New This Month

7 Creative Hobbies to Take Up in the New Year

This is one resolution you'll want to keep past February.

yarn swatches
Photography by: The Morrisons

As the old year comes to a close and a new year begins, we are filled with hope to make this year better than the last. Often, we promise to do this by making various resolutions that we really do intend on keeping... but tend to languish after the end of January. We believe that if there is one thing you should stick to in 2019, it ought to be to take on a new hobby. Creative crafts like knitting, crocheting, and painting are actually good for you. They boost your mood, relieve stress, and improve cognitive abilities. (Not to mention, they're fun.) All you have to do is pick one and stick to it (or in our case... stitch to it.)

 

 

1. Knitting

 

Dispel any preconceived notions about this traditional craft: Knitting is no longer just considered your grandmother's pasttime. These days, everyone is picking up a pair of needles and yarn. (If you ask us, we've always considered finger-knitting to be one of our favorite techniques.) Once you learn how to cast on, knit, purl, and cast off again, and learned about the different kinds of yarn, you're ready to make something of your own! Just take a look at our knit hats, mittens, blankets, and other comfy, cozy projects.

 

[START HERE: Get Martha's Guide to Knitting — it's the exclusive resource for knitters of all skill levels!]

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Photography by: Mike Krautter

2. Painting

 

You don't need to be a born Picasso—just a paint brush, a palette of colors, and a willingness to learn. There are countless techniques to try in different finishes: acrylics, oils, watercolor, or even glitter-painting. Try working with stencils—they come in every shape and size imagineable to make that perfect pattern. Experiment with different tools and materials to find a style you like. The world is your canvas, and your craft room is a good start.

 

[START HERE: Pick Your First Painting Project]
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Photography by: Ryan Liebe

3. Hand Lettering

 

You've seen it on Instagram. So why not try it yourself? We promise it isn't as hard as it looks, no matter if you're right-handed or left-handed. Hand lettering, a more relaxed form of calligraphy, is a simple skill to make your handwritten scrawl appear prettier on paper. Start with a standard typeface as your guide, then make it your own with decorative touches, such as curlicues and leafy laurels. From there, you can quickly personalize cards, chalkboard signs, and gifts of all kinds. The effect is charmingly old-fashioned yet freshly modern all at once. 

 

 

[START HERE: Get the Tips and Tricks to Hand Lettering]
The bullet journal is quickly gaining popularity as an organizational method.

4. Bullet Journaling

 

Move over, scrapbooking. The beauty in bullet-journaling is that there's no true wrong or right way to do it. You can catalogue your daily meditations and errands; include pictures, tokens, and remnants of past memories strewn about; or plan ahead for the future. It can be formatted by topic, page number, short sentences, and bullets. It's all up to you.

 

[START HERE: Learn How to Make Your Own Bullet Journal]
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5. Sewing

 

Does a pair of knitting needles seem too intimidating? Try sewing. To start, all you need is a needle and thread, and scraps of fabric. Master the basic stitches, and this skill proves useful everywhere in the home: Use it to mend a seamrepair small holes in sweaters and socks, or make a pretty tomato pincushion. Begin small, and when you've become comfortable in your skill, you can graduate to a sewing machine of your own.

 

[START HERE: Learn How to Sew by Hand and Machine]
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Photography by: NGOC MINH NGO

6. Embroidery

 

Embroidering is essentially for those who love to restore something old and with a few quick needle jabs you'll have something new to behold. Learn a few basic stitches: a cross stitch, french knot, blanket stitch, etc... and you will be well on your way to custom-embroidering everything from napkins to mittens to tea towels to full-sized quilts, and everything in between. You'll have any holiday, birthday, or other life milestone handled knowing how to embroider a monogram, name, or date.

 

[START HERE: Learn About Embroidery]
working yard around wooden wring crochet wreath
Photography by: Shanna Sullivan

7. Crocheting

 

Looking for a new craft to master in 2019? Swap in your needles for a crochet hook instead. By learning two basic stitches—the chain stitch and single crochet—you'll be able to make baby blankets and toys, hats and headbands, cases and clutches, a bouquet of flowers, or even miniature wreaths. Make a crafternoon out of it by inviting like-minded friends over for a crochet and rose party.

 

[START HERE: Learn How to Crochet]

Feeling inspired? Try these miniature yarn wreaths as your first crochet project: