If you enjoy arts and crafts or home repair, have you noticed a resurgence of interest in these things?  I have always enjoyed crafting, but started sewing about 8 years ago. Slowly, I saw Walmart stop selling fabric as the craft stores carried more and more religious stuff unrelated to arts and craft supplies.  It seemed there was a xtain right take over of my favorite stores.  But in the last few years, since the recession started, the religious stuff has slowly started filtering out and fabric is returning to several Walmarts.  I was in JoAnn's Fabrics on a weekday at 10 am and it was packed.  It took 30 minutes just to get my fabric cut and they had an organized system.  And I saw nothing religious there.  Yay!  With the glaring exception of Hobby Lobby, every other craft store seems to be moving beyond the religious crap.  ((Locally, Hobby Lobby was a lot less busy than Michaels and JoAnn's, too.)  Obviously, the demand for that is way down.

 

The local Home Depo also seems to be packed even near closing.  Of course, Jesus and power tools never went together. 

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Possibly. a lot of times the Xtian crafts are aimed at bible schools and bible studies and stuff like that--you go, stay for 3 hours, and send the kids home with a cheap wwjd bracelet they've made themselves.

I can't tell you how many times my parents tried to use places like that as a babysitting service for me. I actually made a concrete stepping stone once at one Vacation Bible School--they really take advantage of the fact that kids have nothing to do during the summer(no camp their parents can afford, no school, no local park for kids to fool around at safely, no general gathering place to drop kids off at) and use that to the fullest. I hate kids but I've actually thought about opening some sort of....sleepaway camp around here that would be cheap--held in girlscout tents or something. The big thing around here for people who regularly attend church is Awana--that actually has badges and stuff just like girlscouts, only it's for memorizing 30 bible verses(specific ones they approve of ahead of time) rather than useful things like firestarting and knots.

 

Anyways, crafting--I have actually picked up knitting again. I've done it before--just on the fly, my grandmother taught me, but after cleaning out my closet and finding a bunch of my yarn and needles I figured I might as well start again. I nearly finished a needle storage roll and a crochet hook roll today to hold all my stuff--I have so many and right now they're just in a random tote bag, which makes it hard to figure out where everything is. My sewing machine isn't quite cooperating, though. I have to fiddle around with the tension to see what I need to do to get it working proper again.

Knitting and crochet and sewing are all things that you can buy in cheaply enough(depending on the yarn you're choosing and the needles you buy and the project you have), and you can scale up if you really like it, and they often produce useable things. So I can see why crafting would make a comeback. Oddly enough, our Walmart never had a bunch of jesus phish lying around--it's the only "craft store" or "yarn store" for at least an hour or two in any direction, so it's always had a decent store of yarn(of course not in the colors I want....) and needles. They did clearance out a lot of their needles a while back to compress the collection into more 10" straights and simple things--they only have 8, 10, 10.5 in circulars, and only size 3 in double point needles--not a great selection, which means most of my needles are some older ones that my grandmother gave me, one set is some 8's in acrylic from Hobby Lobby--from the Yarnology line, which I have been warned that the acrylic circulars may snap in half, but I haven't had an issue so far with these, and then I got the 3's from our Walmart, and I bought a size 4 circular online on Amazon--I want to save up for a set of interchangeable circulars, though. Knit picks would be nice, but I'd settle for a boye needlemaster.

But I'm rambling. I have noticed something of an uptick in people interested in knitting. I've always been a vaguely crafty sort--in fact, I really need to get around to buying a plain canvas bag and spray-painting "You crafty motherfucker" on it sometime(this is a throwback to Pulp Fiction--he has a wallet that says "Badass Motherfucker" on it--it also cracks me up)--I eventually plan on using this bag to tote around whatever I'm working on at the time.

I've done small bits of Cross-stitch--which I don't like as much as knitting. I do origami, which, awesomely enough, works with any sort of paper you can cut into a square. I have a bag of paper stuff to cut into origami squares for this year's christmas garland. I've sewn for a very long time, especially darning and fixing my own clothes, but I've never made my own--I've only altered clothes to make them into knee shorts or a pair of trouser pants into skirt(I'm really proud of that skirt)--I would like to make a dress eventually, but that requires lining and measuring and a pattern---I loathe paying for patterns.

