Crafts Board FAQ
This FAQ was compiled to help answer questions that are commonly asked on the Crafts board. If you'd like to contribute new content, let me know about broken links, or otherwise have suggestions, please page me (Nestie Rock-n-Voll) on the Crafts board.
In most cases, I've included links to the original posts that answered each question, as well as pasting the relevant responses directly into this FAQ so you don't have to click into multiple posts if you don't want to.
Hope you find this resource helpful!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How do I learn to sew?
I'm new to sewing, what sewing machine should I get?
Where can I buy fabric online?
What are some good beginner sewing projects?
What sewing essentials do I need?
KNITTING & CROCHET
How do I learn to knit?
Knit vs. Crochet: which should I learn first and how? (plus some suggestions for left-handers)
Where do I buy yarn online?
Where can I find knit/crochet patterns online?
What are the different die cut machine options?
Can any of the machines cut a design I create myself? Can they cut fabric?
Regular Cricut vs. Cricut Expression - What's the difference?
What do you do with your Cricut?
Where do you buy Cricut cartridges?
What can you tell me about the Silhouette?
Where can I buy scrapbook supplies online?
FAVORITE CRAFT BLOGS
HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS
What is Pinterest?
How do I get a Pinterest invitation?
HOW DO I LEARN TO SEW?
Actually, there is a sewing for dummies book and sewing for dummies clothing patterns.
While many local sewing stores offer classes, it isn't always possible to take one. You can learn on your own- youtube will be your best friend. I also recommend burdastyle who has some great how-tos that go from beginner to advanced. There are tons of blogs as well- look for ones with lots of pictures and easy to follow explanations. What I recommend:
1. You should learn how to pin patterns properly, cut properly, etc. For instance, when you cut your fabric needs to be flat on the table and your scissors held so the finger-holes are perfectly vertical. Most people naturally cut at an angle- but this won't work when sewing.
2. Fabric and thread can be expensive, and why spend a ton of money on practice? Start by sewing up and down the blue lines on binder paper. Don't thread your machine- all you want to do is practice foot-control and straight lines. The needle will leave a little dashed puncture line so you can see where you were and if you did a good line or not. And no waste of materials. Once you got that down, step up to coloring pages. Get the simple ones for toddlers (like the ones you color with the fat crayons, lol). These have a few simple curves and you will learn to sew curves and what to do when two lines intersect. Again, no materials wasted.
3. Start with simple, not small. Fashion sewing (clothing) is the hardest to do. I recommend starting off with things where size doesn't matter: pillow cases, cushion covers, simple handbags (like totes and grocery bags). Pajama bottoms and baby summer dresses (the infamous pillowcase dress comes to mind) can also be done by a beginner. Quilts with squares and rectangles can be made, but the smaller 2x2 squares can get pretty fiddly so you may want to start off with much bigger squares.
4. To see if you are moving up a level, make a full apron. One with a ruffle, or pockets, or something with detail work (or all the above). Try a beginning sewing pattern from the shops (fyi burda also does free patterns you download at home). If you got that, move onto learning how to put in a basic zipper- those makeup bags and pencil cases are awesome for this and there are a bizillion tutorials online. Once you got that down, the rest of your sewing advancement comes naturally and with practice, practice, practice.
5. Realize that many times it isn't you, it's the cheap machine. It is stupid to pay $600 for a machine when you are learning and still deciding if you like to sew. How do you even know what kind of machine to buy if you don't know what kind of sewing you like to do? The cheaper machines are infamous for jamming, snapping thread, having funky loops on the bottom side of the stitching (tension control problem). If this happens to you (and it happens to all of us), remind yourself it's the machine, not you, take a deep breath, and move on.
I taught myself how to sew. I got the Sewing For Dummies book and it helped me a lot at the beginning. You need to be fearless and have the mindset that if you mess something up, it's only fabric (so hold off on that $100 a yard Chanel fabric!).
I started sewing cloth diapers and an apron and realized that wasn't for me, my heart was in garment sewing. So, I went ahead and bought patterns labeled "Easy" and got to it. Eventually I bought fitting books and actually tried to make things fit me as opposed to sewing right out of the envelope.
Aussie*s_Mom: Someone posted THIS LINK a few weeks back.
lindeenwedding: This is a great book. Pretty much covers everything you listed.
CollegeGrrl219: I like the Singer Complete Guide to Sewing. It has several full color illustrations that are helpful about fabric types, needles, etc. It seems to be almost exactly what you are looking for.
Go to Google and just do some searches about how to sew and watch some videos. There are a ton of things out there. I started by buying some really cheap fabric and just practiced sewing straight lines. I also did some reading to figure out what tools I would really need, like a rotary cutter, which is wonderful!
The first really simple project that I did that I'm not even that crazy about, but was good for learning how to follow sewing directions and sew straight lines was this one: http://tinyurl.com/ms9qdk
Some sites that have easy projects:
And then also if you're interested in home decor, be sure to check out http://www.thenester.com and www.livingwithlindsay.com
Joann's has classes as well, but I haven't taken one yet.
