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In search of a relaxing winter craft


January 30, 2012
Billie Shelton ( , The Daily Freeman Journal

I concur with this editor that winter is a great time to do crafts. I mean, what better way is there to pass the time on these long cold, winter evenings when it really isn't much fun to be anywhere that involves being outside for even the time it takes to get to or from a warm car?

The only trouble is, I'm really not much of a crafter. The closest I've come lately is when I embroidered three dishtowels for Christmas gifts, and that came about after I bought a whole packet of funky, 1950s-era embroidery transfers for a dime at a garage sale. They were old enough that not all of them would even transfer to the towel any longer, but I did find several I liked that worked, and I thought the project turned out just fine. They were fun to do, but I may have enjoyed it more without the deadline.

Besides, I would hardly call embroidery a craft. It's closer to an art, like knitting (which I used to know how to do) or crocheting or quilting. Then there's tatting, which is a serious art. My grandma, who didn't believe in idle hands, was a champion tatter. At my request, she tried to teach me to tat several times. Tatting, a series of knots, is a real challenge to master. If you make a mistake, you can't rip it out. You just throw the piece away and start over.

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That's why it's a challenge to learn and why I never mastered it.

While my daughter was growing up, we took on only an occasional craft project at home. As a leader for a Girl Scout troop for six years, I had to confront my aversion to crafts. We did do some crafts, of course, but there were many other program activities, too. What I remember most was how awful it was to need 20 googly eyes so each girl in the troop could make a cute little Thanksgiving turkey of their own, for instance, when there were only nine pairs available at the craft store. That's assuming, of course, that the eyes available were the right size and not 1/16 of an inch too big or too little.

And don't even get me started on what I think about glitter.

Now that I'm older than I was then, I'm thinking that doing some crafts might just be OK, as long as they don't need something like used bottle caps or bleach bottles. It's more the kind that involve sitting on the couch relaxing but keeping my hands busy. Like my grandma said, doing something with your hands helps one stay awake.



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