2018 Gift Guide for Creative Adventurers

Approaching a new year is a giant blazing invitation to get our priorities straight, whether we love or loathe setting New Year’s resolutions. This list includes all kinds of things I truly love and that will help any sort of creative adventurer prioritize their creativity and making stuff in 2019. (Some of these are affiliate links.)

 

Gifts to Spark Imagination & Making

 

For More Books, Kits, Tools & Materials for Your Favourite Creative Adventurer ↡

How to Pack for a Crafty Road Trip

Summer is for road trips – crafty road trips – and one of the things I love most when a trip is looming is planning the project(s) I’ll bring with me.

(Ok, sometimes by “favourite” I mean “most stressful.”)

It’s a deserted-island kind of situation, planning a crafty project for a trip. It doesn’t even matter if I’m traveling to attend a craft-related conference – during the packing stage it always feels as if I’ll never be near a craft store again in my life, and so I must pack everything I might possibly need. And not only for the obvious project I’m already working on, but also for the three or four other projects I must bring in case I get stranded at an airport for seven months and finish my in-progress project on the first day.

At the beginning of summer, with camping trips looming, I feel a special kind of packing excitement/anxiety. Because in addition to the traveling part, there are the very specific considerations of lots of time spent in a cramped moving vehicle and lots of time spent outdoors.

I’ve started compiling a list of tools and materials I take with me (all of it if it’s a long trip, a selection for shorter trips).

Obviously, crochet and knitting projects are my general jam, and they’re great for lots of time in the car. (Also obviously, I never travel with blanket projects. Way too big, way too much stuff, guaranteed to get dirty and/or ruined.)

And so I always travel with my knitting-needle kit and a variety of crochet hook sizes. You never know when you’ll need a replacement, or when you’ll pop into a yarn shop in a far-off town and simply have to start a project with the locally made yarn you discovered.

If I’m going away for more than a few days, I always get it into my head that I’ll want to keep a travel journal, or at least add stuff into my bullet journal. (Do I? Rarely. But I always plan to do this anyway.) So I keep a small pouch with double-sided tape in it, and I always bring a few of my favourite pens and also a variety of markers or gel pens.

This summer, I have it in mind to make some proper friendship bracelets. I was a fiend for friendship bracelets when I was a kid, especially when I was away at overnight camp. They’re so much fun to make, so easily portable, and so satisfying to give away.

And since I’m going to bring embroidery floss for bracelets, I’ll also prep an embroidery project. Or, now that I think of it, I’ll pack up the sampler I started last summer.

What would you add to the list?

(Some of these are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!)

Crafting for a Change: Vogue Knitting Holiday 2017

Crafting for a Change, in Vogue Knitting Holiday 2017

I am not a fan of the word guru. Guru is what we call people who know a lot about something but don’t have a job title related to it, or who work in or around that topic in a variety of ways but aren’t defined by any one. I’m often described as a “crochet guru.” (If I’m asked for input on the matter, I usually request they just go with author or instructor.)

So I especially love that when she wrote about me in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting, Lee Ann Dalton called me “crochet genius.”

I mean, I’m not a genius, but I’m not a guru either. I’ll take genius any day.

Which is all to say: You guys, Lee Ann Dalton wrote about me, and specifically about craftivism, in the Holiday 2017 issue of Vogue Knitting. She also called me an “intrepid Canadian craftivist.” I’ll take that one happily.

I meant to mention this when the issue was still on newsstands. Um, four months ago. But better late than never, right? Maybe back issues are still available?

The beret I’m wearing in the photo above is one of the patterns from my Crochet in the Round class, and the spiral hat next to it is the free Hat for Science.

 

What I’m Making: A Homespun Ombre Shawl

A few months ago, I picked up two rovings that were dyed in a white-to-black ombre. I fell immediately in love with them, and bought two specifically so I could spin enough yarn to knit a shawl.

Knitted Ombre Shawl from Handspun Yarn – http://kimwerker.com/blog

My original idea was to work in garter stitch, but I quickly realized I wouldn’t quite have enough yarn to make it work, garter stitch being the yarn hog that it is.

So I decided to follow the Maxima Shawl pattern, which is super simple lace based in garter stitch.

I used a 6mm needle for my mostly worsted weight yarn, and knitted the shawl in fits and starts over about a month. I had more than enough yarn to work the called-for number of repeats for the pattern, so I kept going, and then I worked a larger-than-called for garter edging before working the picot bind-off.

Knitted Ombre Shawl from Handspun Yarn – http://kimwerker.com/blog

Of course, I managed to work one too many rows of garter stitch before binding off, and it became clear to me before I was halfway through the picots that there was no way I’d have enough yarn to keep those going. Rather than undoing the bind-off, I just… stopped making the picots. And managed to get to the end with about 5″ of yarn to spare. The shawl’s for me, so who cares if it has only almost half the picots it should have?

When I laid the shawl out to block, I discovered another shining error that I quickly embraced: Somewhere along the line, I misplaced the centre stitch, so the spine of increases veers off to one side after a few repeats. Ah well. You totally can’t tell when I’m wearing it.

So… The shawl is fairly dramatically more imperfect than the imperfection I usually embrace in projects like these, but I love it anyway, and have worn it every day since it dried.

Here’s the project on Ravelry.

DIY Halloween-Stamp Treat Bags – With Free Template!

Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp

Just in time for Halloween (or, you know, any kind of occasion that calls for some spooky fun), here's a super simple stamp project.

I carved some ghastly stamps and used them on small paper bags I'll fill with treats for my kid's friends for Halloween, but you could just as easily use them on cards, banners, posters, or any other kind of decoration.

Get the free halloween stamp template!

Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp

What You Need


Here's everything you need to make Halloween treat bags (obviously, sub out the bags for an appropriate printing surface if you're making cards or banners instead!)

Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp

Tips

  • Make sure you stamp the area of the bag that will be visible once the bag is full and the top is folded over.
  • Keep in mind that the folds and seams of the bag will affect how the stamp applies the ink. Embrace the tiny imperfections!
  • Not all light-coloured inks will show up well on dark paper – be sure to read ink labels carefully, and experiment.
  • These stamps are cute on their own, if I do say so myself, but I love them even more when I use them as a starting point. In the photo at the top of the post, you can see how much more awesome the bags look with a little bit of gel pen and marker thrown into the mix.
Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp

Get the free halloween stamp template!

Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp
Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp
Stamp Camp Halloween Bonus
Hand-Stamped Halloween Treat Bags – Free Template in the free trial for Stamp Camp, https://classes.kimwerker.com/courses/stamp-camp

What I’m Making: Veronika Cardigan

Work in progress: Veronika Cardigan – http://kimwerker.com/blog

At Knit City a couple of weeks ago, I tried on the Veronika Cardigan and immediately fell in love. I’m not usually keen to knit garments, but I was powerless against this one.

I knew I had enough yarn of one kind or another at home to make it, so I bought the pattern and dug out my Rubbermaid. In it, I found this gorgeous navy yarn I bought a million years ago – maybe at my very first Rhinebeck?

It was intended to become a sweater for my husband, but I didn’t buy enough yardage and the yarn has been sitting in this bin for over a decade. To be honest, as the yarn is unlabeled it’s entirely possible I don’t have enough to make this sweater, either. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The yarn is perfect for Veronika. The stitches are flying off my needles, and this project has been my constant companion, in addition to my kid, as the Yankees have progressed in post-season baseball.

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/veronika-cardigan