 

Part of it may be the fact that the "home made" thing is in again--it used to be somewhat shameful to be seen wearing a dress or shirt someone made at home, now it's not a big deal. Although I did get pissed at someone shaming a girl for wearing knits the other day--and it was more that she was wearing a dress, leggings, and legwarmers with a knit hat--rather than the knit hat. I think it was mostly she wanted to play fashion police and gripe about someone's clothing, rather than anything else. And if she had been wearing black legwarmers the griper probably wouldn't even have noticed.

 

I'm also really interested in spinning--I've looked at it before, and spun with a drop spindle, which is...slow, but I've asked my parents for a spinning wheel this year. We'll see if it happens(It probably won't) but if it does I'll have an excuse to keep cotton and wool around me all the time! There's also cat fur(we get a lot of it....6 cats), and angora rabbit fur that I could turn into very soft yarn. I'm hoping I can get a somewhat newer spinning wheel but I'll settle for a Saxony style one as long as it can spin varying sizes of yarn. I tend to oscillate between wanting bulky yarns and fingering weights.

 

I do get ticked off when people tell me I'm being anti-feminist by doing these "women's things"--the anti-feminist sentiment is assuming they're only for women, and scorning the people that do them--guys can do them too, and I support any guy with a healthy interest in said things--just like I expect any guy to support me if I'm looking into woodworking.

I was thinking more of the stuff to sit around that says "Give thanks" or some bible verse.  You are right, there is less of the other Jesus kid crafts, too, and more stuff like Hello Kitty - which probably means kids are doing more crafts at home.  People send their kids to bible school because it is free babysitting - imo. 

 

It sounds like your sewing machine needs an adjustment.  I sew everything from sheers to fleece to denim.  So mine could use a cleaning and adjustment, too.  However, I was able to sew velvet yesterday with no problems.  I have a Huskaverna Viking Romeo and it's one tough machine.  I would like  to get one of those computerized ones that does embroidery and/or a serger.  I haven't met anyone with a serger who didn't love it. 

 

I went to JoAnn's on a lark and have been back everyday since! LOL!  I wanted to make my girls Christmas dresses, because the stores are selling the same old dresses they have had for the past two years. Nothing new or interesting.  JoAnn's had those "prom dress" fabrics on a big sale. I finished the dresses and decided to make black velvet boleros to  go with them.  Real velvet is really expensive!  No one even knew where it was.  That poor male clerk looked all over and finally ended up calling three other clerks to find it.

 

I have young cousins who say they want to learn how to sew, but I told them they had to be proficient at laundry and ironing or I wouldn't teach them.  One went off in huff at the thought of doing laundry.  I think the other is thinking about it.  I think one day, she may take the plunge and learn how to wash clothes and iron. 

 

That feminist bias against all things once considered "female" is stupid.  Really, are we all supposed to afford maids or robots to do the housework or just live in complete filth?  I know women plumbers and men who sew.  My BIL can crochet and knit wonderfully.

Mine's a Kenmore 385.15615600--which yes, it needs all those numbers. I can't find a similar model anywhere OR a manual anywhere online--even Kenmore's actual website refers me to another website for manuals--and then such a website gifts me with cabinet manuals, claiming they're the same thing.

But I've had troubles with this machine from the start. I think it's honestly the tension for the top strand--it's marked 0-9--and I have it on 3--you think that'd be low enough tension, right? NOPE. Too tight. I may just have to sit down and fiddle with it until it cooperates--I'm not sure exactly what's wrong. the wheel may have been spun(it's a vertical wheel) over the numbers again--so it may be tightened to the equivalent of something else. Who knows. I need to find patience for it one day and a scrap of cloth to work with for about an hour.

 

I -wish- we had a Jo-ann's. I think the closest one is in Meridian, MS--an hour away. I wish we had a local Yarn store, too. In Tuscaloosa we had one, but I think it closed, and I wasn't into yarn too much the one time I went into it. Que Sera, sera--We did have a Hobby Lobby in Tuscaloosa, as well as a Michael's--Hobby Lobby was Closer, but I spent less money there--usually I'd just scour the sale racks for stuff they were clearancing out--Michael's usually had better yarn sales, but less clearance. I did find my watercolor gouache there for $10, so there's that--and I got my skein of Fisherman's Wool there when it was on sale for $10.

....I'm trying to use up all the cheap rough acrylic I have from my sister before buying more yarn, though. I have a pattern for Kimono Slippers saved to my dropbox(I only use free patterns, and then I usually save them in pdf form to my dropbox, which syncs to both computers).

