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Craft kits

Originally published in the Ketchikan Daily News, October 2020; written by Lisa Pearson.

Winter is coming, and it’s a good time to find things to do inside. If you’ve ever browsed through our collection of art and craft books, you know that we have hundreds and hundreds of books on everything from acrylic painting to zentangle. Sometimes, however, trying out a new craft can be a little daunting. What book should I read? What tools and supplies do I need to begin? And do I want to bother buying all the supplies if I’m not sure I’m going to even like this craft?

With all that in mind, the library has created a brand new collection of Craft Explorer kits for adults. These kits are not designed to complete a specific project, but rather to allow you to “test-drive” a craft to see if you enjoy it before you purchase the necessary tools and supplies. Because the kits include small pieces and sharp objects (i.e. needles), they are only intended for adult use.

Each kit comes with an introductory book full of tips, techniques and easy project ideas. The kit also contains the basic tools you will need to do the craft, as well a little ‘starter set’ of necessary supplies. For instance, the Pastels kit comes with a tabletop easel, a backing board, a set of 50 oil pastel crayons, an eraser, a couple of sheets of sketching paper, and the book “Pastels for the absolute beginner” by Rebecca de Mendonca.

The Embroidery kit comes with a set of wooden hoops in 5 different sizes, a selection of needles, thread bobbins, a seam ripper, embroidery scissors, a thimble, 8 skeins of embroidery thread, a piece of muslin and the book “First time embroidery and cross-stitch: the absolute beginner's guide” by Linda Wyszynski. We also have kits for acrylic painting, crocheting, felting, knitting, loom knitting, quilling, watercolor painting, and weaving. That last kit comes with a little table-top loom and 2 different kinds of yarn to create a nice contrasting pattern.

Each kit checks out for 3 weeks, and is non-renewable. Once you’ve tried out your craft, if it’s something you would like to pursue further, we encourage you to check out the books and videos we have in our crafting section. Feel free to email us a photo of your initial foray into the craft; we would love to post it on our Facebook and Instagram pages (we can keep the photo anonymous, if you would prefer).

Another way to stretch your creativity and crafting skills is by checking out our YouTube channel. Since the beginning of April we have been making videos on cooking, sewing, crafting and general home activities for our Facebook and Instagram pages, and we have archived them on YouTube for easier searching. The DIY With Gayle playlist includes things like sewing face masks, making pincushions out of old teacups, using discarded books to make Halloween witches and pumpkins, painting furniture, and sewing bookbags.

If you’re not quite ready to experiment with a new type of crafting, but you’re looking for a fun and easy activity to do at home, we have take-home craft bags for adults (the Children’s library has been offering Family Maker Bags for months now; you can pick one up at the Children’s desk). Our current adult craft is ‘paper mosaics’, and we offer a new theme every other week. Next month we will be offering mobiles and ‘thank-you’ bracelets. These Adult Take-Home crafts are available at the front desk while supplies last, and they do not require a high level of crafting ability (I try out every take-home craft myself, and if I can make them, any adult can!)

It’s been a tough year, but the staff at the Ketchikan Public Library would like to help make the winter months easier with new activities and new ways to exercise your creativity. Happy crafting!

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