Warm Weather Crafts
Crafts for hot climates with Rachel Hobson.
Five years ago, when I was moving to steamy Austin from chilly San Francisco, I was really worried about my crafty future. I was an avid knitter, who was used to being able to bust out a wool blanket or fuzzy hat in any season, and I knew I would need to branch out. I joined my local Stitch N' Bitch, ran by craft goddess Vickie Howell, and was delighted to see that knitters persevered here, even through the warm months. Air conditioning really helps, and I was happy to see on Vickie's website that there are projects you can pursue poolside.
For the first three years or so I lived here, I maintained my monogamous relationship to knitting. It wasn't until this year that I picked up embroidery, and just in time for the hot weather. Lightweight and portable, there is never any need to adjust your projects with the seasons.
Curious about whether or not other stitchers made allowances for the changing seasons, I had a chat with Austin's own Rachel Hobson, aka Average Jane Crafter. You can find Rachel on the web as a contributer for Craft Zine and on her blog. In person, she teaches classes here in Austin at the Stitch Lab and she will be at the upcoming Maker Faire in San Francisco.
Interview with Rachel Hobson:
Now that I can do other crafts I realize that embroidery is pretty much the perfect summer craft. Do you find that your crafting changes during the hot months?
I am actually very hot-natured, which is why I don't knit. :) The thought of sitting and working with a lap full of yarn kinda makes my skin crawl, so I tend to stick with hot-weather-friendly crafts year 'round. One thing that changes during the summer for me is the addition or more kid-related crafts. My kids are out of school, so that means more crafting with them!
Which months are you most inspired to make things?
Any and every month! When it's fall and getting cold, I'm inspired to make winter holiday crafts or gifts. When it's spring, I'm inspired to make new, fresh crafts. When it's summer, I'm inspired to make anything that will keep me indoors and out of the heat.
Do your design preferences change?
Sometimes - I can see myself going for "cozier" motifs or projects in the fall and winter months, and tend to gravitate toward light and airy feeling projects in the spring and summer.
What other crafts do you do?
I pretty much stick to embroidery - I just can't get enough of it. If I'm not hand-stitching, though, you can find me behind the sewing machine. I also love to do collage and revamp thrift store finds.
What are you working on now?
One big thing I'm working on is cleaning out and reorganizing and decorating my home office/studio. I hit the spring cleaning hard and have been working on getting my office the way I really want it to be. It's a long process, but I'm looking forward to finally having it all put together. As always, I'm working on loads of embroidery. I'm teaching classes and am making samples to use as displays for the classes, as well as some gifts and projects for my kids. There are always several hoops working around here. ;)
In your travels (Portland, etc) do you think weather and location affect crafting? Have you noticed any notable regional differences?
I think my friends up north can stretch out the knitting/crochet season a little longer than we Texans can. Also, my friend, Sarah of Sewer-Sewist, has done some great rain-related projects, including a raincoat for her sweet dog. Rain-related crafts are something you don't see much- if any - of here in Austin. ;)
Who are your favorite crafters?
Gosh - there are so many! I'm constantly blown away by the work I see in the Flickr Embroidery Group - there is just some seriously amazing stuff happening over there. Some of my best crafty friends are Diane Gilleland of Crafty Pod, and her mom, Pam Harris of Gingerbread Snowflakes. I love that Diane and Pam craft together as often as possible, and I also love that they do all kinds of crafts. Some of my favorite paper crafters are Patricia Zapata of A Little Hut and Jeff Rudell from CraftStylish. I don't do much in the way of paper crafting, but I love seeing what these amazing artists do with paper and exacto blades. I've also been enjoying The Object Project blog, where she makes pattern pieces from everyday objects. Kim Werker inspires me not only in crochet (which I am still struggling with) but also with writing and building community. Kathie and Bernadette of Future Craft Collective inspire me to think green and to see the big picture lessons that can be handed down to kids when you are crafting. I also love watching what Mimi Kirchner does with felt and stitching - her work is amazing. Honestly, I could go on and on and on as I am constantly inspired by crafters across the planet - big names or unknowns.
Have you seen any great summer crafts out there?
I like this condiment caddy made from industrial light covers - great for picnics! This is such a sweet (and popular) refashion, and is perfect for summer. Here's a cute picnic basket cover made from an old quilt, and we're also going to have a great Summer Craft Camp series on Craftzine starting later this week - we'll have loads of kid-friendly crafts for the summer!
You can find out more about Rachel on her blog, Average Jane Crafter. (Space Cadet: "Embroidered using Sublime Stitching Spaced Out Pattern".)