Step 1: Read your owner's manual.
Step 2: I highly recommend the Singer's Complete Guide to Sewing. I know you have a Brother, but the Singer book has some universal tips in it.
Step 3: Craftster.org has a community section of message boards where I have found tons of tutorials on how to make easy stuff without buying patterns. I have learned a lot there, whether you are a quilter or a clothing person, they have it all there.
Step 4: Get thee to a library.
Step 5: Find other sewing nerds and make friends with them.
Have you ever sewn before? Do you know how to thread and use the bobbin on your machine? If the answer to both of those is yes I just recommend starting with something fun but simple. Maybe bean bags for your kids or burp clothes for your baby.
When I first got my machine I hadn't sewn since middle school and I had completely forgotten how to thread my bobbin! Plus it was a different type of bobbin then I was used to. So I had to re-learn. My manual was crap so instead I just went to YouTube and typed in "how to thread a sewing machine" and found some great videos. Then I clicked on other videos to get an idea on how to troubleshoot my machine and do some advanced things with it. But if you bought your machine from a sewing shop check to see if they offer classes. Often if you buy from the store they will offer free classes for you. If your machine came from another source you can still go to your local sewing shop (even Joann's) and ask if they offer classes and sign up for a small fee (I find usually $15-40 depending on the class). To me that wasn't worth it considering I was able to find similar classes on YouTube, but it sure would have been helpful to have someone there to ask questions to!
JoyGotDots: I took a class and found it a great way to start. There are also online tutorials and books, it just depends on how you prefer to learn.
1Thess517: I got one for Christmas last year, and my mom and I went to the (really nice) quilt shop in town and bought enough fat quarters for two crib-sized quilts and a fat quarter book (fat quarters are 18"x22") and we just went at it. lol We both just picked easy patterns (mine was a strip quilt and Mom's was just a block pattern) and sewed the rest of the weekend. Most people will recommend going to a class, but I am a better learn-by-doing person.
It depends on what you want to make. If you are interested in making clothes, I would try to take a class, either at a community college or a sewing store. If no classes near you, start out with an elastic waist skirt and then a simple t-shirt. That will teach you to sew both on solids and knits.
If you want to quilt, an intro class at a quilting store is great but if not, start with a baby sized quilt. A single irish chain is a good first quilt. http://quilting.about.com/od/blockofthemonth/ss/iris h_chain_3.htm or http://www.quilt.com/Blocks/IrishChain/IrishChain.html
Aussie*s_Mom: I took a class at a sew shop and learned a lot.
I learn by doing. I started off by making several variations of the fat quarter handbag from http://sewmamasew.com/blog2/?p=737
And then I practiced making a basic straight skirt with darts, a side slit, and a zipper. That taught me a lot. (Simplicity 2906)
Well actually, the next thing I attempted was a wrap dress, I don't know why, but I spent like a freaking week and got the collar and everything right, and then the last step was putting on sleeves and they looked like crap, so it's still sitting unfinished in my closet.
Now I'm making a couple more in different fabrics, working to improve my accuracy. Then I'm going to work on some pants and a skirt from a different pattern. Pattern companies make easy lines, like It's Sew Easy, etc. and they're a good place to start.
My biggest issue when I started was mastering the fine art of sewing in a ***straight*** line. I've heard suggestions that you can start by practicing straight lines on a fabric with thin stripes.
ourbabylove2010: I made pillow cases to get familiar with the machine. I would recommend taking a class, if one is available, because I depended heavily on my mom to help me learn.
I'M NEW TO SEWING, WHAT SEWING MACHINE SHOULD I GET?
cmeon_the_water: This is the one a bunch of us picked up on Overstock recently. I love it- very easy to use, and I've been using it almost daily this month. It's got a lot of fun features, too. Another very popular beginner's Brother is the CS6000i, and this is its brother (more stitch functions and a basic alphabet)! It comes with the same manual. :)
jesss10: I would go for an entry level machine from Janome, Baby Lock, or Bernina. My best advice is to go to the dealers in your area and see what they have to offer. Definitely get it from a dealer because they usually offer classes and support if you need it.
Aussie*s_Mom: Ditto. I HIGHLY suggest buying from a dealer. FYI, Brother makes Baby Lock. I've owned several Brother's (not several because they were crapping out, I just kept upgrading) and I've been happy with each one that I got from our local dealer. My first Brother was a machine my MIL bought me for Christmas from Walmart for $60 and it was junk (you definitely will get what you pay for). If I higher end machine seems out of your price range, ask about pre-owned machines. When someone upgrades, the shop will sell the machine that was traded in after it's been looked over and cleaned up.
hunniapple: My starter machine was a Kenmore - it's $179 at Sears. The reason I like it is that it's affordable but it has tons of stithch functions and a crazy assortment of feet you can buy to learn new things without worrying about having to upgrade down the line to another machine if you don't want to. Its really sturdy - Have had it for about 8 years and never had a problem with it. You can also drop the feed dogs for quilting.
