x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Ten best crafting blogs

The crafting comeback has led to a boom in blogs offering inspiring ideas, projects to make and a place to show off your handiwork. Here are our favourites.

Yvonne Eijkenduijn of the Yvestown blog has created the Granny cushion. Courtesy of Yvonne Eijkenduijn
Yvonne Eijkenduijn of the Yvestown blog has created the Granny cushion. Courtesy of Yvonne Eijkenduijn

Craft Zine

Craft began as a magazine dedicated to celebrating the craft movement's renaissance. Its blog became so successful that it transformed into an enormous online resource reaching a million readers each month.

There is now a thriving community on the site, with reader forums and dedicated Twitter, Facebook and Flickr groups where fans can share their projects with one another as well as arrange to meet up in real life at Craft's Maker Faire, the world's largest DIY festival.

Most of the how-to projects, video tutorials and free patterns are on the main website now, but the original blog still runs beside it, featuring quirky ideas and craft finds from around the world.

We love: The jam jar lanterns made from non-toxic glow-stick liquid and vintage books turned into elegant iPhone charging stations.

http://blog.craftzine.com

Meet Me At Mike's

Writing from above her shop in Melbourne, Pip Lincolne has achieved enormous success through her blog. She's been nominated as one of Cosmopolitan's Women of the Year, voted one of the Top Most Influential Melbourne People and has just published her third book, Make Hey.

Her blog content is rich and varied, and her projects are never unrealistic or too ambitious to attempt. She states that she "likes nice things, but not perfect things" and doesn't want her house to look like the ones in magazines.

Her success is down to the fact that she has embraced and forged online crafting communities; her Brown Owls craft group movement meets up at events all over Australia to craft together. Worshipped by her followers, she is a real online crafting queen.

We love: Pip's multicoloured crazy crocheted blankets.

www.meetmeatmikes.com

Yvestown

The self-confessed Cath Kidston addict Yvonne Eijkenduijn runs her online realm from her home near the Dutch/Belgian border, blogging about her DIY renovations, cooking adventures and crafting projects. Her energy and enthusiasm are relentless. One day, she's stapling oilcloth on to a vintage table and giving it a lick of paint. The next, she's sewing cushions in the shape of letters and crocheting a blanket.

Yvonne has just opened a small craft shop to supply her many readers with colourful wool, her unique Ikea chair slipcover patterns and her stunning crochet creations. Her Pinterest and Tumblr blogs are well worth a peep for inspiration, too.

We love: Yvonne's starburst cushion covers. They're reminiscent of a vintage crocheted blanket but in fresh, modern colours.

www.yvestown.com

The Purl Bee

This is the blog of the enormous New York fibrecraft shop Purl Soho, bringing readers daily updates about new fabric designs, craft projects and events. Contributors post fun knitting projects and simple, step-by-step DIY projects. There is also the The Purl Beehive, where crafters can make and share their own blogs using website-publishing software from Squarespace. If you're a crafter who is not at all technologically savvy, this might be a good place to get started.

We love: The felted wool patchwork "quillow", a cross between a quilt and a pillow.

www.purlbee.com

Mr X Stitch

Jamie Chalmers started his blog in 2008 as a place to share cross stitch patterns. Three years later, he is known in the crafting world as the "premier man-broiderer", a title he claims to be "embracing with both tattooed arms".

This is not a blog to visit for cute cushions or lavender bags. Mr X Stitch and his team of eccentric contributors explore the eclectic, absurd and "alternative" side of crafting. Here you'll find regular features such as Quilty Pleasures, which celebrates fine examples of quilting and projects including "a Russian bear squid complete with a fez", plus some gory embroidered human organs.

There's also a monthly podcast about the world of stitching, which you can subscribe to on iTunes. Mr X is also a big supporter of Fine Cell Work, a charity that enables prisoners to embroider and sell home accessories to raise money.

We love: The computer emoticon cross stitched drinks coasters.

www.mrxstitch.com

Martha Stewart's The Crafts Department

Love her or loathe her, the American craft guru Martha Stewart has a great craft blog. Her talented team posts all manner of fun projects and ideas every day on this vast, slick and easy-to-navigate site.

There are some beautiful craft projects all studio styled but mostly achievable and always inspiring. Because it's American through and through, the crafters tend to get a bit carried away with events such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, and the cuter, traditional crafts are definitely the focus.

We love: The lace tiles project - so simple, but so effective.

http://thecraftsdept.marthastewart.com

Make And Do With Perri

Perri Lewis is well known in the British press for her how-to-make features, and her blog reflects her slightly rebellious crafting interests such as guerrilla knitting (covering statues with wool), yarn bombing and crochet graffiti.

She's carved out a niche for herself, posting her own craft discoveries as well as any craft-related news stories. She's an entertaining and engaging writer and there is always something interesting to see or read: a link to a page of vintage Singer sewing machines one day, a post about the launch of a new craft book the next, all accompanied by regular photos of her own projects.

We love: The amusing tweets and finger-on-the-pulse posts.

http://makeanddowithperri.wordpress.com

How About Orange

The graphic designer Jessica Jones uses her blog to share the best online DIY craft tutorials. If you want to find out how to make a 3D spherical paper lampshade or liven up the back of a boring door, this is the place to learn. It's a great all-in-one resource for crafters.

It also offers great free downloads: calendars, recipe cards, party invitations, business cards and desktop wallpapers. Jessica is into digital craft in a big way, so you'll find online scrapbooking resources, labels and images galore.

We love: The Time Wasters section, which is full of amusing or interesting quizzes, websites and tools.

http://howaboutorange.blogspot.com

Craft Fail

This highly entertaining blog is "where crafters go to fail". In a blog-o-sphere that sometimes appears to be full of angelic domestic goddesses sharing their perfect projects and taking themselves very seriously, it's reassuringly to know that the odd crafting disaster is normal.

Founded by the American Heather Mann, the site receives submissions of "epic craft fails" every day from all over the world. Posts such as How NOT to Stencil a Drawer, Creepy Pancake Man, and Beaded Torture Flip-Flops entertain and educate. One poor contributor writes that she had trouble submitting digital images of her disappointing (inside out) rag doll to the Craft Fail site: "I've even failed at trying to post on Craft Fail." So perhaps there's hope for all of us yet.

We love: The Totally Eighties Coral Yarn Fish. It's totally terrible.

www.craftfail.com

Not Martha

The Seattle-based blogger Megan Reardon started her fabulously named blog (the joke being that she is a long way from being the "domestic goddess" Martha Stewart) just this year. With a witty, down-to-earth writing style, she shares her craft and cookery projects, teaches her readers how to make weird and wonderful items - from felt flower corsages and under-door draught excluders to wine glass charms and, bizarrely, a "leprechaun trap cake".

One niggle is her frequent posts plugging Amazon. Despite her confession that they are "sometimes affiliate links", they can spoil an otherwise decent read.

We love: The tiny pies project. They're frozen and baked in mini jam jars.

www.notmartha.org