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  • Writer's picturePhil

A to Z of Crafts

Hey all, here's an A-Z of crafts compilation covering some craft favourites, crafty knowledge, a little bit of history, mythology and other ideas. This blog is just a starter for ten, the world of Google provides much more in-depth explanation of each and every craft you could possible imagine. I hope you enjoy the read and it provides you with some inspiration to get crafting - please leave a comment at the bottom and share your favourite crafts.

A. Art or Craft.

There are numerous descriptions on the difference between Art and Craft. Art may be considered as the end product of producing an expression of emotion, it's the output of your creativity. Craft as the act of using skill to mould materials into a new form, producing an object that itself could constitute art or may be a practical item made from an artisan technique. Ie you may craft a metal statue or equally craft a bone handled flint knife.

B. Basket Weaving.

Malleable strips of material can be weaved to form useful items such as baskets, bags, chairs or even shoes. Traditionally fibres from organic materials such as pine and willow have been used to create baskets, a base with 'spokes' (imagine a bike wheel without the outer rim and tyre) is formed. Fibres are then weaved in and out of the spokes and tightened as the basket is formed.

C. Crochet.

Crochet is arguably an easier craft to pick up than knitting and it is also an affordable craft for beginners. Using a single hook and wool you can form pieces through simple knot techniques. Attempting a scarf or baby blanket is a great achievable place to start and your end creation will make a perfect handmade gift.

D. Decoupage.

If you have a pair of scissors, some magazines, some glue, a brush and a little imagination then decoupage is the craft for you. It can be used to decorate an object by simply dreaming up the image/style you'd like to create, cut out the necessary pieces, glue to the object and then varnish.

Using specialist glue and paper can achieve a more professional finish or just get stuck in materials you have to hand, especially when getting the kids involved.

E. Engraving.

Engraving is the craft of marking material to produce a design. This could be on a plaque, vessel, jewellery or anything really. Usually engraving is completed on a metallic substrate but any hard material can be used to capture the imagery.

Research shows engraving started as a craft in the 1400's, however cave markings may be considered as a form of engraving - and the earliest cave markings date back over 37,000 years.

F. Flower Pressing.

This is a great craft to do at home with the kids. Pick some beautiful flowers, and place them between two sheets of absorbent paper, kitchen roll will work. Place between a pile of heavy books and leave until the flowers are dry (usually around 2 days).

The technique may be used to preserve flowers received for a special occasion or to produce decorative flowers for cards.

G. Glassblowing.

Glassblowing dates back as long ago as the Roman empire; however, remains one of the more specialist and higher entry point crafts, unless you do happen to have a furnace..

Molten glass from the furnace is gathered onto the end of a blowpipe, the blowpipe is then spun as the crafter (lampworker or glassblower) blows down the pipe to form the glass object. The glass is continuously reheated in the furnace and worked until the creation is complete.

H. Holly Wreath Making.

Time to get festive. There are a number of methods to making holly wreaths, I personally prefer to avoid using plastics and foams, instead using natural and recyclable materials.

Using a metal ring frame as the base, layer moss and fix by wrapping with wire or string. Once a firm moss ring is created, decorate using locally sourced holly and/or other available evergreens. Take holly cuttings, wrap wire around the stem and push the wire into the moss ring to fix. You may wish to finish with some additional decorative touches, such as pine cones, again fix these using wire or string.

Watch your fingers throughout, holly is spiky and sharp!

I. Ironwork.

The iron age was circa 3000 years ago and was the time that humans first started to forge tools and weapons from iron. Typically an anvil and hammer are used by a blacksmith to form heated iron into the desired shape. The iron ore is usually mixed with other alloys to improve the material properties (eg forming steel) and during the working process techniques such as quenching (rapid cooling of the material) may be performed to further adjust the material properties as desired.

J. Jewellery Making.

The variety in crafting jewellery, in terms of materials and methods, is endless. From seashell earring to 24 carat gold rings, daisy chain necklaces to diamond broaches there's something for everyone. Here at Crafty You Crafty Me we have designed polymer clay kits which are a great introduction to jewellery making before you get a little more adventurous with the blow torch and unleash your metallurgy skills.

K. Knitting.

If you're reading this blog I'm sure you'll be familiar with knitting already. Knitting is the craft of turning yarn (see Y) into garments and/or fabric.

The word 'knitting' is derived from the old english word for knot and this sums up the process really. There are hundreds of different stitches and combinations which can create a whole array of designs. Using knitting needles the yarn is worked into knots to form fabric in the desired shape and pattern.

L. Longstitch.

The longstitch technique allows a pattern to be produced very quickly and easily. It is an embroidery method where the length of the stitch covers the maximum length of that colour in the image being created, rather than multiple stitches being used.