gigglegurls10: I have worked with many machines (I have been a sewing teacher for the past 5 years) My personal feeling is that brothers and any other machines with plastic bobbin mechanisms are not worth it if you are looking to have your machine for a long time. Yes they do sew nicely and the drop in bobbin feature is nice but the plastic mechanisms wear down and stop catching the top thread (this is with a lot of use, I have 10 students using our machines per day, so the wear and tear is times 10 as well). I really like my 10 year old Janome, its a basic model and gets the job done. We just got Singer 1507 WC's in my classroom which are pretty basic but sew very nicely. Good luck finding you new machine!
catgal: I have a HuskyStar E20 (Huskvarna/Viking) that I've had for about 5 years. When I bought it, I needed one right away since I was getting too frustrated with my 50 year old Singer (bought it used) and I was in the middle of a project. The HuskyStar cost about $150 and is a very basic machine. The bobbin mechanism is metal and I haven't had any trouble with it at all. I will be upgrading at the end of Thanksgiving, since that was the intention when I bought the HuskyStar. I'd definitly recommend this one.
WHERE CAN I BUY FABRIC ONLINE?
I've included links to sites that Nesties have recommended at one time or another. Hawthorne Threads was, far and away, the most commonly recommended resource, but all of these have come with at least one Nestie endorsement. I've also included a few comments that I thought were helpful and summed up the general sentiment on some of these sites. I opted to leave out the full range of comments because it just got repetitive.
rikkiandjulie: etsy. fabricdepot.com I <333333. It's a portland based store, but they have a great website.
raza13: joanne's fabric has a good online selection. and they are constantly sending coupons to my inbox for online items. there is also a site called fatquarterbundles.com that seems promising. i haven't bought anything from them though.
xnickerx: I second hawthorne threads. They have amazing customer service, great pricing, fabulous selection, and the coolest "color picker" option so you can easily match fabrics.
stephm0188: Hawthorne Threads has the BEST service, and their price breaks for frequent buyers are wonderful. I like fabricworm.com's selection, but the customer service is awful.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD BEGINNER SEWING PROJECTS?
This little taggie toy was my first completed project, just yesterday- my 3mo LOVES it, and I don't think anything is easier. Follow the link to my blog post about it for a link to the tutorial I used, if you need one. It's extra cool because it has a layer of crinkle material inside, so it's noisy. ;)
I'll make her a normal sized taggie blanket soon, once I have the balls to work with the furry minky fabric I bought to back it! LOL
I came super close to finishing this dress today- a very easy project. The only part that's giving me issues is the straps, I'm not that great at sewing such thin pieces yet, so I think I'm just going to use ribbons instead.
And I know I want to make a bunch of these, once Gwen is old enough for skirts- so cute, and a very good tutorial!
drh's_biogirl: Definitely pick a fabric that is not slippery and not stretchy. Cotton or a non-stretching cotton/polyester blend. What about pajama pants? little girl nightgown? pillow covers? basic curtains? tote bag? Burp cloths are good and so are aprons.
These children's aprons are super easy: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2007/03/20/dishtowel-aprons
And I love making these crayon rolls: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2007/04/25/on-a-roll
snowday!: Ditto pajama pants. Find a pattern that has pockets and an elastic waist. The pieces are big, so you won't get into any tight spots trying to put it together. Fitting problems are minimal or non-existent. I'm a big fan of starting with a simple garment. Ditto cotton and flannel.
I'd go with a tote bag or pajama pants. I started my friend with a tote bag.
If you go with an apron, make sure you pick a very easy pattern. I have nightmares of my "two-hour" apron that took 8 hours. That would not be good for a beginner. It it has ruffles and such. A really simple half-apron would be very easy.
kat.in.the.hat: PJ pants are a great start! This is my go to pattern - Simplicity
SpartanGirl: I made pajama pants from this 15 minute tutorial - Easy Pajama Pants. It was very simple and turned out great! I had never sewn any clothing before. I used a flannel fabric, and it was easy to sew with.
jinxed8605: Pillow cases are nice and easy, simple tote/purse patterns. There are lots of patterns you can find at the crafting stores that tell you difficulty on them. Hope that helps!
marytini: This pair of PJ pants. I used a pattern, probably simplicity. I really don't sew clothing, so I don't know if it was the right choice for a first project, but I did become better acquainted with my sewing machine and I guess that is really the point for a first project. I still hate paper patterns to this day. I prefer online tutorials.
jenifairies: Taggie blanket (with minky- that was fun!) and a dress (from a pattern - again, just shoot me) for my DD. I made them both at the same time.
xnickerx: A skirt with an elastic waist.
1Thess517: A Christmas crib quilt in a rail fence pattern. So easy and a good way to start.
franklintngirl: sewmamasew.com has some great projects
Love Sew, Mama, Sew, and curtains are a good project too. I'm a nano-step above beginner (only do straight lines, mostly piecing simple quilts) and found this apron to be a great learning project: http://sew4home.com/projects/kitchen-linens/341-patio-party-groovy-hostess- apron. Took me a little while to figure it all out the first time, but it turned out super cute and now I am making them for all my friends!
