The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Where can you go to find craft classes and clubs?

• Brookline Public Library (16 Main St., Brookline, 673-3330, has a knitting, crocheting and cross-stitch group that meets Mondays at 6 p.m.
Drop-In Knitting Club at the Hollis Social Library, 2 Monument Square, Hollis, every Tuesday, 3-4 p.m. Call 465-7721. Meet, mingle and trade yarns with local knitters. Compare patterns, sharing techniques and trading tips. Drop in, no signup required.
Drop-In Stitchers on Fridays, 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., at Rodgers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road (Route 102), Hudson. Work on knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching or any other needlework project with company, and pass the time while sharing ideas and techniques for future work. Call 886-6030.
The Elegant Ewe (71 S. Main St., Concord, 226-0066, offers a variety of knitting classes and workshops, as well as classes in felting and spinning.
Friday Night Knitting Club every Friday 6-10 p.m. at the Yarn and Fiber Co. (11 Manchester Road, Derry, Open project, no fee. Bring an existing project or start a new one. Call 505-4432.
Good Yarn Knitting Group meets at the Concord Public Library (45 Green St., Concord) on Tuesdays through Feb. 12, at 6:30 p.m. Bring your own knitting supplies for this new group for all ages and skill levels. Admission is free. Call 225-8670 or visit
Hooksett Public Library (31 Mount Saint Mary’s Way, Hooksett, 485-6092, hosts a learning-to-knit circle every Friday, 1-2 p.m., in the adult room of the library. Tea and coffee are served.
• Kelley Library (234 Main St., Salem, 898-7064, has a knitting circle on Mondays at 7 p.m. and Wednesdays at 1 p.m. The weekly gatherings are open to Salem knitters of all skill levels. Members answer questions, offer tips and share techniques. No registration is required. Crocheters are welcome, too.
Knit 1, Crochet 2 drop-in stitch-fests held at Wadleigh Memorial Library, 49 Nashua St., Milford, 673-2408, the first and fourth Mondays of each month, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Bring a project and be inspired. Beginners will be able to get help selecting a project and the necessary supplies. There won’t be formal instruction, but members of the group help each other. Tea is served.
Knit Wits meets at Chester Public Library, 3 Chester St., Chester, the first and third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Work on a craft, chat with others and share knowledge. This group is open to all who like to sew, crochet, knit and/or stitch. Contact the library at 887-3404.
Knitting Club every Friday, at 11 a.m., at West Manchester Library, 76 N. Main St., Manchester, 624-6560. Both experienced and novice knitters are invited to attend. No registration required.
Knitting Club at the Penacook Branch Library (3 Merrimack St., Penacook) meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month at 6:30 p.m. Call 753-4441.
Nashua Public Library (2 Court St., Nashua, 589-4600, hosts a knitting group every Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Needles and Shuttles meets in The Fiber Studio, Foster Hill Road, Henniker. This informal group welcomes new and experienced knitters to share skills and conversation. Bring a knitting project. Call 428-7830.
Nesmith Knitters meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Nesmith Library (8 Fellows Road, Windham, 432-7154, All skills and ages welcome.
New England Fabrics (55 Ralston St., Keene, 352-8683, has offered classes in sewing, knitting, quilting and more. Call for the current schedule.
• Ravel Rousers Knitting Guild (, 434-4148) meets twice a month at various times at Marion Gerrish Community Center (39 W. Broadway, Derry). Call or email to join.
Socks on a 12-Inch Circular Needle at the Yarn and Fiber Co. (11 Manchester Road, Derry, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $40. Call 505-4432.
Stitching Socials at the Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe (9 Church St., Goffstown), every Sunday, 1-3 p.m. Knit, crochet and talk with other crafters. Admission is free. Call 660-1115 or visit  
Yarn and Fiber Co. (11 Manchester Road, Derry, 505-4432, offers classes in knitting, as well as Friday night knitting club and classes focused on a single piece.


• Kimball-Jenkins Estate (266 N. Main St., Concord, 225-3932) has held Zentangle classes in the the past. Classes are not on the schedule right now, but might be worth keeping an eye on.
• Beck’s Art Express (591 Amherst St., Nashua, 781-910-3438, has held Zentangle workshops in the past.
• Sharon Arts Center (30 Grove St., 457 Route 123, Sharon, 924-7256, offers Zentangle classes during the winter.
• Wild Salamander Art Center (30 Ash St., Hollis) is starting a Zentangle club with Suzanne Binnie, a certified Zentangle teacher at Wild Salamander Arts Center. The club will meet once a month starting in January. Upcoming dates include Saturday, Jan. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.; and Saturday, March 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. Binnie hosts a workshop, “The Zentangled Heart,” on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.
• E.W. Poore (775 Canal St., Manchester,, 622-3802) offers weekly Zentangle classes, every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Visit
• League of NH Craftsmen (98 Main St., Nashua, 595-8233) offers Introduction to Zentangle classes at the League of NH Craftsmen Nashua Gallery.

