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PostPosted: 01 Dec 2010, 14:08 
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Grand Poobah
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http://local.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-do ... d=26212858

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People are turning to their own devices and hip social groups to craft cool -- we mean it -- homespun wares.

Not your typicall homebodies, these crafters are sew cool and social.
Not that long ago, crafting was strictly for fluffy old ladies with too many doilies, cats and cotton balls. No more. Modern crafters drink booze while they knit bikinis. They crochet, but aren't crotchety. They wrap parking meters in knitted cozies like crusading street artists. And they stitch and really bitch, then sell their adorable wares on Etsy instead of at church bazaars.

It's a crafting revolution out there. If you're not with us, well, then you're missing out.

Austin
Perhaps you've seen it in your own neighborhood: a stop sign, bike rack, parking meter or some other object of urban life wrapped in knitting. Brightly colored and strangely snuggly, these pieces of knit graffiti have started to appear not only around America but all over the world, as far afield as the Great Wall of China.


Plug your coins into these colorful meters cozied up by Knitta Please in Austin, Texas.


The phenomenon started in 2005 with Knitta Please. Founder Magda Sayeg began with a knit cozy for the door to her building then covered the stop sign pole down the street and found she couldn't stop. She and her crew are "taking knitting out of the home and into the streets," warming up the cold, sometimes bleak, urban environment while with fuzzy yarn and bright colors. Along the way, Knitta Please has inspired countless others to decorate their landscapes with uncommissioned blossoms of knits and purls, called "yarnbombing."

Austin's clearly a hub for this burgeoning craft movement. In 2003, nine fabulous women, each with her own independent crafting business, banded together to form the Austin Craft Mafia. Together, they support, promote and advise each other about their businesses, which range from handmade jewelry from the Naughty Secretary Club to fiercely adorable needlework patterns from Sublime Stitching. Other Craft Mafias have since sprung up around the US and the world.

An ambitious aim such as "Keep Austin Knitting" demands a tee shirt. In this case it's one made by adorable yarn store The Knitting Nest. Voted the Best New Local Business by The Austin Chronicle when it opened in 2008, the store continues to serve its lofty mission: "The knitting community is an awesome force and when we all get together in person and combine our creativity, I will be expecting nothing less than a solution for world peace."Chicago
Blogger and knitter Allyson Dykhuizen crafts for the Sweatshop of Love, which includes tons of rad knitting projects. Dykhuizen, too, crafts in reaction to our harsh contemporary world: "I think young people are crafting because our generation is more computer-oriented than ever, so it's even more important to us to break away from that while we aren't at work and create." Well, that, and "with the super modern, young and fun patterns out there being written by young knitters and knitwear designers, knitting doesn't have to mean old." Dykhuizen's own ebook of lively patterns for summer knitwear offers some inspired sunny looks.


Cool winter knits from Sweatshop of Love keep Chicago looking hot.
A lot of crafters are women, but certainly not all. Another Chicago-based knitter and blogger (photographer, cartoonist and incredibly funny guy) is Franklin Habit, who writes the Panopticon. His mischievous chatter on knitting and life is a hoot, and puts to rest any granny knitter stereotypes you may still hold. It's worth a read for the continuing adventures of Dolores, a delightful cocktail-drinking sheep, alone. Habit's book "It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons" reflects all too accurately the humor that can arise from a true knitting passion.

Not all awesome crafters must be young things trapped in cubicles by day and on pins and needles by night. This fall, intrepid seamstress Ruth Ratke of St. Charles, Ill., pledged to sew 1000 Dresses by Thanksgiving. The dresses will be made out of new and used pillowcases. Her community is getting in on the project, too, with local fashion design classes, cheerleading troupes and others helping collect donated pillowcases and even sewing. The finished dresses will go to children in Africa and the Philippines.
Philadelphia
Mimicking the Robert Mitchum character's LOVE and HATE knuckle tattoos in The Night of the Hunter, Northern Liberties-based crafting group Stitch & Sip chose a photo of knit and purl inked hands to showcase their badass crafting. Described simply as "a group for those who knit, crochet and drink," they meet in bars and keep their hands busy tossing back drinks and tying yarns.

The "No Libs" neighborhood, as the locals call it, attracts hipsters, so it's no surprise to see the cool shop Art Star here. Half boutique and half gallery, Art Star features handmade artwork of all kinds, to wear, snuggle, hang, eat off and admire. Exhibitions rotate every six weeks, so this trendy shop keeps repeat visits fresh.

There's still knitting going on outside the city. The Philly Burbs Stitch 'n Bitch claims "It's not your Grandma's knitting circle!" This is the place to go to meet "other hipster knitters (and crocheters and various other stitch witcheries too)." Founded in 2004, the group has stitched and bitched its way through nearly 300 official meetups and is still going strong.

> Find Philadelphia news | weather | movies & events


Taking a class at Spacecraft Brooklyn is a great way to make friends and wearable art.
New York
You can stop whenever you want to. You don't have to keep knitting. It's not an addiction. Crochet just one more hat. Make one last pair of earrings. Ask the Craftaholic just how difficult it can be to hang up your pinking shears. Her ambition is to "bring to the world a desire and inspiration to create art, because art enriches your life and creates peace within you." Sounds good? Check out the Craftaholic's School of Art and Creativity, where "like-minded, sassy individuals" gather to "knit, make art, draw, collage, make jewelry, embroider, sew, make shrines, have art supply swaps and make paper crafts of all kinds!" Peace and sass, together at last.

There's no better way to launch your crafting hobby or career than a trip to Spacecraft Brooklyn. Defined as "n. a vehicle designed to craft in space," this is the place to go for hard-to-find supplies and books on crafting as well as both practical and kitschy stuff, from yarn to leather to wood to clay and more. Eco-conscious crafters can purchase tree-free papers. Those looking for a project can join in the daily walk-in crafting projects for kids and grown-ups of all skill levels. You're encouraged to "Knit yourself a rocket!!!" Seems no project really is too big for these folks.

Men Who Craft
The craft movement may be primarily female, but guy crafters are making inroads. While most groups certainly welcome guys who craft, many men crafters are finding male-bonding online. Men Who Knit is all about "promoting and inspiring the art of knitting amongst men."

The Butch Craft movement is returning manliness to the prospect of making stuff with your hands. Described as "the infusion of a cerebral-yet-virile narrative applied to rough work crafted in wood, iron, steel, marble, rust, paint, boiled leather, clay, baked agricultural waste, plant-life, gypsum drywall, and blood, sweat, and tears," the movement even had a fall 2010 exhibition at the Moss Gallery in SoHo. Not a crocheted earring, parking meter cozy or ruffle in sight.

Hacker spaces are also catering to dudes with a DIY edge. At these communal studios, men and women share tools and tips for making anything from a souped up bike to a robot.

Craft On

It's clear that crafters of all stripes are here to stay, so get used to it. Or find a craft group or online community or create one yourself, and join the fun. From cause-driven crafting to hipster fashion to craft blogs, in on the streets and online, people are finding ways to express themselves by making objects of utility and beauty.


links at site.

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Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!


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