6 Tips for Being Your Best Crafty Self!

I’m multi-craftual.

Yeah, that’s right. You can’t stick me in one little crafty box. I knit, crochet, sew and needle felt. I’ve dabbled in wheel-throwing (pottery), metal-working, quilting, spinning, locker hooking, embroidery, beading and tatting. And depending on your definition of ‘craft’, you should add baking, cheese making and gardening to the list.

bead crochet

I’m irresistibly drawn to making things. But do you know what? If you’re not careful, being involved in oodles of crafts can be a messy business. What do you do with all of those tools? How do you find the time to do them all?

Here are my 6 tips for managing your multi-craftual-ness… follow these, and you’ll be crafting with ease!

1. Accept that your work won’t be perfect

If you’re multi-craftual, then you’re only spending a small percentage of your crafting time on any particular skill. So, if you show up to a quilting group, don’t worry that your skills aren’t as advanced as some other people in the group! They’ve probably put more time into practicing!

knitting two at a time on two circs

Instead, be proud of yourself that you’re trying out something new. Chances are, because you have so much crafting experience under your belt, you’re doing great for the level of quilting experience you have. Enjoy the learning process!

2. Be careful about stashing

If you’re a knitter, then it’s fine to buy and stash beautiful skeins of yarn. But what happens if start stashing yarn and fabric and beads and…

yarns

A mess.

When you’re multi-craftual, it’s extra important to reign in your stashing. Focus on making purchases when you have a project specifically planned.

3. Allow your skills to transfer, even if it makes you ‘different’

I began my needlework like as a crocheter. This means that I tension my yarn with my left hand. So, when I began knitting, it was natural for me to knit ‘continental’ (holding the yarn in my left hand).

As a beginner, a number of people told me that I should learn to throw (also called knitting ‘American’ or ‘English’), because it was easier, and learn ‘continental’ later. I ignored that advice, and I’m happy I did!

Knitting with Karbonz needles from Knitter's Pride Review

You see, I was already comfortable holding my yarn a certain way… why not roll with that? When you’re multi-craftual, you need to let your experience from other crafts transfer, even if it means you’re learning ‘a little funny’. Follow your gut!

4. Divide your crafting time

Some crafts are better to do at certain times. Maybe crocheting a washcloth is easy to do in front of the TV, but your intricate beading is best done under the good lighting in your bedroom. And your sewing is easiest on weekends when you can commandeer the dining room table for your machine.

sewing

Think about when your crafts are most suitable to do. And if you work on crafts when they’re easiest, you’ll find that less frustration comes your way.

5. Know when a craft needs to leave your house

I told you I dabbled in metal working. Did I buy a soldering iron and drill press? No.

I took a class at my local arts center, where renting the equipment was part of my class fee.

shaping metal

Not all of the crafts you do need to be in your house. Look for opportunities (including renting a sewing machine hours at a sewing shop) to do them outside of your living space. Not only will this provide a social opportunity, it saves space and a serious investment of money when you’re still just dabbling.

6. Find various groups

If you’re multi-craftual, it may be hard to find others who share all of your passions. But having others (either in real life or online) who support your crafts and inspire you is important to stay motivated and keep learning.

tim knitting

This is my adorable hubby knitting a swatch at a sit & stitch… a super-fun (and low-pressure!) event for knitters & crocheters!

You may need to join a knitting circle and find a sewing forum online to meet your needs. Look for groups that meet infrequently, since joining multiple weekly groups would be a serious time-commitment!

What are your crafts?

Are you multi-craftual too? What crafts are you into? Any tips for managing them? Do share!

19 replies on “6 Tips for Being Your Best Crafty Self!

  • Gwen Bortner

    Two things: First, you are right — your husband is adorable. And second, your #3 is a great point. As a left-hander who learned to crochet first, yarn in the right hand was more natural.

    As a teacher I always try to focus on making sure that students have the option to use “their method” and only provide gentle corrections if their method my prevent them from being successful in the future.

    And really — all 6 points are great! Thanks for sharing.

    • Profile photo of Stacey

      Stacey

      Thank you, Gwen! I can take absolutely no credit for the hubby… he came to me that way! His mom even taught him to knit :)

      And as always, you have a fab teaching philosophy!

  • Leslie

    This is a great post, Stacey! It’s funny because I was just lamenting about this to my co-worker yesterday… I am definitely multi-craftual, too, and have been finding it hard to divide my time up between all the things I want to make (especially gifts for family/friends).

