Thursday, September 11, 2014

Apple Cozies and the Craft/Crap Boundary

It was when I first saw a picture of an apple cozie that I realized the edge of the craft/crap envelope was getting pushed from useful and possibly ugly, to pointless. These can't really be used on fresh apples long for obvious reasons so maybe you put them on plastic apples? My grandma who had plastic slipcovers and feather flower arrangements would have loved that idea. The only thing I can think to do with apple cozies is to give them away. If you need a simple project to practice knitting or crochet there are many better ones all over the Internet. is a great site with many, many free and inexpensive patterns for knitting and crochet in all ranges of difficulty.

The magazine Mollie Makes was my wake-up call. If you search on Pinterest or Ravelry, you will see that people are actually making these. The second photo is a free pattern by someone trying to improve useless apple cozies by making them hideous as well. If you're looking for a project for children (and I fervently hope this is intended for children), give their parents a break and make something actually useful.

Other examples of insane cozies are: 

  1. Leg cozies - these leg warmers were from a January 2014 post, I kid you not. They're not even intended to be ironic.
  2. Mug cozies with nowhere to put your lips and the added benefit of getting covered in drips almost immediately. Most of these have huge buttons right where you need to put your fingers.
  3. Stretchy hot drink cozies that are an accident waiting to happen. (Brown) (Pink & Black)
  4. Steering wheel covers that will clearly slip when you try to turn the wheel.
  5. Stretchy knit beer bottle cozie with no bottom. This one is commercially made, but people are knitting these themselves. 
  6. Hand sanitizer cozie because anything you carry around should be as big as possible.
Finally the absolute dumbest - a snail cozie:
Did they hold the snail in place while they crocheted? Why would you want to do that and how many snails did they crush before they got this one right?

On the positive side:

This hot drink cozie looks like it will actually work and it's pretty. I would use a smaller button because the button in the photo will get in the way of your fingers and make it uncomfortable to hold the cup. This would be a good project for machine embroidery.

These felt cozies would make a great first sewing project (by hand or machine). The kids could decorate the felt before sewing, which really appeals to younger children. I've made similar projects with my daughter's elementary class and we all had a great time. Both boys and girls really got into it.

To end on a high note, I have also seen some awesome cozies.

Two turtles:

Six turtle collage: This link came from Pinterest and doesn't really go anywhere. I would love to see the actual crafter's site because these are so awesome. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hello from the peanut gallery

I have been following crafts on the Internet since the text only days, lo those many years ago. Before that I devoured books and magazines about all kinds of crafts. I am interested in knowing how everything is made even if I don't plan to try it myself. I want to know what products are out there and what their strengths and weaknesses are.

I am not artistic, but I am good with my hands. As an analytical thinker I am good at identifying why something isn't working out and then finding a solution to fix it. This has led me to trying all sorts of techniques and products over the years with varying success. I can't count all the projects where I've snatched defeat from the jaws of victory or saved from an ignoble death. I will probably share some of the various crafty type things I'm working on or techniques I'm using to make something better.

Crafting and DIY fads come and go. The Internet, like cable TV, has created a huge demand for content. For crafters this means large numbers of incredibly stupid projects, projects on blogs whose instructions aren't really expected to be followed, and projects that were specifically designed to take a nice photo. That doesn't even touch on the projects that were entirely or partially created by Photoshop. 

I can't stand it anymore. This blog is my cry in the wilderness. I am going to whine about mason jar crafts, plastic pumpkin crafts, the endless tie-dye projects that all look the same, wreaths, decorated shoes, cozies of all kinds, and anything else I see that is butt ugly or simply variations on a theme. I am going to point out when I see instructions that are incomplete or just plain incorrect.