I also really like this bag tutorial: http://happythings.typepad.com/happythings/200 6/04/dsb_101_simple_.html. SUPER easy but cute and functional!
I don't sew but what about these?
This one looks easy and would be good for first time sewing, plus it would make great presents if you know anyone having a baby soon
Gracielufreebush: Cute ideas. I was going to suggest anything that will let you try out the various stitches you can do. Home decor is great for practice. Lots of strait lines and embellishments. I think the first thing I made were pillows or curtains. Have fun playing with your machine.
I'm new to sewing too, and if you are, then I would suggest you practice just sewing straight lines and get to know your machine before you jump into a project. It sounds goofy, but it takes a little practice to read instructions and understand them!
coasters - http://foofanagle.wordpress.com/2007/05/06/simple-coasters/
tons of tutorials - http://everythingyourmamamade.com/2009/12/11/84-tutorials-for-the-home/
MsJeshka: A pillow is a good beginner project. I'd call myself a beginner sewer and I've made an apron, a pillow and a very basic quilt.
prncschrsty: I started with bibs & burp cloths for my friends with babies. It was easy b/c they were straight lines.
June24Bride: burp clothes, pillows, curtains, aprons, and repairs mostly
fb98yh62dc08yh: Do a mini blanket/baby blanket, pillow cases, simple quilt.
JeniLovesNeil: Congrats!! I just got my frist sewing machine, too, and I signed up for Sewing in Baby Steps through Frugal Family Fun Blog. It's free, and each day she emails you a little project to practice with.
1Thess517: [This] bag is SERIOUSLY cute and EASY! Great beginner project for sure. I changed a couple things (like the handles since I didn't have twill tape), but I love it and I'm going to make a ton more! :) http://www.chubbyhobby.com/make-and-create/market-tote-tutorial/
WHAT SEWING ESSENTIALS DO I NEED?
magnetic pin cushion
scissors (used ONLY for cutting fabric!)
marking chalk or disappearing ink pen
KNITTING & CROCHET
KNIT vs. CROCHET: WHICH SHOULD I LEARN FIRST AND HOW? (plus some suggestions for left-handers)
There's an easier aspect to each of them. Knitting only requires you to essentially learn 2 stitches, while it's more like 6 for crochet. Crocheting goes faster, but it burns 30% more yarn.
I don't think it matters which you try first.
I preferred learning the basics from a real person vs a book/video.
If you're going to learn to knit, have them teach you right-handed knitting. As someone once told me, you can then walk into any yarn store and get help. Hardly anyone will be able to help you if you knit left-handed. For crochet, it's easier to look at a RH crocheter and just flip the technique.
farmwifeks: I am also left handed and find that crocheting is a lot easier. I was taught right handed and then converted to left myself. I taught myself to knit right handed so that I don't have to rewrite patterns. Though knitting is becoming easier it's still requires more thought to do things right handed.
Personally I think that crocheting is easier to learn because you are only keeping track of one stitch at a time and you are only working with one hand/needle/hook not two. Though there are more stitches they are basically variations of the same stitch. I had a friend teach me how to chain and double stitch but I learned the rest by reading. lionbrand.com is a very helpful website for patterns and detailed instructions and videos. The ladies here are also very helpful so come back with questions when you need help.
I'm left-handed as well, and I third the advice to go ahead and learn the right handed method. That way you don't have to reverse patterns and people are willing to help you.
I learned knitting first. I'm not great at crochet, but I think that has more to do with my instruction than the skill itself.
I crochet, and often think I'd like to learn to knit, but haven't pursued it.
I learned chain, single, double & triple in about 30 minutes from my aunt while holding the hook and a ball of yarn she handed me. When I left her, I picked up two different books and basically finish teaching myself. I didn't get much out of watching a video, but some can learn that way.
I agree with Dr. whichever you pursue, get someone to show you the basics while you're holding the needles or hook. I think the hand motions through the stitch is essential.
I think you'll probably find a variety of different answers...
I find crocheting easier, but like knitting better. I just find knitted things more aesthetically pleasing. (though I crochet better...go figure).
Crocheting - I think it's easier.
No suggestions on the last two. Except: if you can take a class, I'd do that. I'm usually more at ease if I can get feedback.
I learned to knit first (a few years ago) and finally learned to crochet just last week. For me, learning some of the more advanced knitting stitches and patterns was/is a lot harder than learning the advanced crochet ones so you might want professional help while learning how to knit. However, if I was going to do it again I might learn to crochet first since for me it seems easier. Plus crocheting is faster and therefore more gratifying for a beginner.
All in all, if you want to jump into making hats/scarves/blankets with fun patterns I'd do crocheting. But if you're afraid you won't be any good at either, I'd take the class in knitting.
Hope that helps!