• Bead It! (146 N. Main St., Concord, 223-0146,
•The Bead Patch (266 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 627-4870,;
• The Bead Store & More (381 Portsmouth Ave., Greenland, 431-2262,
• All Beads Considered (167 Water St., Exeter, 502-6069,
• Bead Room (108 W. Hollis St., Nashua, 598-9280,
• BeadBush Studio (43 Mont Delight Road, 463-7683,

Visit the New England Wood Carvers ( for a list of New Hampshire carving groups. The League of NH Craftsmen ( has held wood carving events in the past, but there are no classes set right now.
• Laconia Woodcarvers: call Dick Gosselin, 934-4265
• Nashua Woodcarvers: Email or call Joseph Marshall, 883-5635,
• Woodworking program at the Nashua Public Library (2 Court St., Nashua) Mon., Feb. 4, at 6:30 p.m. Stephen Carey will teach about transforming wood into artwork. Carey runs a woodworking website at Admission is free. Call 589-4610 or visit

Paper Techniques workshops will be held at Rodgers Memorial Library, 194 Derry Road (Route 102), Hudson, on the first Thursday of the month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Learn how to make things out of paper. Projects include scrapbooking, card-making, stamping, quilting and decoupage. Register at 886-6030.
Stamping Memories (96 DW Hwy., Belmont, 528-0498,, offers classes on a variety of kinds of card-making.
• Yankee Scrapper Girls ( offers classes and workshops during the year for scrappers at Southern New Hampshire University during the year. Workshops, crops, weekend events. Email, call 566-5059.
• Wholly Scrap (14 Lafayette Road, N. Hampton, 964-8596, has scrapbooking classes and clubs.

Stained glass

• Renaissance Glassworks (99 Factory St. Extension, Nashua, 882-1779, offers stained glass classes for five consecutive Saturdays, year-round, 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and tuition is $250 with tools provided or $175 if students bring their own tools. There are also classes Thursdays, Feb. 21 to March 21 or March 28 to April 25.
• Detailed Stained Glass (24 Pleasant St., Concord, 224-7100) has classes for beginner and seasoned stained glass craftsmen. Email, visit

