I need a hobby.

No, really.

I say this now because today kniedzw and I will be hosting our annual Outrageous Clothing Mockery Oscars party, and that means a lot of time spent sitting and watching the TV. And when I do that — or anything else that engages my eyes and brain, but not my hands (i.e. books are exempt) — I find myself very restless, needing to do something with my hands. If I’m table-top gaming, I keep rearranging my dice, not out of superstition but a need to occupy my hands. If I’m watching TV . . . let’s just say I know over a dozen varieties of solitaire, but after a while that gets boring.

I need a hobby.

The problem is, the obvious hobby — knitting — is not really useful here, because kniedzw already has our knitting needs (such as they are) covered. We have all the scarves we need, and aren’t in desperate need of hats or gloves or sweaters or suchlike. I could knit things for my cousins’ kids, maybe, but that moves it from the category of “random thing to do while watching TV” to “obligatory thing I must finish by X time because someone’s waiting for it/will outgrow it otherwise.” I don’t want to take on any more obligations. I want this to be something where if I don’t finish it for six months it’s no big deal. Crocheting is too similar to knitting, and we already have sufficient afghans in the house. Embroidery? It’s a possibility — especially if I learn more than the three stitches I presently know — but I’m not sure what I would make. We’ve already got embroidered dish towels, courtesy of my mother, and I don’t have any costume pieces in foreseeable need of it. (I think I was embroidering during the Oscars a couple of years ago, for the Changeling game.) Ditto inkle weaving, though I’d like to make use of the looms currently sitting around uselessly. I could learn to card weave, as I’ve been meaning to do for years, but at least in the short term it’s likely to occupy too much of my attention to be suitable for this situation. Maybe once I know the basics, it would work. And cross-stitching is once again covered by my mother. The only patterns I like are much too complicated for me to attempt, so I leave them to her.

Other possibilities? Maybe even ones that don’t involve textiles? (No, I don’t know why I default to thinking of Things Involving Thread.)

0 Responses to “I need a hobby.”

  1. moonandserpent

    Channel my snark and blog the Oscars. Somebody’s got to represent 🙂

  2. anghara

    I crochet – filet-crochet, not afghans, at least currently, although I’ve done those too. If you don’t want them when you’re done you can donate them to charitable causes (the afghans, at least) or put them up as items for fannish auctions at conventions that do them to raise funds for various charitable fannish things.

    It’s a Good Cause on top of keeping handses occupied. All to the good.

    • diatryma

      I also thought of filet crochet, though it does seem to work best as intermittent gifts. Maybe thread crochet like snowflakes and such.

  3. kendokamel

    Hand quilting! Patchwork pieces are great for this sort of thing. (And I swear, I will eventually finish that Irish chain patchwork…!)

    Or, you could learn to crochet lace. Once you get your groove, it’s *kind* of mindless, and there are so many possibilities – edging for costumes, dresser doilies (if you have any antique furniture to protect), or the like.

    And, as others have mentioned, you could always sell stuff or make it to donate.

  4. gryphynshadow


    Make a Moogle! It’s a doll, crocheted. I’m adapting the design a bit, and making a rather round kitten thing. I’m sure it can be altered in all sorts of interesting ways to produce a wide variety of stuffed creatures.

    Oh, and quite a few of my friends spin. Doesn’t take much brain power, keeps the hands busy. 🙂

  5. doriscrockford2

    It’s funny that you posted this today because I’ve been thinking of the same thing. (Maybe the cold weather has something to do with the nesting instinct?) I’ve been browsing Etsy.com and have been thinking of taking some jewelry-making classes. A friend of mine finds origami-type crafts restful and her Christmas presents and thank you notes are to die for. Maybe have a look around your new home and see what you need/would like and then target your craftiness toward that?

    • Marie Brennan

      After I posted, I started thinking about jewelry. Maybe beading? Not of the sort, but more like beaded chokers, etc.

      • doriscrockford2

        Wow, her stuff is amazing. I’ve been eyeing things like this:

        and luxedeluxe’s shop (her site is down now but her items are lovely) — that kind of “heirlooms I wish I had” type of jewelry. Nothing too complicated, but something that has an early success rate (i.e I won’t be embarrassed to wear it) but with lots of room to improve. Also I want something I can give as gifts (and like you pointed out with knitting, you don’t want your house full of wool the giftees have grown out of).

        Good luck and let us know if you find something you like.

  6. mmegaera

    My mother taught me to embroider and crochet when I was small because left to their own devices my little hands got rather destructive (shredding paper was a favorite, for some reason).