I'm a crochet-er at heart... but I started knitting so I could make baby stuff for my friends. Knitted hats stretch WAY more than crochet ones so they're easier to get onto little baby heads.
If you're not craftily inclined, I think crochet is easier. You've only got one hook (as opposed to two needles) to deal with. I also like that I only have to keep track of one loop/stitch with crochet instead of dozens of dozens of loops/stitches with knitting.
So there's an argument for each side...
Rock-n-Voll: IMO, crochet is much easier to learn than knitting and if I were to recommend starting with one or the other, I'd go with crochet. As PP said, it's faster than knitting so you get more instant gratification, which I think is important for staying motivated when you're a beginner.
I learned crochet first and am just a beginner at knitting. Both are definitely worth knowing, so have fun learning!
mah482: My mom tried to teach me to crochet when I was 11. My edges were never even and it was frustrating. In college, a friend of mine taught me to knit, which I thought was much easier. Of course, I'm trying to learn to knit socks and the book I have uses 5 needles (4 to hold the stitches, one to knit with) and it confuses me.
Reinedumonde: I've been knitting a lot longer than I've been crocheting. Crochet is probably better for a beginner, with its instant gratification, etc. However, I strongly prefer knitting for the long run. I think it has greater versatility in terms of what you can do with it--stitch-wise and finished object-wise.
Dr.Loretta: Both! I do both, and I like switching back and forth. I think crochet is easier, but neither one is particularly difficult.
CollegeGrrl: It's probably six of one and half a dozen of the other. Crochet is my craft of choice since it only involves one needle. My grandma says knitting works up faster. Who knows. Try them both and see which one you like better.
lisam1217: I haven't learned to knit yet though that is on my to-do list. I love crocheting though. I just taught myself in the last month or so and it is fairly easy to learn. I learned basic stitches just out of books. This past weekend I crocheted a beanie with fox ears for my nephew for Christmas. It took maybe 6 or 7 hours total time (I'm sure that if I did it again, I would cut the time in half) and turned out really good.
I found knitting easier to learn, easier to do, and more importantly, easier to read the patterns. It's also easier for me to identify where I am in a knitting row and what side I'm looking at, what stitches I've just done in knitting than crochet.
I can do both but I can't read a crochet pattern to save my life.
Crochet, honestly, is much faster and even mindless.
I say you try both and see which one strikes your fancy.
Crochet is easier to learn imho, because like HS says it's fairly mindless. You can start working on a project and you don't have to think much about it until it's done or you're changing yarn/stitches. I learned to crochet a long time ago but have only recently learned to knit. As much as knitting makes my hands hurt, I like it better because it forces me to focus on what I'm doing so my projects are more even and look like they're supposed to. I'm a tight crocheter, which is a problem (but one of my daughter's favorite things is a scarf I made her, it's a total disaster but she loves it).
Right now I'm working on a bunch of newborn hats for the caps for good campaign.
Maybe take a beginner class on each and then decide which you'd like to get more instruction on?
melrrr: I've been knitting for 10 years now and I can't do much more than single crochet. My opinion is that with knitting there's really only two stitches to learn, but with crochet there is a lot more to learn. I've tried learning for books and from friends, but no go. I'm sticking to knitting!
Johlise: Personally I don't think they are easier or harder to learn.. I can do both. My only think that I do find easier with crochetting is if you are doing something round, it seems less complicated crochetting than knitting. Then again I haven't tried knit something round, just the though of having to use several needles freaks me out already lol
Aimee8314: I prefer crochet because it's faster (for me at least). Most of the common stitches are variations of the same stitch - so you can do a lot more than you think you can. Of course, my MIL has tried to teach me to knit a few times - and I CAN (for awhile) but I always have to be shown again - I find I can't just pick up where I was (and I can't go back and fix an error...but that might be a learning curve).
Why I personally like knitting better:
- I can't keep the tension while crocheting, so my projects never lay nicely
- With crocheting, I can't see the variation of stitches well enough to figure out where to put my hook
- I can knit simple rows without looking because I can feel along the needles for the next stitch, which could be nice for when you're riding and don't want to miss the scenery. (or if you're like me and get carsick if you look down at something for too long)
That being said, since you're confined to such a small space, crocheting might be a better fit because you'd just have to stash the yarn and one little needle instead of cramming two long ones back into a bag or whatever you keep your project in. [Reinedumonde's response to this: "This is why I started knitting almost all of my projects on circular needles. They are easier on your wrists and fit in my purse much better than straights!"]
They're both great- I think a lot of fiber people end up doing both, because they're both useful in their own way.
