Sustainable crafting skills are quickly becoming a lost art.
What was once passed down through generations and later taught to students in home economics classes is now widely considered a “craft of the past”—an unnecessary skill in this tech-savvy age.
Home economics classes are barely hanging in there at all. According to this NPR article, “In 2012 there were only 3.5 million students enrolled in FCS secondary programs, a decrease of 38 percent over a decade.”
We can imagine that number has only continued to decrease.
These skills—sewing, crocheting, knitting, spinning, weaving, quilting, woodworking, you name it—were once necessary for survival. A pioneer family had to know how to sew if they wanted to make it through a brutal midwest winter. If you needed a piece of furniture during life on the frontier, you were expected to make it yourself.
But with the advent of large scale machine-based production and a work culture that is primarily tech-heavy, many of these skills are becoming a lost art.
However, we don’t think these skills have to go extinct.
There are still those who are leading the way to revitalize interest in learning these skills, paving the way to teach a new generation of makers.
We’re sharing with you some resources for a few of these “lost arts.”
FIND A CLASS NEAR YOU.
The best way to learn a new skill is to give it a go yourself! A class is an excellent way to get guided, hands-on instruction.
But where to find a class?
We always suggest supporting local businesses, the lifeblood of a community. Check with your local crafting store first to see if they have any crafting classes available.
There also might be a local farm in your area that has a similar education model like we do at Stoney Creek Farm! We offer our Franklin, TN area neighbors regular classes covering common sustainable living topics.
If you do call the middle Tennessee area home, we invite you to join our upcoming Hand Quilting Class on Saturday, February 15! This class will introduce you to the basics of quilting, and you’ll also receive a large embroidery hoop for a small quilting project that you can take home with you.
Skillpop is another resource for finding classes near you. Located in several southeastern cities, including Charlotte, Atlanta, and Nashville, Skillpop hosts one-day classes for “creators, dreamers, and lifelong learners.”
Community colleges are another excellent resource for learning a fun new skill. Nashville Community College offers classes like Crochet Basics and Beginning Leather Craft.
Make it a fun social event by inviting a friend to join you!
TAKE A LOOK THROUGH YOUTUBE.
Anything you want to learn, Youtube has a video teaching you this!
While a video doesn’t allow the same sort of Q&A access that a class offers, it is still a great place to start learning a skill if you’re unable to make it to a class.
We’ve gathered a few helpful videos to help you begin learning the following skills:
The Made to Sew Youtube Channel has a large video library covering several sewing topics, including:
- Sewing for Beginners: How to Thread
- Sewing for Beginners: Sew Straight Line
- Sewing for Beginners: Understand Tension
If you’re new to quilting, begin with this video from Melanie Helm’s Youtube Channel:
Sew Yeah’s Youtube Channel offers a number of fun quilting tutorials for a number of patterns and projects. Check out some of these:
Melanie Helm’s Youtube Channel also has several tutorials related to crochet. Here are a few of these:
- Beginner Crochet Terminology: Reading Patterns Series
- Easy Granny Cluster Crochet Beanie—Beginner Friendly
- Easy Velvet Crochet Infinity Scarf Tutorial
Simply Handmade offers this weaving tutorial, as well as several other craft tutorials on her Youtube Channel:
Creativebug Studios also offers a great tutorial series for beginning weavers:
- Weaving for Beginners Part 1: Create the Loom with Annabel Wrigley
- Weaving for Beginners Part 2: Warp the Loom with Annabel Wrigley
- Weaving for Beginners Part 3: Start Weaving and Add Fringe with Annabel Wrigley
- Weaving for Beginners Part 4: Add Stripes and Geometric Shapes with Annabel Wrigley
Get out the power tools and have some fun with woodworking. This video from woodworking expert Steve Ramsey is a great place to start learning about this craft:
If you prefer to follow along with written instructions, there are several great blogs that provide step-by-step instructions for beginning crafts. Written by long-time craft experts, these blogs are a great resource to have on hand as you begin diving into your new hobby.
We’ve listed a few of these below.
- Made Everyday with Dana — fun tutorials from this blogger
- So Sew Easy — lots of tips, patterns, and tutorials found here
- Melly Sews — tutorials and weekly sewing inspiration
- Diary of a Quilter — tutorials, a pattern shop, and the cutest blog name
- A Quilting Life — whether a beginner or expert quilter, this is a great resource for you
- Christa Quilts — find patterns, online workshops, tutorials, and more
- Knitting and Crochet — with resources for both knitting and crochet, you can learn basics for both skills in one spot
- Crochet Crowd — tons of ideas, patterns, and tutorials
- Stitch & Unwind — a cute blog covering both crochet and knitting
- The Weaving Loom — check out this blog’s Beginner’s Guide to Weaving
- Peggy Osterkamp’s Weaving Blog — We can agree with this blog’s tagline: “Weaving should be fun!”
- The Rogue Weaver — a simple, helpful blog with plenty of posts and video tutorials
- Popular Woodworking — a magazine that covers all things woodworking, their website offers resources for projects, tools, techniques, and more
- Ana White — your space for woodworking projects & DIY furniture plans
- The House of Wood — free building plans and project ideas
Learning a new sustainable crafting skill is fun, great for your brain, and preserves an art form that can be passed down for generations to come!
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