October 2010

Cabled Scarves

With winter fast approaching, cabled scarves make a great addition to your wardrobe.  The cabling makes a scarf warmer, thicker, smooshier.  (Note that by the same token, it also tends to use more yarn!)

As for gifting, most women are fine with cabled scarves.  But use caution when knitting a cabled scarf for a man.  In my experience, many men feel that a cabled scarf is a little too "showy" for their tastes.  (A lot of men feel like they're pushing it just by wearing a scarf in the first place.) 

If you have never seen a particular guy wearing a cabled scarf, then my advice is to ask them before you start knitting!

Target Hates Crafty Moms

How else to explain Target's 2010 Halloween commercial? 

In it, a clueless mom has made a lovably goofy Iron Man costume for her son.  She clicks the Tap Light on his chest and scampers off to get her camera.  At which point the Tap Light falls off.  The kid stares mournfully into the mirror.  Cut to Target's branded Iron Man costume (which I assume looks at least ten times crappier in real life than it does in the ads).

This commercial makes me sad on so many levels.  For one thing, for many (most?) people, Halloween is the one time a year they get crafty.  The months leading up to Halloween become a crafting frenzy of problem solving, adhesive and materials testing, design, and redesign. 

And Target craps on that.

Make a Halloween Advent Calendar

We make our Halloween Advent calendar before the first of the month and carry it through until October 31. However, just as ABC family waits to do their “13 Days of Halloween” special until the middle of the month, so too can families host their own advents later in the month. This may even make it more special—and if you include treats, like we do, it will make for less things you have to buy, too!

Charity Knitting

Knitting for charity is a great way to practice your skills, whittle down your stash, and brighten someone's day.  In some cases, your knitting can literally save a life!

Before you start on a project, be sure to check the organization's guidelines.  Some organizations take items which are knit only in acrylic, others accept only wool, and some will take either.  Sizes (kids or adults) and general color guidelines (bright colors or olive drab only) are also sometimes specified.

Be sure to include care instructions, if your item is for a group (like the Red Scarf Project) that accepts any fiber.  You may also want to include a self-addressed stamped postcard for the organization to mail back to you, so that you know they received it (and so that you can be put on their mailing list, where applicable).

Review: Family Fun Craft Kits

Family Fun magazine came out with some super cool-looking craft kits over the summer. (I noticed that they came out with some Halloween ones as well, for those who are interested.) Each kit included 7 different crafts totaling $7 for the whole kit, which isn’t bad at $1 per craft with all supplies (save for scissors) included. They were also only available at Wal-Mart, however, which isn’t great for people who don’t enjoy shopping there for ethical or other reasons.

We did buy each kit—an oceans theme, a camp theme, a rainy day theme, and a fairy theme. My daughter’s favorite was the ocean kit, while mine was probably the camp one. While each kit was imaginative and had some great ideas, there was a sure reason that they were so cheap.

Field Guide To Cheap Yarns That Aren't Really A Bargain

The best way to avoid being featured on an episode of "Hoarders" is to curate your stash carefully. 

Think of yourself as the border patrol, policing your stash at the point of entry.   I'm not saying you should never buy these, but you should definitely scrutinize your purchase carefully.

1. "I only wanted $10 of yarn, but it's free shipping if you buy $50!"

A lot of places offer free shipping or great discounts if you buy more than $50 of yarn.  (One particularly pernicious online discount yarn store has a minimum purchase amount of $50!)