    My combination of crafts are crochet, knitting, sewing and cross-stitch mainly, but I also have done bead/wire-wrapping jewelry and paper crafts. My stash is embarrassing! But I am trying to be better about using up the supplies I already have, and dividing my time to dabble a bit in each area. It’s especially hard when I work full-time and am not always the most energetic at night even though I want to do so much. I find it also helps to just think about enjoying the process and not focusing on having to finish everything asap. I have a few works in progress, a few queued up in the back of my mind, and I rotate around depending on how I feel that day. I still have a poor jumbo-sized choose your own dragon adventure that’s half-finished! Oops :)

    • Profile photo of Stacey

      Stacey

      Organization is the hardest part for me, too! Each craft has tools that are different sizes/take up different amounts of room. And who wants to organize when you could be crafting?!?

  • Susan

    I love the expression “multi-craftual;” I used to think I was the only one, lol.

    Now that I’m in my mid-sixties, I find that enjoying several media is better for my body than focusing on just one craft. My hands are recovering from repetitive-motion stress brought on by constant use of pliers in making chainmaille. Now I bead, spin fiber, quilt and I’m starting to weave small tapestries; each medium has different hand motions and that’s helping to keep my hands pain-free without medication. Now about those stashes…

    • Profile photo of Stacey

      Stacey

      That’s a great point, Susan! I don’t think it’s just age… at 30, my wrists ache if I crochet for hours on end :) I think you’re totally right that changing your crafts is a great solution to preventing repetitive stress.

  • Justine

    I’ve been knitting for decades and just learned to crochet earlier this year. But I disagree with you on stashing! The fact that I now have two ways to use yarn means that more than ever I don’t need to have a project in mind. Worsted yarn can be hats OR amigurumi OR a cowl OR who knows what! I like having a range of colors on hand so I can just dive into a quick project between the bigger ones. (I can afford this and I do use it up eventually.)

    • Profile photo of Stacey

      Stacey

      Yes, stashing yarn is great when both of your hobbies use yarn! I just meant that if you stash yarn AND fabric for sewing AND beads AND paper for paper-cutting… it can all be a bit much!

  • magsiesss

    I can certainly agree with all of the above points. I have a problem with my various stashes, yarn, fabric, beads, paints, even stones – and live in a miniscule place. An understanding hubby / partner is a “must”. Mine often asks me where we need to go and asks if I need to visit specific craft shops. I have no space left and hope to be able to have a HUGE shed next year on a bit of ground near us.

  • Jeanne

    I absolutely agree with you! I began knitting after crocheting, and I hold the yarn the same way you do. I don’t regret learning the other way one bit!

  • Midge

    I too am a multi-crafter that becomes frustrated wanting to do too many things all at once. If crocheting wasn’t enough, I want and enjoy crocheting jewelry and have way too many patterns of all kinds of crochet. I do pencil portraits, garden, sew, quilt and almost anything else. Can you imagine…..I am bored most of the time?? lol

  • Elisabeth

    Great tips Stacey! My tip is to keep the tools for myself but donate leftover or unused stash to church youth groups and other charitable organizations. There is always a craft need to be filled somewhere.

  • Elisabeth

    My other tip is to keep a digital timer on hand and set it for ten or twenty minutes per activity. For me, with my short attention span, A focused ten minutes is more productive than an unfocused hour.

  • Marsha

    I love this, and as the craft room grows and grows (and doesn’t hold any yarn or spinning fiber) I think #2 and I have to get closer. All of these had me nodding and saying yes, yes, exactly.

  • lucia thiel

    I’m a multi crafter, and though my room looks more like a Mini Micheals store, my stashes are all equal. and though no plans. thers plenty enough to make something quick, or take my time. Here are my crafts:

    Beading,Jewelery
    Dreamcatcher crafting
    Photography
    Painting
    Sketching
    graphic arts
    Crocheting
    Embroidery
    Knitting
    Cross stitching
    Sewing
    Pepakura
    Gardening And Home decorating

  • Kathy Brechin

    Thank you for this article. I was begining to think I had Craft ADD and wasn’t a true crafter – due to lacking discipline and not being an ardent student to one format. There are just so many clever ideas, I have now taken to journaling about future projects: so when I do find spare time I always have something on the go.

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