M. Mosaics.

Humans have been creating mosaics for over 5000 years, the earliest found were made using stones, shells and ivory and found at temple sites. Most people relate mosaics with the stunning examples the Romans produced over 2000 years ago made predominantly from natural stone and pottery, with the occasional use of glass and marble.

To be able to support the continuation of this ancient craft is amazing, although with our kits using wooden backings I can't promise that they will last 5 millennium!

N. Needle Felting.

Felting, in terms of reshaping animal fibres, has been around since at least the neolithic period (~10,000 years ago). The method was used to turn material from animals into bedding and clothing. Over the years since the methods to produce felt have developed to enable finer material to be made and more detailed shapes to be created, including the use of barbed needles enabling needle felting.

This improvement in techniques has enabled felt to be utilised for numerous applications including in musical instruments and cars, but surely the best use is to craft cute needle felted figures!

O. Origami.

Origami is a Japanese craft based on folding paper, Ori literally meaning folding. The craft of Origami has been perfected for over 500 years, with the traditional model to form being the crane. Some of the creations made simply from a square of paper and a pair of hands are really quite stunning.

P. Pottery.

There is something very therapeutic about moulding clay on a potter's wheel. The amazing thing about pottery, in addition to the beautiful pot, jugs and urns that can be handcrafted with immaculate artwork and glazing, is the importance of the craft to archaeology.

Fragments of pottery found at archaeological sites can be used to date the existence of cultures as well as informing of their wealth and economic status, technological advancement, religious beliefs and diet. These aspects and many more can all be derived based on the potteries shape, material, finish, artwork and contents.

For it's usefulness both in terms of intent at point of creation and for archaeological purposes thousands of years later, pottery must be one of the most important and beneficial of all crafts - your comments and counterproposals are very welcome.

Q. Quilting.

The craft of creating a quilt by sewing together multiply layers of fabric with batting in between. Batting or wadding is the material that provides the quilt with its softness and warmth, there are a number of options of batting material and its crucial to chose the right one (and thickness) for you.

R. Rope Making.

Rope making is another historic craft that is used all over the place in our daily lives. Forms of rope can be found in use over many diverse situations, from tug-of-war to ships rigging to suspension bridges. Rope is formed by twisting together strands of materials to create a stronger product. Ie twisting together multiply lengths of yarn.

S. Sewing.

The use of a needle and thread to join material together sounds simple enough, but dependent on the strength of the join, and the aesthetic finish you are after, the stitch that you chose can be crucial. Not to mention the hundereds of purely decorative stitches that can be used to add a little sparkle to your work. A few cornerstone stitches can be found in our stitch guide.

T. Tea.

I did consider tapestry but couldn't ignore the vital element for all crafting activities, tea! (and maybe a slice of cake).

U. Upcycling.

Upcycling is an amazing way to craft some beautiful pieces for very low cost - using materials that would otherwise be waste and adding to the ever growing landfills. Projects may vary from refurbishing an old chair to taking a selection of quite random items and creating something stunning, Ie with some old plant pots, coat hangers and paint you can craft a plant pot family to add some character to your garden.

V. Vulcan.

Among other things Vulcan was the Roman god of metalworking and the forge, being depicted by the blacksmiths hammer. Vulcan was the patron of craftsmen and a master of metallurgy and handicraft. If you'd like to know more take a look here:

W. Wellbeing.

Craft is fantastic for wellbeing and mental health and we write about it further in our Benefits of Craft post.

Craft generally requires some level of concentration, which means it provides a great distraction from whatever else is going on in our lives which in turn gives our brains a chance to relax. There's also a fair amount of repetition in craft, whether that's placing mosaic tile, stabbing felting wool or sewing stitches. This is surprisingly therapeutic and a great way to help you unwind. ​

X. Xanthophobia.

Ok, maybe a stretch this one! Xanthophobia is the phobia of the colour Yellow, derived from the Greek for yellow, Xanthos. So keep that in mind next time you start crafting a felted bee or clay sunflower. If you have any better 'X' suggestions please leave a comment.

Y. Yarn Dyeing.

In the UK the words yarn and wool are used quite interchangeably. For the purpose of this blog, wool is the soft hair taken from the fleece of an animal such as a sheep. Yarn is a product spun from wool, or other materials, used for crafts such as knitting.

To dye wool yarn the first step is to soak in an acidic substance for roughly 30 minutes, this alters the pH level of the yarn and allows the dye to be soaked into and retained. Don't worry the 'acidic substance can be as simple as vinegar.

Next apply your chosen dyes in the style you desire, eg solid or patterned. Finally you'll need to heat your yarn to adhere the dye.

Z. Zzzz Zzzz.

After all that crafting it's time for a well earned rest.

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