Comfortable craftsmanship to help you relax and online tools to make your job easier

This winter has us hibernating more than usual, and people continue to turn to hobbies not only to pass the time and do something creative, but also as a source of comfort.

The whole process of making and creating is very therapeutic, says Arounna Khounnoraj, owner of Bookhou, an art studio and boutique in Toronto selling handmade products, including crafting kits including tools and creative materials. “Everybody’s crouched down, so it’s a great time to start a new hobby and do something creative,” says Khounnoraj, whose crafting kits and tools were their biggest sellers last year. . “People don’t want to have to search for all the necessary items to start a project, they want to buy everything together.”

Online marketplaces such as Etsy have also seen a surge in interest in arts and crafts items, with searches on Etsy Canada for craft kits up 242% in the past three months, says Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s trend expert. “People are looking for new ways to relax and recharge, away from technology. Occupying our hands and minds with something new not only acts as a calming distraction from the outside world, but also provides an outlet for creative expression.

From weaving to candle making to arm knitting, here are some cozy creations to help you pass the time and feel a little more relaxed, with ready-made kits you can buy online and have it delivered to your door as well as online tutorials and workshops to help you learn from the comfort of your own home.

knit without needles

The best thing about finger and arm knitting is that you don’t even need any tools to get started: just your two hands, says Anne Weil, author of the book “Knitting Without Needles.”

“Creating something beautiful out of nothing but a ball of yarn is magic,” says Weil.

For finger knitting, use a slightly thicker yarn, but not too thick because it has to go over and around your fingers. and for arm knitting, the trick is to use yarn thick enough to create full stitches while using your arms as needles, Weil says. Learn either skill online, with photo tutorials and videos on Weil’s blog, where she sells patterns and instructions on how to knit blankets, floor beanbags, cowls and cowls. baskets. Watch how-to videos on We Are Knitters or Wool and the Gang, and buy yarn from local yarn shops such as Knit-O-Matic.

Online courses have made learning to weave more accessible, says Johanna Cordero.

Weaving

When the pandemic forced Johana Cordero to temporarily close her Toronto studio where she teaches weaving, she switched to teaching virtual workshops and found that online classes made learning her craft more accessible – allowing people to learn the ancient art of weaving from anywhere. “There is something magical about weaving. You can immerse yourself so much because it’s such a natural and very stimulating thing,” says Cordero, who studied at NSCAD (Nova Scotia College of Art and Design) in Nova Scotia before returning to Toronto to open his studio there. four years ago. .

To get started, you need a weaving frame. Make one using things you have at home — something as simple as cardboard, a metal coat hanger, an embroidery hoop, or even sticks found in your yard can be used as a frame, Cordero says . Start small; her mini kit comes with frame, needle, tapestry comb and thread at Loom Studio. You can weave with almost anything, Cordero says. “I’ve run workshops using upcycled fabrics from old clothes and textiles, and even plants.” Find weaving project kits at Blanc Laine, an Etsy shop run by textile artist Ariane Gatien based in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Quebec.

Soy wax kits with cotton wicks from Etsy shop Make This Universe come with fragrance blends and glass jars.

make candles

You can never have too many candles, so why not make your own? Store-bought candles can be full of chemicals – make your own and you’ll know exactly what’s in them. Soy wax kits with cotton wicks from Etsy shop Make This Universe come with fragrance blends and glass jars. “We figured out most of the hard stuff, by trial and error – such as the percentage of flavor, the proper wick, container size, and visual cues of when to pour – so you can just enjoy the manufacturing process” says owner Jessye Grundlingh, an industrial designer who combined her love of craftsmanship and design to start her business creating modern, sustainably-made DIY kits.

Attention: SERENA WILLOUGHBY Comfort Crafting/Life/Get stitching/embroidery/Hook, Line & Tinker Credit: Laurie Dolhan

Get the seam

Sewing has a meditative quality and is accessible because all you need is a needle and thread, says Khounnoraj, author of “Visible Mending, a Modern Guide to Darning, Stitching and Patching the Clothes You Love,” published at spring 2020. mending is not the same as embroidery, which is purely decorative, the sewing trend is strong, with embroidery, sashiko mending (a Japanese mending technique) and patches with decorative stitching appearing on everything from jeans to pillows.

“Embroidery offers a way to use our hands, to create something, and the slow pace can be meditative,” says Alina Fedorowicz, owner of Ottawa-based Etsy shop The Hipster Stitcher and sells embroidery kits and patterns with floral motifs. “Sew a hoop, sew your clothes, sew on canvas or paper…anything that makes you feel whatever you want to feel in the moment,” says Laurie Dolhan, a self-proclaimed ocean lover whose nautical designs modern designs are available as a kit or printable embroidery design from her Etsy shop Hook, Line & Tinker. However, if prairies and mountains are more your style, check out the Creative Journeys kits from the Victoria, BC-based Etsy store, along with videos to teach you how to put them together. Find beautiful naturally dyed yarns for sashiko and embroidery at Botanica Tinctoria.

Jenny Sangeun Jee has combined her artistic training with horticultural therapy to create Flower Within You terrarium kits.

Make a terrarium

Jenny Sangeun Jee has combined her art training with horticultural therapy to create DIY terrarium kits at Flower Within You, so people can enjoy the experience of creating a miniature succulent or cacti garden. Horticultural therapy has been used to help conditions like depression and addiction, Jee says. “Making my own natural garden, touching the soils, feeling the nature and creating small art objects at home has made my day better. I hope everyone can recharge when they take breaks to make their own kits nature and see them in his home. There is no right or wrong way to design them. Kits come with a pot, succulent, soil, stones and healing crystals, gravel and tools.

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