Story last updated at 1/14/2009 - 11:08 am
The future is here. 2009 has come blazing in - or in our case, freezing in - whether we crafters are ready for it or not. Though I may be a member of the latter party as I desperately cling to my unfinished '08 to-do lists, I do have room in my heart to embrace some other parts of the future. The future of craftology, technocrafts or cratechnofology is where I find comfort in an ever-expanding array of possibilities that lie before all crafters.
It is amazing to discover the vast influences of technology on craft, whether it is through sharing on the internet, computerized crafting machinery or new hi-tech materials now available for all. What is even more breathtaking is that some crafts survive in their simplicity through all these changes and technological advances. The two shine brightest together, improving the functions of craft while leaving their pure forms intact.
Inspiration is seeping out of every corner on the World Wide Web. When I open my browser I cringe slightly, knowing I will have a hard time leaving. Like thousands of crafters worldwide I am the proud owner of a crafting blog (a web log or personal website) on which I post projects, crafty photos and the like. I also have a hit list of craft blogs I visit daily including sites like whipup.net and designspongeonline.com. These blogs not only provide visual inspirations for projects, they have directions for projects themselves. Try The Long Thread's top 100 tutorials of 2008 for some adventures in crafting (thelongthread.com/?p=2021).
Outside of the blogosphere we Alaskans especially love the internet for purchasing supplies. Though buying local is always preferred, sometimes the perfect upholstery can only be found on sites like Reprodepot.com. Or, if you are adventurous and really computer-crafty Spoonflower.com will allow you to upload your own design and order yards of your custom-printed fabric.
If you'd like to try your hand at creating custom fabrics on a smaller scale there are many unique printable fabric products that can be done on your PC and inkjet printer at home. Some products print onto a surface that you iron onto your project, like an iron-on logo on a t-shirt, while others print directly onto a sheet of fabric that can be sewn directly into your craft, like a personalized photo quilt.
Some technologies that take a bit more investment can be equally rewarding. I myself am the proud owner of a knitting machine, a 4' wide "machine" that has a run of hooks along that easily creates flat knitted pieces, like scarves and sweaters. The speed surpasses hand-knitting by eons. Sewing, serging and embroidery machines have improved by leaps and bounds. These days a sewing machine can have a self-threading, self-bobbin loading, nearly self-sewing interface. Embroidery machines are even more wondrous with computer interfaces that come with hundreds of pre-loaded designs and many more easily customizable designs.
If all this technology talk has you feeling a bit out of your league, no worries. Crafting is the ultimate goal and no matter how you get there, handmade is at the heart.
Tanna Peters is a crafter and designer from Southeast Alaska. View her latest creations at suiteliving.blogspot.com and her shared site craftaddicts.blogspot.com. Send local craft inquiries and info to email@example.com.