And knitting in the round is no harder than crocheting in the round- you don't need DPNs- you can do magic loop on a long circular set or split a project across a pair of circs (my favorite for most small diameter projects). DPNs really aren't so bad, either, once you get used to them. :)
I usually have several projects going at once- right now I'm knitting a hat for my son and crocheting a shrug for my daughter. I can knit without watching my hands when a pattern isn't complicated, but, I can't do the same with crochet- so, there are times that knitting is easier for me to do than crochet. Most of the projects I use crochet for are pretty fast, though- so, I do feel like sometimes crochet goes more quickly. It does chew up yarn, though- something like 25-35% more yarn in crochet, depending on the stitch patterns.
jennyann28: Like PPs said, there is no "better". I've attempted to learn both. Crochet is the only one that stuck. With crochet I've made hats, gloves/mittens, afghans, sweaters, toys, dishcloths, slippers, and I'm currently working on a pillow and a basket. So it's pretty versatile. Good luck with whichever you choose!
charlatti: There's really no "better" -- it's just what you prefer. Learning to crochet was easier for me, but that's probably because my mom taught me. Each craft has its uses. You can definitely make wearables out of crochet if you choose the right fiber and pattern, and you can crochet lace and cables and all sort of interesting stitches. There are tons of people doing gorgeous crochet work. You can also do all of that with knitting, probably with less effort because IMO there are a lot more lovely knitting patterns available. I love the fabric that knitting creates, but I really enjoy crocheting and creating things that way too. Totally up to personal preference.
HOW DO I LEARN TO KNIT?
Rock-n-Voll: www.knittinghelp.com has some very helpful videos and tutorials. YouTube is also a good resource.
Psalm_23: You will get different opinions on this board, but I would suggest getting yourself a pair of knitting needles and a light colored skein of yarn (yellow or pink work great), and start watching YouTube videos. The basic 4 things to start are: Cast On, knit, purl, and cast off. I'm still a pretty beginner knitter and youtube worked great for me. But, if the videos aren't working, try a book. Two good ones are "Stitch'n'Bitch" and "Teach Yourself Visually Knitting". Then, if you are still struggling, you can try a class if you are still interested.
Dr.Loretta: It depends on how you learn best. Videos are def a good option. I learn best by learning from someone. AC Moore has classes, and you might be able to convince someone at your local yarn store to teach you for free/cheap. Mine has sit n knits twice a week and it's only $5 to show up.
HarrietNJMommy: I would really recommend a class at least in the beginning. A human can tell you what you are doing right/wrong and can teach you how to "fix" things in knitting. A book or youtube can't do that. After you get the basics down pat, you can learn different things from books, etc.
MrsJuneHawk: I taught myself to knit recently (I started some time in October I think). I found the "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting" DVD incredibly helpful. It was actually the first thing I watched. I got it from the library. I also watched a DVD called "Teen Knit Cafe" (I think). That one was annoying at times, it IS targeting teens, but it put everything in very simple terms. I use YouTube a lot when there is something I don't know how to do. I don't think classes are necessary at all.
WHERE DO I BUY YARN ONLINE?
I've included two responses in this section that sum up some of the most popular online yarn sites, particularly those in PMeg819's response.
PMeg819: I personally like to order from http://www.yarnmarket.com, http://www.yarn.com, or http://www.knitpicks.com. I've never had anything but fabulous, quick service from those companies. Yarn.com is the online store for a brick and mortar store, Webs.
WHERE CAN I FIND KNIT/CROCHET PATTERNS ONLINE?
This section was put together by Rock-n-Voll. Note that most mass yarn manufacturers (e.g. LionBrand, Bernat, etc.) offer free patterns on their sites. If you have more favorite sites to contribute, please page Rock-n-Voll on the board.
Ravelry: This a great knit/crochet community site with tons of resources. There's a huge pattern library (both free and paid), the ability to queue up projects, a place to upload your finished objects or works in progress, message boards, etc. You need to sign up and it takes a few days to get approved but it's worth the wait.
LionBrand: Tons of great free patterns, as well as paid options. The site is very easy to use and the pictures, instructions, and rating system are all very good and helpful.
Bernat: Not as user-friendly as LionBrand's site, but offers some good projects.
Crochet Pattern Central
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT DIE CUT MACHINE OPTIONS?
This information was kindly provided by Nestie hunniapple. Each link provides good comparative information across a variety of popular die cut machines.
This link might be a couple of years old judging by the picture of a dated version of the Cricut personal machine, but it does include pics of each type of machine and good written descriptions: http://www.scrapbookscrapbook.com/scrapbook- die-cut-machines-info.html
This link presents a ton of stats in chart format: http://www.paperthreads.com/bonus/paperthre ads_machine_compare_112008.html
CAN ANY OF THE MACHINES CUT A DESIGN I CREATE MYSELF? CAN THEY CUT FABRIC?
I've only used an Expression, and only for a few weeks at that so my knowledge is limited but here goes...
1) The expression can cut home made designs and clipart but you have to buy Sure Cuts A Lot or Make the Cut software and a printer cable to connect the cricut to your computer. Whether this voids the warranty or not, IDK but some say it does.
2) I hear it can cut heavy cardstock, vinyl, chipboard etc... There are tutorials on how to cut fabric as well. I think for the heavier stuff you need to buy a deep cut blade and the housing for it separately. I haven't tried it yet, but I really want to try making some wall decals and fabric appliques!