 

LOL laundry and ironing--I've done my own laundry since I was Twelve--and I prefer it that way, I have a very specific place where I put everything and I don't expect anyone else to know where things go. And ironing--today I was ironing after each major seam to keep the needle roll looking crisp. I often keep an iron nearby whenever I sew to press seams ahead of time. Doesn't want to do laundry or iron. smh. <sigh> I actually don't iron -except- when I'm sewing. Most of my clothes are the wash and wear type--I think my wardrobe is probably 90% cotton. I recently had to dump mothballs into my closet to scare the monsters away. My favorite top got like 5 holes in it recently. I had to sew them all up.

 

I know, if 'cleaning' is "women's work" and "anti-feminist" then what about cooking? I have to eat, I can't just live off of fast food and never clean up after myself. Feminism is not sacrificed at the Alter of housework--it's simply foolish to assume one thing or the other is "_____'s work and men/women shouldn't do it because it's demeaning." It's not demeaning if I have to do it. And I've helped my dad along on plumbing jobs--I've put together cabinets, I've helped lay tile before. I even taken apart computers, I've replaced a phone screen, 3 harddrives, and built two computers from parts. I've installed 3rd-party software on our home router to speed it up--it's not 'men's work' it's just 'work' that I gladly do because it's a learning experience.

 

Similarly, I once was in college at a dining hall with the Quizbowl team--and I pointed out that most girls I knew--after having the required freshman year of meal plan, they usually dropped the mealplan entirely--an IDIOT cut in and said "well that just shows women are going to the proper place, in the kitchen." I nearly HIT HIM but I countered with "well really it just shows that most of my guy friends are choosing fast, quick, and easy over quality of food when it comes to their meals"--which that was true, the meals at dining halls, which I calculated it up--on the cheapest, they ended up being about $5 a meal block--which I figured out by freshman year that I can make better-tasting food for less than $5 a meal--even without a stove or hot plate(I did sneak in a little toaster oven sophmore year--I had a room to myself and I wanted toast, dammit)--but the meals in the dining halls were regularly chili dogs, sub-par french fries, oversalted fried rice, salad dressing that tasted like straight mayo--the food was extremely poor quality and I actually had a discussion one day--lots of people noted getting sick a lot less when they stopped eating at the dining halls. That, and the silverware would often be nasty or....moist, and then they were always out of the decent food on their menu--like it'd say "grilled chicken sandwich" and I'd go 'well that sounds tasty' and I'd go to get it--nope, we're out, want a hot dog instead? And then the best place to eat at cost EXTRA and was built into the dorm of the athletes--they'd regularly have smoked salmon, and of course, they had a special athletes-only meal plan that meant it didn't cost them extra to eat there. The next best place to eat was only open during lunchtime during the week--and it was always completely packed, and I never seemed to have classes nearby it. They also closed the one place that took meal plans after 10pm(I tend to stay up late to do classwork)--after my freshman year, so really, there wasn't much reason to keep buying a meal plan. The other big reason was that the meal plan was about a thousand dollars or so--it kept going up. Freshman year I calculated that the cheapest meal plan was 160 meals at $8, the next one was some more meals at $6, and the next one was more meals at $5, and the last one was unlimited meals, which my mom got me, thinking oh, it'd be convenient and I could get food to go home with--first of all they would refuse to give me a container to bring food home in(which you have a choice when you get the meal plans, container, or eat in--if you get a container you can't be seen with it in the building, if you eat in you can't get a container later, etc)--well usually this meant if you wanted to not starve about 3 hours later--you needed to eat a ton at the place. Which the food itself--as I illustrated above, wasn't worth the money--so basically we wasted money my freshman year on the unlimited meal plan, and then the next 3 years I refused to pay about $1,000 a semester for sub-par food.

And he of course, assumed I chose not to eat there because I "wanted to go to my proper place". Psh. Moronic. I was simply fed up with the meal services, and decided they weren't worth the money considering I could cook better food. Most of the guys I knew, on the other hand, could barely cook ramen and pop popcorn while I was making homemade chicken pot pies senior year when I finally got a full kitchen at my disposal.