    But the ultimate in keeping-your-hands-busy-while-watching-TV project is hand-quilting a bed-sized quilt. I do the piecing on the machine because I don’t like the fiddliness of hand-piecing, but the advantages of hand-quilting are multiple — it’s prettier and more authentic than machine quilting (machine piecing has a much longer and more honored history than machine quilting does), it takes literally months to finish a project so you don’t have to come up with a new one nearly as often, it’s something you don’t have to watch as closely as you do embroidery (although my ex claimed I listened to TV rather than watch it), and when you’re done, you have a useful item that will keep you warm at night (the unfinished quilt will keep you warm while you’re quilting it, too).

    I definitely recommend hand quilting for this purpose.

    • Marie Brennan

      The more I think about this, the more I notice how much textile work the people around me do; my aunt’s wedding present to us was a gorgeous quilt for our bed.

      • mmegaera

        Making things one-off is a tradition in my family. My father built furniture, my mother crocheted and did needlepoint, my sisters all made their own clothes as teenagers, and I quilt, crochet, and embroider.

        I don’t know if it’s because we all have a hard time sitting still or not [g].

  7. clarentine

    How about clay? It’s not textile, but it’s very tactile, definitely something you can work while your eyes are elsewhere (smoothing a shape that will be a muscle, or arm, or flower petal is probably easier to do without looking, anyway), and you can find modeling clay easily in craft stores and so don’t have to invest in the big bags. You can hand-build pots, if you like coil building, or do structures if your interests run in that direction, or stick with people/animals/plants. Little creatures can be a lot of fun to dream up. 🙂

  8. sarcastibich

    make beaded jewelry. There is a lot of complex work you can do with seed beads and stuff to make neat shapes. One of my former co-workers does it, specializing in creating molecular compounds out of beads.

  9. difrancis

    I don’t do it, but I love the little bead purses and pouches. And then there is this woman who comes to Radcon and to Miscon (sometimes) who does these crochet beaded ropes. She makes the most amazing ropes for dog collars, for this fabulous belts and necklaces. Can’t find her website, but this gives an idea of both. http://www.crochetville.org/forum/showthread.php?t=82228 Click the pics to make them larger.

    Sigh. I am not so crafty. Or maybe it’s patient. Not sure.

    Oh, and wire wrap jewelry is awfully cool. My uncle has taught me a little (he’s a jeweler) and there’s some truly lovely stuff to be made.

  10. c0untmystars

    Things involving thread really lend themselves to “keep your hands busy while you watch TV” projects… at various times I’ve crocheted, tatted, knitted, embroidered/cross stitched (embroidery is good for throw pillows and the like) and quilted, because I am damned fidgety. One non-thread-y thing I do is beading/jewelry making… stringing beads is good for the fidgeting and doesn’t require a lot of concentration.

  11. sapphohestia

    What about joining my tele-seamstress’ guild?

    I’ve got, like, 6 late 18th century gowns you could work on, a half-dozen frock and waist coats, and more pairs of breeches than one can shake a stick at. Or 9 women’s chemises. Oh, or two period stays. And about 13 sets of panniers. There’s also 8 sets of gold and black monk’s robes, 3 sets of “woodland” animals, and about 8 gazillion snaps, buttons, and hooks/eyes to sew.

    Alternatively, have you considered a hobby in wig-styling? I could use someone to style about 25 of those.

    Wanna sign up?!

  12. lady_puck9999

    I suggest spinning, but that’s because I spin. Sorry, it’s fiber art. But it’s awesome. You can do drop spindle-spinning or wheel spinning (the latter, of course, being rather more expensive to start off doing).

    Other than that. . . I don’t know. Everybody I know has a fiber hobby.

  13. Anonymous

    I know you said you weren’t interested in knitting, and I can totally understand. But have you considered learning to knit socks? I have often found myself in a similar predicament, and within the last 4 months, I have taken up sock knitting (this is, of course, after getting sick of crocheting, discovering that beads hate me, and having my sewing machine break randomly). It’s easier than it seems, and the results are pretty cool, especially if you like funky socks (they can be as funky or conservative as you like, it just depends on the sock yarn). Also, they do make good gifts, and compared to other projects, they finish rather quickly. My first pair went to my mother in law for her birthday.


    That is the sock that I learned on. You can click around on her blog for more sock ideas, if you’re interested, or Google “how to knit socks”.
    Best of luck with your quest for a hobby!

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