I am new at this though, so take what I say with a grain of salt...LOL Hope this helps!
The Cricut can definitely cut fabric- but, it performs best on non-stretchy fabric, with an iron-on interfacing, and multi-cut. The Cricut is cartridge based- but, 3rd party software can be purchased that lets you cut anything you want to.
I really wanted a Silhouette, as it's a more accurate cutting machine- but, I never found any proof that it can manage cutting fabric or thicker materials. It isn't cartridge based, though- but, I'm not sure if the software it comes with will allow you to do everything 3rd party software allows.
I don't know much about the Sizzix E-clips, but, I do know it can cut fabric that's been interfaced and that it's a cartridge based machine.
There are tons and tons of other electronic cutters on the market, though. I have a Cricut Expression and so far, it's done everything I want it to with Make the Cut software- I don't bother with cartridges (I can cut anything from any of them without owning them, if I really want to).
I have a Pazzles Inspiration machine, which I chose because it's not cartridge based, it cuts up to 12 inches wide (silhouette only cuts up to 9), and their software seemed to be the best available. I have not cut fabric, but plenty of people on the pazzles forums have, so as long as you use a sharp blade, a fresh mat, and stiff fabric I don't think it would be a problem.
Kasi80: There are videos on YouTube that walk you through the process. It takes some work though.
pilotswife2008: The pazzles mat be the one you wanna go with it does everything.. Paper, cardstock, wood, metal, and fabric.. DH was gonna get me one for Christmas but from what I have seen it's not MAC compatible yet.
REGULAR CRICUT VS. CRICUT EXPRESSION—WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
They all can pretty much do the same thing. The major difference is how big they can cut. They all can be used with the markers, design studio (computer software), and the gypsy (hand held design gadget).
The Personal (I wouldn't pay more than 75.00-100.00) smaller easy to travel with has a handle. Can cut 1 inch – 6 inches.
Create—Same size as the personal. Cuts 1/4 inch to 11.5 inches. Has a few similar features as the Expression (flip, landscape, fit to page, center point). Big Lots has them for 130.00 but puts them on sale for 100.00 (I think next weekend they're putting them on sale). I would not pay more than 150.00 for this machine.
The Expression is the big mama! It can cut 1/4 inch to 23.5 inches. Using the standard mat it cuts up to 12 inches. You can get a longer mat that allows you to cut 12.5-23.5 inches. It is a larger machine. It does not travel as easily. HSN does have some good deals for everything that is included.
I started with a Personal and upgraded to a Create when I found a great deal. My principal purchased an expression for me at school. I use the Create the most. I travel a good bit with mine so that's probably why I am biased. I have not needed the expression for scrapbooking but it is nice if you are planning on making boxes. Let me know if you have any questions.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR CRICUT?
MrsStubbs: I have used my sisters for baby shower banners and decor. I painted wood squares and then cut the letters out of paper and glued them on, it turned out cute. Cut a name out of contact paper and use glass etching to put names on pyrex pans. Cut out fabric for applique.
LaurenSweat: I don't scrapbook, I just use my cricut for crafts. I like to do glass etching, I made ornaments at Christmas, I use a lot of vinyl and do a lot of vinyl lettering and wall accents. I also have just started using freezer paper to make "silk screen" shirts and onesies.
jinxed8605: Right now, just scrapbooking and card making. I plan to expand into more fun things like party decor.
Amielu: Just about everything! Scrapbooking, card making, glass etching, cutting fabric, making ornaments, wall plaques, board books, notebooks.... I love it!
psyck: I made our Christmas cards with our Cricut, and will be making Valentines as well. I've made name signs for our office door at work,and have also used them for wedding/baby/party stuff. I love it!
WHERE DO YOU BUY CRICUT CARTRIDGES?
http://www.craft-e-corner.com http://www.customcrops.com http://www.ebay.com
WHAT CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE SILHOUETTE?>
hunniapple: I have neither but I have a pazzles, which like the silhouette does not use cartridges. Instead you can cut out any image you want from clip art, fonts on your computer, etc. I love it and love not being tied to cartridges - honestly the idea of having to possibly buy a new cartridge for each new project because the ones i have don't have what I need to cut scares me!
mermaidprincess073: Same. I love my pazzles. Its a little more money but its nice not having to buy carts.
I have the Silhouette and cannot say enough great things about it. No cartridges, cut all the free fonts you can download (thousands!) purchase shapes through your computer and for about 75-99 cents each. I particularly like that I purchase shapes individually because they are so cheap and I don't have to pay $30+ for a cartridge that I may only use one or two things on. To me, it's a waste of money and storage space.
As for cutting fabric - it really can be done. I have friends who have done it. You need a really stick mat but there are tutorials out there for it as well. They don't publicize that they do it because it's not "supposed" to be done, but it can work.
