for you! Sit ‘n’ Knit will be meeting every other Sunday at Johnsonville Library (with the first meeting date to be announced very soon, once we are back in Level 1) and is for thread-heads of all skill levels and ages. We have some spectacular content coming out for you soon – keep an eye out for yarn bombing around the Waitohi Hub!

In the meantime, I’m here to whet your knitting appetite with some updates on what your faithful librarians have been working on during the lockdown.

Image shows a floral embroidery set in black fabric, resting on a piece of gray knitting, sitting on a bookshelf between several books.

It can’t get better than beautiful embroidery and good books!

Rylee is one of the amazing organizers of Sit ‘n’ Knit, and is leading the way with her embroidery and knitting skills. She’s been working on these beautiful embroidery flowers over lockdown, as well as putting together her first scarf!

Five crochet beanies, designed to look like Minions

Who wouldn’t want to go skiing in these adorable beanies?

These glorious minion creatures are brought to us by lovely librarian Claire, who has been working on this crochet project for an upcoming ski trip with her family. Although lockdown has shifted their plans a little, they can look forward to rocking a spectacular banana-loving look when they do go!


Image shows a hoop embroider, featuring a tree surrounded by small mushrooms on white calico

The end result was definitely worth the pricked fingers and momentary despair

The million and one French knots in this tree aside, I had a lovely time putting this little embroidery together. So much so that —like an absolute masochist— I’ve just started work on another knotty number, this time with more of a focus on the little ‘shrooms.

 

 

So gather your yarn and come along to Johnsonville Library once we’re back into Level 1 to get involved with free tutorials, challenges, and more incredible projects like these!

In the meantime, get started on your own creative endeavours with the help of the WCL catalogue:

Arm knitting : 30 no-needle projects for you and your home.
“Using chunky yarns and your arms instead of needles, Arm Knitting shows you how to create beautiful knits in no time at all. With 30 no-needle projects for you and your home, Arm Knitting is the ideal guide to this quick knitting technique. Try knitting projects including scarves, hats, curtains, rugs, and even a hammock to brighten up your home. Large patterns and no needles means that projects are easily completed in an hour or less, perfect for beginner knitters or busy lifestyles. With gorgeous step-by-step photography and detailed instructions covering all knitting materials, tools, and techniques, Arm Knitting is ideal for knitters of all abilities looking for projects that save on time but still look beautiful.” (Catalogue)

The knitter’s dictionary : knitting know-how from A to Z / Atherley, Kate
“Over the years knitting has produced its own language of technical terms, abbreviations, and familiar ways used in very particular ways. Atherley helps you learn to read instructions, and expand your knitting knowledge. In addition to the A-to-Z definitions, she addresses questions about gauge, tools, sweater construction, and much more that will help you become a better knitter.” — (Source of summary not specified)” (Catalogue)

Knitwit : 20 fun projects for beginners and seasoned knitters / Boyette, Katie
“Suitable for both children and adults, this title presents the 20 knit projects that are organised from beginning to end. It contains more than 150 full-colour photographs of these projects, showing along-the-way photos, important steps such as attaching arms and legs, and final photos of the completed piece.” (Catalogue)

Let’s Get Kawaii!

It is said that we all have an aesthetic, and while I would name my own personal aesthetic as “obnoxious toddler in an adult’s body” (rainbow tights, glitter shoes, anything a four year old would stamp their foot and demand), I am a HUGE fan of all things kawaii.  Kawaii is the Japanese culture of cuteness – it refers to items of all types that are cute, charming, vulnerable, shy and childlike.  Think creatures with big eyes, rainbow pastels, unicorns, glitter, adorable food, etc.

One of the things I love best about kawaii culture is that there is a strong element of creativity.  From styling your hair, outfits and make-up kawaii, to making food look kawaii and making your own art and crafts, there is something in kawaii culture for all skill levels and interests.

I’ve put together some books to guide you along the way and maybe teach you a new skill.

Kawaii resin & clay workshop : crafting super-cute charms, miniatures, figures, & more / Lee, Alex

“From Alex Lee of popular YouTube channel and Instagram account PolymomoTea, Kawaii Resin and Clay Workshop presents tutorials for creating adorable jewelry and gifts with resin and polymer clay.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pure invention : how Japan’s pop culture conquered the world / Alt, Matt

“Through the stories of an indelible group of artists, geniuses, and oddballs, Pure Invention reveals how Japanese ingenuity remade global culture and may have created modern life as we know it. It’s Japan’s world; we’re just gaming, texting, singing, and dreaming in it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kawaii crochet : 40 super cute crochet patterns for adorable amigurumi / Bradley, Melissa

“Hook up a rainbow kawaii goodness with this super-cute collection of 40 amigurumi patterns from modern crochet designer Yarn Blossom Boutique. From three adorable peas in a pod, to a winking fortune cookie, these 40 fun and easy amigurumi makes will bring the Japanese culture of cuteness into your hands and your heart.” (Catalogue)

The power of cute / May, Simon

“An exploration of cuteness and its immense hold on us, from emojis and fluffy puppies to its more uncanny, subversive expressions Cuteness has taken the planet by storm. Global sensations Hello Kitty and Pok mon, the works of artists Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons, Heidi the cross-eyed opossum and E.T.–all reflect its gathering power. But what does “cute” mean, as a sensibility and style? Why is it so pervasive? Is it all infantile fluff, or is there something more uncanny and even menacing going on–in a lighthearted way? In The Power of Cute, Simon May provides nuanced and surprising answers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The super cute book of kawaii / Smith, Marceline

“The Japanese word kawaii means lovable or adorable. Welcoming a little kawaii into your life is like opening the window and letting a sparkling sunbeam in. Whenever you feel a little low turn to this squishy, padded-covered book. Find fun ideas to: make a cozy kawaii home; playful, confidence boosting styling and beauty tips; and recipes that will make your smile. This book includes 10 easy how-to projects to bring kawaii into your life. Here, you’ll also find a host of very special kawaii mascots that will always be ready to give you a hug when you need one: The Octonauts, Smiling Bear, Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Molang, Ricemonsters, Miffy the Rabbit, the Moomins, Donutella, Unicorno, Moofia and Pusheen. Escape into the magical world of kawaii.” (Catalogue)

Kawaii cakes : adorable & cute Japanese-inspired cakes & treats / Sear, Juliet

“Over 30 cute Japanese-inspired cakes, cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, cake pops and more.

Kawaii Cakes is a baking and decorating book containing 30 recipes for cute Japanese-inspired cakes, cookies, cupcakes, donuts, cake pops, and more. Each design is super-quick, very cute, and really easy to make. Try a troll cookie, a unicorn cupcake, cute kitten donuts, bunny rabbit macaroons, and more. With easy step-by-step instructions on how to ice and decorate your creations to perfection, these are the perfect gift or dessert. From larger cakes to small cookies and cupcakes, there’s something to suit every occasion. And, best of all, these saccharine-sweet treats not only look amazing, they also taste delicious Fun, tasty, and super-kawaii, it’s time to get your bake on” (Catalogue)

Kawaii! : Japan’s culture of cute / Okazaki, Manami

“Showcasing Japan’s astonishingly varied culture of cute, this volume takes the reader on a dazzling and adorable visual journey through all things kawaii. Although some trace the phenomenon of kawaii as far back as Japan’s Taisho era, it emerged most visibly in the 1970s when schoolgirls began writing in big, bubbly letters complete with tiny hearts and stars. From cute handwriting came manga, Hello Kitty, and Harajuku, and the kawaii aesthetic now affects every aspect of Japanese life. As colorful as its subject matter, this book contains numerous interviews with illustrators, artists, fashion designers, and scholars. It traces the roots of the movement from sociological and anthropological perspectives and looks at kawaii’s darker side as it morphs into gothic and gloomy iterations. Best of all, it includes hundreds of colorful photographs that capture kawaii’s ubiquity: on the streets and inside homes, on lunchboxes and airplanes, in haute couture and street fashion, in caf s, museums, and hotels.” (Catalogue)

The little book of kawaii

“Introducing The Little Book of Kawaii, dedicated to all things kawaii. This new title will explain the Japanese subculture that has found its way into the designs and hearts of artists and people all over the globe. The book will cover “kawaii noir” the dark and sexy side of this existing subject, as well as food, fashion, toys, characters and pixel art. Through illustration, graphic design and photography, this book shows how this culture has made its impact on our lives.” (via Google Books)

Also, if you want to wander down the road of kawaii films, there’s no better place to start than Studio Ghibli.  My favourites include:

Looms, flags, and a lot of (queer) yarn

If you’ve visited Johnsonville Library recently then hopefully you’ll know that we have a space downstairs that’s packed with all kinds of exciting stuff. It’s called Tūhura/The HIVE, and it’s a makerspace full of tech and toys, lasers and Lego, robots and recording equipment, and, most excitingly (or so I think, but I may be biased), a loom!

Since we opened the new Johnsonville Library we’ve tried to keep the loom warped up so anyone can come in and try their hand at weaving a few rows. We’ve had almost everyone, local Johnsonvillians, a Paralympian, even the WCC Chief Executive, come in and have a go. And just last week I took the latest scarf off the loom and tied up the ends in tassels.A newly finished scarf lies folded on the small loom in the Johnsonville makerspace. The stripes on the scarf go (from left to right) blue, pink, white, pink, blue.

Isn’t it beautiful? Admittedly, we did strategically fold it to only show the neatest end of the weaving, but it’s still beautiful when unfolded and laid out. Look at those warped stripes! The lovely colours! Wait a minute, those colours look familiar. Could that be the Transgender Pride Flag?

Why yes, yes it is!

Claude, a grey, green, and yellow caterpillar is sitting on a cushion crocheting the last row of a scarf. The stripes of the scarf are, in order, yellow, white, purple, and the last one is black.

And that’s not all! Claude, our favourite crocheted caterpillar, was so inspired after seeing this scarf come off the loom that they decided to crochet a creative scarf of their own. Is that colourful close-to-completed scarf there another Pride Flag? Of course! It’s the Non-binary Pride Flag.

But I digress.

When we warp up the loom (attach the vertical threads to the loom. There are two yarn components you use when weaving. The warp goes up and down. The weft goes from the weft to the wight. Yes, I know that’s bad), we get to choose what pattern we put on. And if we want to show our support for trans people then we will damn well do that! And write a blog post about it too.

Now, I hope that this particularly excellent scarf shows you that knitting, weaving, crocheting – fibrecraft in general – is pretty cool. And there are so many cool things you can do! There are more things to create than these (undeniably amazing) scarves. Crochet your own Claude! Knit a political hat! There are so many free patterns available online, not to mention the books available through your local library. You could try your hand at some Subversive Cross Stitch, or create yourself some Literary Knits. Literary crocheting is also available.

OR you could get into something a bit bigger and a bit more public. Have you ever heard of yarn bombing? If you haven’t, then you are in for a treat! Yarn bombing, guerrilla knitting, knitted graffiti, whatever you want to call it, is when you create a carefully crafted cover for something out in public. It could be for a pipe, a tree, a statue, or whatever you feel would benefit from a bit of beautification. We’ve got a few books about yarn bombing, or you could just wander around Wellington and keep an eye out for artfully decorated bollards and poles.

A picture taken looking down the street towards the Tawa Community Centre entrance. It is a sunny day. Lining up with the left side of the picture is a pipe attached to the building, that has is wearing a rainbow cover.There’s a particularly fine example of yarn-bombing outside the Tawa Community Centre, just around the corner from the Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library. Yes it’s a rainbow. Did you really think I would let go of the queer thread weaving this post together?

Speaking of queer threads, that wonderfully proud scarf that you may remember is now on display in the HIVE at Johnsonville Library. And speaking of the HIVE, I can highly recommend dropping in there on a Friday evening for our fibrecraft HIVE 101. If you ever feel like learning a bit more about weaving, talking to someone about knitting, or just settling down for an evening with some crochet, come on by!

Robert Pattinson’s face

You can make Robert Pattinson’s face through the gentle art of cross-stitch, thanks to the Guardian online. Here are some books in the library on cross-stitch so that you can learn how to make your own fabric Edward. A good Christmas gift in these lean times. I’m hoping for a cross-stitched Taylor Lautner, as he’d make a great cushion.

Southeast Asia Night Market

This Saturday, the 16 of August, the Southeast Asia Night Market will be held at the TSB Arena from 2pm to 10pm.  There will be delicious Southeast Asian snacks; non-stop entertainment; dance and music; martial arts demonstrations from Thailand, the Philippines and Viet Nam; Indonesian and Malaysian Batik demonstrations; Indonesian puppets (Wayang Kulit); and traditional games of Southeast Asia.

Directions may be found here.