 

I also get put in charge of any food-making operations that my mother doesn't have time for, because my parents(psychotic as they are...) trust me to get things done when they tell me to do them. I did deer hors'd'ouvres(or however they're spelled...)the other day. Deer meat, hammered flat with a meat hammer(use a PLASTIC cutting board) and smchear it with food processer-ed onion, bell pepper, and some sour cream(I mix it all together to smear on, because I'm lazy), then wrap with bacon and stick a toothpick through it. Normally my mom uses like 2-3 toothpicks, but i figured out a way to wrap the bacon and only use one--and this was the first time I was put in charge of making them. My dad was supposed to cook them, and then at the last minute he asked me to, and since they were going to a...party? football game? they were going on a trip, let's say that--they were going on a trip, so I pulled out a disposable tinfoil pan from the stack we have in the pantry, made a tinfoil lid, and brought it out there on a tray to sit with me while I obsessively checked the grill for flare-up's every 5 minutes. I grilled them all on low and possibly overcooked them, but my dad didn't return with any, so I assume they all got eaten. Which marks it a success in my book. I got to try two of them--and they tasted like the other deer hors'd'ouvres I've ever tried, so I guess I got it right.

You have to iron when you sew or what you make will look like crap.  There's a lot to ironing.  For one thing, you don't want to melt the fabric.  I iron the pieces before I start and then I iron every seam.  I think things turn out better that way. 

 

Unless you want it to shrink and look funny or the dye to come off on your hands while you sew, you'll have to wash it first. If she's too much of a spoiled brat to throw some clothes in the wash at 13 and learn how to use an iron, then she's not ready to learn how to sew.  I am not interested in teaching anyone to sew who is not interested in taking care of her things.  I was surprised when her grandma (my aunt) backed me up and told her that there was no way she could learn to sew without knowing how to wash clothes and iron first.

I join the club....

Being crafty has nothing to do with being feminist or anti-feminist.   I have been sewing and assembling my computer, bricklaying and spinning, doing carpentry and weaving.  

I have been knitting while reading a book.   But I do not darn socks, even though that was one of the things that girls were taught at school, when I was a kid.

And this is my choice of a sewing machine:

 

That's a beautiful machine.

Poor Americans, attacked by Jesus even in the craft stores! I never saw him lying in ambush behind the knitting wool here. But many people are taking up sewing and knitting again, and I link it to the banking crisis. People feel insecure about their future and tend to spend less and save more, what better can you do than take up a hobby that produces usable or even beautiful things at rather low cost. I´m working at a sweater and started to hand sew a quilt, and it helps me to pass the time I spend with my demented aunt or my Asperger brother-in-law.

The amount of vague 'jesus' stuff disturbs me sometimes.

 

"Testa-mints? Don't mind if I do! They're sacrilicious!"

 

Although Bibleman and Veggietales are both disturbing in their own right. Who the hell came up with talking vegetables?

A few years ago, about half or more of the stuff in the kids' crafts section was xtain oriented.  I'm sure it was all stuff for bible or Sunday school.  I'm just glad that these craft stores are finally recognizing that not everyone wants a plaque that says jesus loves you or wooden crosses for kids to paint.

 

I'm thrilled more people are getting into the things I enjoy.  I was tired of looking all over creation or paying 10 times too much for fabric. 

 

Well,  Jonel, if you want a good, sturdy machine, I think the Huskverna Viking is one of the best.  I have 16 stitches, I have used about 5.  I would like to take a sewing class.  I can do the basics, but I would like to take a class or two.  The machine came with several running feet that I have not used.  I would also like a ruffler atttachment.  Two little girls = lots of ruffles. 

 

My first machine was a $40 Singer which only had forward and backward in one stitch.  The bobbin was a huge pain.  I taught myself how to sew on it.  Ithink I will forever hate Singers because of that machine.  The Huskaverna Vikings are more expensive.  I think mine was $300.  It was a gift.  I have a friend who has a $3,000 computerized sewing machine.  She just threads it and it makes embroidered patches while all she does is hit the pressure foot. 

Michaels has a lot of cool free patterns for different crafts.  Here's a link to their free yarn and needle crafts patterns:  http://www.michaels.com/Yarn-Needle-Crafts/projects-yarnandneedlecr...
And nice patterns too, thank you!
I've been sewing and cross stitching since I was a kid, and I've recently taken up knitting (in the last 10 years or so), but I've recently discovered that some of my friends are crafty too! It's almost like it's a dirty little secret amongst the pierced/tattooed crowd...like no one wants to admit that they cross stitch twee little sayings :) It bugs me that a lot of the cross stitch selections are religious, but I still do them for gifts for my mother and sister in law. It's just words to me.

Grace, I've wanted a Huskaverna for years. Right now, I have a Europro, which is fine for what I do, but not my forever machine. I make my daughter's halloween costume (no trampy costumes for her!) every year and plenty of dresses and short sets as well as pajamas for all of us and skirts for myself. It's cool to sew and create something that's exactly what you want!

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