Also, they have a new blade out that cuts chipboard and other thick product like acrylic. Need to get this!
dejavu: I also have the Sil. I am not a huge crafter but it is so versatile that I can use it for su much (even the little i do). As PP said, you can use any clipart, font, anything you can find for free! and it will cut it. You don't have to buy a cartridge, but they do have an online store if you want to purchase shapes, etc. Not only does it cut, but it sketches, does vinyl, iron on, magnet paper, tattoos. I just love it!
WHERE CAN I BUY SCRAPBOOK SUPPLIES ONLINE?
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE CRAFT BLOGS?
stella_blu: We made customized beer glasses last year. Used the cricut to cut vinyl and used etching compound on them. I got the glasses at Bed Bath and Beyond. A 12 pack was only $10 and we gave each person a pair of glasses. Definitely affordable and not too hard.
Etched/Monogrammed Beer Mugs (purchased the beer mugs from the Dollar Tree).
I also plan on doing baskets (bought peach baskets from my local produce market for .50 each!!!) of homemade treats: Homemade Vanilla, Vanilla Peach Jam, Mini loaves of bread, cookies/candies, Jalapeno jelly (serve over cream cheese with crackers). I will also include a embellished kitchen towel.
You could do a binder or box of family recipes (include photos).
Family photo albums. (hello cricut owners!!!)
http://www.oneprettything.com (search for Christmas/holiday crafty gift ideas).
franklintngirl: This is what I am thinking of doing:
Pencil and paper holder
In years past I have sewn/given tote bags, coffee cozies, and toiletry bags.
For men: I sewed log carriers. I have also made golf shoe bags. I also make the toiletry bags in manly prints.
For coworkers, besides baked goods, I also make dog treats if they have a dog.
This is just a giant list of tutorials. Top Tutes of 2009
I'm sure there is more, I'll post if I think of them. All links above go to tutorials.
I glass etched a set of glasses for my mom for Mother's Day. I monogrammed them with K. She loved them!
Stella - instead of using the expensive Cricut vinyl, you can use contact paper.
Other items to glass-etch: glass baking pans, vases, wine bottles
Recipe sites (allrecipes.com, cooks.com)
Jar Recipes for: Instant Cappuccino, Hot Chocolate, Russian Tea, Cookies,Brownies, Soup...
Dr.Loretta: Knitted mittens with super chunky yarn. I'll try and find a link.
jillybean35: I'm going to attempt homemade vanilla extract. The recipe I saw was 24 vanilla beans, split almost all along the length of the bean, to a bottle of vodka. Set it in a dark place and shake occasionally. It takes a few months before it's strong enough. Put a bean or two into a small bottle and fill with the extract to give as gifts.
I made this soft book for my DS. It would be an awesome gift for young kids:
This 5-minute hairkerchief would be cute for little girls. I want to make some w/ my 6-yr-old niece: http://jchandmade.typepad.com/jcasapatterns/2009/12/5minute-hairkerchief.html
Quilted potholders: http://tipnut.com/potholder-patterns
Gretijean: I've been looking at making herb gardens for friends and family members. What I think I wll be doing is using little pots and putting them all in a basket or creat some sort of terrarium.... It is still a work in progress. :P
My crafts this year came from:
TXsun: did homemade hot chocolate mix in a jar, with custom labels too! Link
Superhero capes (tutorial here)
Scrapbook cookbook - Gather family recipes together and then print them by hand or via printer onto scrapbook paper. You can find all kinds of kitchen or food papers and embellishments if you look (try searching for kitchen, cookin', vegetables, fruit, food). Be sure to use all scrapbook papers/accessories/glues with no acid to prevent it from fading, as I promise it will be a family heirloom. If you want to you could also do one recipe from different family members and include a photo of the person with the recipe book (i.e. a photo of Grandma with her famous Fried Chicken). I usually include the name of the person contributing the recipe at the bottom of the page too if you are using contributed recipes. If you make it for a wedding/shower gift, I always make the last recipe, "Recipe for a happy marriage". Google it and you will find tons that you can use or modify/mesh together to make your own version. Usually you will want to do 1 to 3 at the most recipes per page. Anything more and it gets confusing. Also you can buy binders with dividers by category, so try to make groupings of recipes and then either make or buy dividers to categorize it, just like a real cookbook. You can also use a ribbon to make a bookmark. I was able to find cute metal spoon/fork embellishments that I looped the ribbon through.
WHAT IS PINTEREST?
As Pinterest describes itself, it’s “a place to catalog the things you love.” Rather than storing images or links to pictures to your computer that you find online, Pinterest lets you “pin” the pictures into an account. It stores the online location of those pictures so you can easily link back to where you originally found your inspiration. You can also follow others’ Pinterest boards, re-pin their things, and sort your interests into different categories.
HOW DO I GET A PINTEREST INVITATION?
You have to request an invitation from the website and wait a few days for it to come through, or get an invitation from an existing member. Please don't clutter the board with Pinterest invitation requests though, especially if you don't post regularly. Personally, I think I only waited a couple of days for the invitation to come through from Pinterest itself.