favorite tools!

I’m sure others have experienced the gradual accumulation of crafting tools—you start with a pair of knitting needles and a skein of yarn, and soon you somehow have a spinning wheel, tens pairs of size 00 dpns, and half a room of “stash.” And of course, the more crafts you do, the more this multiplies.

So I thought it would be nice to pare back a bit and show off the top ten crafting tools that I didn’t just “end up with,” but that I genuinely enjoy using most. Some are craft-specific, others I use for any and everything. 🙂


9. clover patchwork pins

Not being very good at sewing (or realizing how many cool sewing supplies are out there!) I spent years using cheap plastic topped pins that were frequently dull and even more frequently poked giant holes into my humble projects. These clover pins were such an upgrade! Also I love the cute case they come in. 🙂

8. brittany crochet hook(s)

These hooks look beautiful and also happen to be my favorite ergonomically. The wood keeps stitches from sliding too much, while the long handle allows me plenty of room to grip. And I love tools that are as beautiful to look at as they are to use—it makes crafting even more special.

7. stone whorl spindle

Spinning is one of those crafts that can feel just incredibly ancient. I think about all the women who used to have to spin hour after hour to make enough yarn for clothing and other household necessities, and am a bit awed by taking part in such a long, arduous, tradition. These stone whorl spindles really accentuate those feelings. They’ve become one of my favorite types of spindles to use, and it helps, of course, that they’re extremely well made and nicely balanced.

6. turtlemade 3d spindle

In contrast, these 3d printed spindles are eminently modern. 🙂 They’re also perfect for traveling—I slip mine into a coat pocket or purse, and bring it everywhere! I’ve even spun with mine in Disney World. 😉 These are also the favorite spindles of my little cousins, who have taken to asking after them if I neglect to bring them. While I wouldn’t recommend them for beginners, due to their light weight and high speed, for a more confident spinner I think there is no better travel option!

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6. a portable iron

Ironing was another of those simple, exceptionally obvious skills that improved my sewing. I like using a small, portable iron, because I travel and move frequently, and I don’t really need a bigger iron for my clothes. Having a little iron and tabletop ironing board allows me to set up a space almost everywhere, and just start sewing!

5. my handmade nalbinding needle

Nalbinding is one of my favorite types of wool-based crafting, because it’s so portable and looks great with my rather uneven handspun yarn. 😉 When I first started nalbinding, I made my own needles out of sticks, because I didn’t like using metal tapestry needles (a cheap beginner option) and didn’t want to purchase one before I knew I like it. Now, a few years later, I have quite a collection of needles! The three below are my three favorites, made of elk antler, mammoth ivory, and one I made myself! Not only do I love using my little wooden needle for finer projects, but I’m also very proud of it. While my dad is a woodworker, I rarely do anything with wood. But I have had a little pocket knife since I was 5 for whittling, and I guess it finally paid off!

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4. sajou embroidery scissors

I bought these scissors in France, and I love them. Embroidery can be so delicate, so pretty—doesn’t it make sense to have a pair of scissors that matches? Of course, they also have a very sharp edge, and the blades are paired, so they work beautifully too. But I will admit I mostly enjoy them for their looks!

3. kromski minstrel

One of my biggest crafting tools, the Kromski Minstrel is my long-awaited first spinning wheel. As you can probably tell, I enjoy a certain aesthetic style. 😉 The Minstrel looks somewhat antiquated, but because of its castle-wheel setup, doesn’t take up too much space. I got it because I wanted a very versatile wheel, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. While I still do particularly fine spinning on my spindles, I’ve found it easy to switch between fine and think yarn on this spinning wheel.

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2. rhodia grid notebook

I am…not the most organized person in the world. But while I don’t mind digging through a pile of mail to find my bills, I hate to lose pattern or project notes and ideas. My solution has been to save one notebook, a rhodia gridded one, and use it for everything! While I still keep notes in other places, or use larger notebooks to design patterns, this little notebook always has at least a note or initial sketch. That way, if I somehow lose the other pieces (which has happened…too many times), I don’t have to start entirely from scratch. 😉

1. gingher shears

My sewing shears get top place. 🙂 When I was a kid, I used to scoff at all the sewing tutorials I found that instructed me to use real sewing scissors. What could possibly be wrong with my normal paper scissors, other than the fact that they had nicks all over them, were incredibly dull, and occasionally didn’t even close properly?

Obviously nothing, right? 😉 I’m sure it’ll surprise no one that my sewing magically improved ten-fold when I finally invested in this pair of gingher shears. Suddenly I could cut in a straight line! My seam allowances no longer looked like mice had chewed the fabric apart! I could actually follow patterns! I’m still using the same pair, and I still love them.

So these are some of my absolute favorite crafting tools—what about you? Which do you use most often, or enjoy using the most?

 

 

distractions

You may have noticed I disappeared slightly! Unfortunately, I was very distracted by a series of final papers this spring, which, while fun, were not nearly as fun as posting crafting projects. 😉

However, now that finals are over and I’m at my parent’s house for the summer, I have a much cuter distraction to share with you. We got a new kitten!

His name is Lionel (after the hero of Mary Shelley’s novel, The Last Man, Lionel Verney), and he is my little purr buddy these days. Our older cat, Fey, is quite taken with him, and they spend half the day running around playing.

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The other half, Lionel spends bothering me. 😉 He’s a very social kitty, and loves to snuggle next me while I’m doing work and either play with my shirt cuffs or watch the scrolling on my computer screen. Unfortunately he’s also figured out how much fun knitting needles are!

Now that Lionel is free from the kitten “nursery” (ie, the room we kept him in to introduce him slowly to Fey), and a little less of a baby, I should be able to get more crafting done and post more. 🙂 Until then, enjoy the kitten photos!

my craft room

Having a dedicated craft room is pretty much the dream, right? I didn’t think I’d get there until I was retired, honestly, but then my parents found me the perfect apartment—one bedroom plus a tiny office! Of course it immediately turned into my craft room. 😀

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My dad and I found an old table to use as my sewing table, and I filled some baskets underneath with my fabric collection (the rest of the fabric is kept on a hanging rack over the door). You can see my adored vintage 99k singer—my more modern janome is up on a wall shelf. I love having my table right up against the window, it makes for wonderful light. You might also notice some cross stitch in the corner—one of my friends made it for me for my birthday, it’s gollum!

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I hung bobbin racks on the wall, and my dad helped me make a framed corkboard for project ideas and things. I also hung a little wire box I found at target that I keep my more delicate fibers in—and my spindles can hang from the bottom! The ones in the picture are bosworths. 🙂 To decorate, I crocheted a little doily banner.

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This is my kromski minstrel. 😀 It was a birthday present, and my dad and I finished it ourselves. I absolutely love this wheel, it’s beautiful and spins amazingly well.

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Finally, hiding in the far corner, is my harrisville 4-harness loom. I picked it up at a garage sale for pretty cheap, though I haven’t had much time to use it yet. Ignore that one of the treadles got disconnected during moving. 😉

Anyway, that is my craft room! I think it balances function and cuteness pretty well, though of course it’s often messier than these pictures show. I feel very lucky that I get to have such a nice space to work in.