Category Archives: Craft Tips and Techniques

Craft Tips and Techniques

Tools: How to Use Thread Snips

Tools: How to Use Thread Snips | The Zen of Making

Thread snips—also called thread nippers, thread clippers, and thread cutters—are incredibly handy little scissors to have around your craft room or sewing studio. Perfect for sewers, multi-crafters, and yarn crafters alike, they’re compact, light, and made to be operated quickly (most are spring-loaded), making them ideal for snipping threads, notching fabric, or clipping yarn ends while you work.

Tools: How to Use Thread Snips | The Zen of Making

I love my own thread snips so much that I even designed a special scissors holder necklace so I can have them close at hand whenever I’m working. But, like all tools in the sewing room, knowing that thread snips are awesome in theory doesn’t do you a bit of good if you don’t actually know how to use them in practice. (And, at first glance, that’s not always obvious.) So, for those of you who’ve seen thread snips in craft stores and fabric shops but still aren’t quite sure how they work, I put together a couple of GIFs to show you how to hold them, how to move the blades, and how to use them to cut. I hope this helps solve some mysteries!

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Craft Tip: Keep Balls of Yarn Tidy with a Pair of Old Tights

Craft Tip: Keep Balls of Yarn Tidy with a Pair of Old Tights | The Zen of Making

I’m working on a Color Affection shawl right now, and, while the knitting is super-easy, several weeks of juggling three separate balls of a particularly cranky linen/cotton blend has been just about enough to make me cry. So, after the 23rd time or so that the center-pull ball of my main color went supernova without warning (read: collapsed, then exploded around everything else in my project bag), my fiber-addled brain started coming up with some rather elaborate yarn-containment solutions. Luckily, before I went too far down the crazy invention rabbit hole, I remembered that tights existed, and my sanity was saved.

Craft Tip: Keep Balls of Yarn Tidy with a Pair of Old Tights | The Zen of Making

Is your yarn running amok? Do you have a drawer full of old tights (or stockings or hose or nylons) that should never again see the light of day? Perfect—we’ve just solved both your yarn and your tights-hoarding problems! Because, turns out, there’s no better place for your misbehaving balls of yarn to be than nestled snugly in the toes of old [clean] hosiery.

Here’s how it’s done:

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Knitting and Crocheting with a Plan

Knitting with a Plan | The Zen of Making

When you’re knitting or crocheting in the real world (read: with all manor of kids, pets, co-workers, friends, and spouses underfoot), there are tons of opportunities for things to go terribly, terribly wrong. But, thankfully, they don’t have to.

If you’ve ever snapped at your partner for interrupting you in the middle of a row or cried as you ripped out a lace repeat for the sixth damn time because you just keep getting distracted and losing your place, this post is for you.

Note: I use knitting in my examples below, but the same tips and tricks for staying on track can also be used for crochet projects. (Obviously, this excludes the bits about counting the number of stitches on your needles. Unless, of course, you’re working on some Tunisian crochet.)

Knitting with a Plan | The Zen of Making

Know Your Rows: Make a Row and Stitch Count List:

Unless you’re knitting in the quietest, coziest, most distraction-free nook imaginable, at some point, you’re going to lose your place in your pattern. And, when you do, you’ll probably consider screaming, crying, and/or indulging in some delightfully creative swearing. (We’ve all been there, so feel free to share your favorite knitting-related expletives in the comments. In case you’re wondering, I tend to alternate between dropping a good old fashioned F-bomb and yelling something hilariously old-timey like “CONSARNIT!” when I experience an epic knitting fail.)

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TZoM on Threadbanger: Crochet Basics with Twinkie Chan + Haley

TZoM on Threadbanger: Crochet Basics with Twinkie Chan + Haley | The Zen of Making

What happens when the Threadbanger crew comes over to play? A whole lot of yarn-y awesomeness, that’s what!

Check out the super-adorable Twinkie Chan and her fantastic studio (see also: her incredible crochet-related rap video), then stick around as I invite Threadbanger into my own studio space for a little bit of crochet 101.

Are you a tight hooker? Because, I’m definitely a tight hooker. (Watch the video and this will all make sense, I swear!)