Knitting tech

Even knitting has jumped into the 21st century; it’s easier than ever to learn and find new patterns through online resources and nifty phone aps. 
“You can go on any computer and find a slew of free patterns. It’s almost overwhelming,” said Holly DeGroot, a member of Ravel Rousers. 
Videos and graphics available online can also be easier than the black and white directional books from which our parents learned. But of course, some online resources are better than others.
• If you’re a knitter and don’t know about, you’re missing out. Outside of knitting circles, this is the place where knitters go to connect with other knitters. Here’s where you search for your closest yarn shops, where you find the latest, most popular new yarns, where you’ll find hat patterns, mitten patterns, sock patterns, animal clothes patterns, sweater patterns, you name it. You can find free patterns by “googling online,” but sometimes you have to be careful; these patterns might not have been tested yet. On this site, however, you can usually see user comments before you go to download a pattern (some are free, some cost between $5 and $10).
• About half of the women at the Ravel Rousers Knitting Guild (call or email 434-4148, to join) utilize knitting aps, too. These aps (counter pro, JKnit Lite) available on Apple products, nooks, etc., and help you count your stitches.
Fiber art
Yarn, or “fiber,” has never been so hip, having turned into something more than a practical way to keep warm. They call it “fiber art,” which hasn’t hit as big in New England as it has in other parts of the country (perhaps we’re just too practical up here). 
Fiber art is a style of art which uses textiles such as fabric, yarn, wool, and natural/synthetic fibers. Knitting anything is technically “fiber art,” but some knitters have moved outside the practical. They’re also using it for outdoor art installations. 
Outdoor fiber art can be controversial if it’s not approved or supported by the town. This outdoor yarn art concept is often called “yarn bombing,” which is done in the middle of the night, and is often associated with vandalism. (Google “yarn bombing, Wall Street” for a look at a yarn-bombed bull statue.) 
Some knitters are opposed, because they dislike seeing knitting not being used for sweaters, socks, scarves, when there are people who don’t have these items.
But for others, there’s excitement and wonder when you wake up and see a bull statue, a tree, a lamppost, a parking meter, decorated in colorful yarn and fiber. 
The Children’s Museum in Dover recently featured their first outdoor fiber arts installation, led by Dover resident Malone Cloitre. The museum partnered with the Dover Arts Commision. About 11 lampposts were wrapped in original knitted works by four knitters, including Cloitre, for six weeks.
Cloitre had been looking for new ways to explore the craft. 
“I had started doing pillows, but I wanted to create something that you could see a lot,” said Cloitre, who describes herself a “fiber art” addict, and loves finding new ways to present her craft. 
Her infatuation in making outdoor art using fiber began with her decorating her cherry tree with knitted works. 
“Kids especially were enthralled by it … They’d ask, ‘does it, does it hurt the tree?’” Cloitre said. “‘Can I touch it? Does it make it too hot? Does it keep it warm in the winter?’ They’d never seen anything like this before.”
But this installation was a community collaborative event. 
“I hope that it gave people a new way to look at yarn, to look at the park a little more whimsically,” Cloitre said.
Where to learn the art of Zentangle:
• Kimball-Jenkins Estate (266 N. Main St., Concord, 225-3932) has held Zentangle classes in the the past. Classes are not on the schedule right now, but might be worth keeping an eye on.
• Beck’s Art Express  (591 Amherst St., Nashua, 781-910-3438, recently had a zentangle workshop and will continue to offer zentangle if the interest is there.
• Sharon Arts Center (30 Grove St., 457 Route 123, Sharon, 924-7256, offers Zentangle classes during the winter as well.
• Wild Salamander Art Center (30 Ash St., Hollis) is starting a Zentangle club with Suzanne Binnie, a certified Zentangle teacher at Wild Salamander Arts Center. The club will meet once a month starting in January. Upcoming dates include Saturday, Jan. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.; and Saturday, March 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. Binnie hosts a workshop, “The Zentangled Heart,” on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 1 to 3 p.m.
• E.W. Poore (775 Canal St., Manchester,, 622-3802) offers weekly Zentangle classes, every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. Visit
• League of NH Craftsmen (98 Main St., Nashua, 595-8233) offers Introduction to Zentangle classes at the League of NH Craftsmen Nashua Gallery.
Six essentials for beginner scrappers
1.  Acid free paper, lignin-free paper. Most paper in craft stores will sell just this now, but double-check before purchasing. Certain papers will make photos yellow over time.
2.  A good pair of scissors.
3.  A 12-inch paper trimmer (these make sure that when you cut photos or papers, you’re cutting the straightest line possible).
4.  A dry and wet acid-free adhesive (glue and tape squares, for instance).
5.  Journaling pens.
6.  A good quality album. “When I first got into scrapbooking, I wanted to make my daughter a baby book, and I was all excited because I got it for $4,” Ellingwood said. “We literally looked at it so many times that it ended up falling apart.” Ellingwood and Sliver recommended Creative Memories brand.
Scrapbooking is not just for scrapbooks
The tools and tricks you learn through scrapbooking can be used for:
Party favors
Cards (“People love to get homemade cards,” Sliver said.)
Making signs for church groups, classes, yard sales. “The possibilities, really, are endless,” Ellingwood said.
Tips for beginner scrappers
• Don’t be afraid. You can always re-do something.
• If something’s that precious, make sure you make a copy beforehand.
• Journal it. That fills in the how, the why. It’s when you explain what’s going on in the photos features. “It’s about telling a story with pictures and words,” Sliver said. “If you just have photos, it’s just a photo album.”
• Don’t stick your photos in magnetic photo albums (they may be stuck forever, or tear the picture).
• Photoshop can be your friend. You can fix the scratches, blemishes, water stains, red-eye or pixelated old photos. If you can’t do these things, find someone who can.
• Keep your scraps. 
• Think outside the box. “I know a lot of people who repurpose cereal boxes, paint them, group other paint on it … there’s a lot of repurposing in scrapbooking, as well,” Ellingwood said.
• Share the expensive tools. Purchasing tools is where the craft can get expensive, but if you attend a scrapbooking party (or simply become friends with a fellow scrapbooker), you can avoid these costs.
Bead shops
The nice thing about beading is that you don’t have to get it all in one place; beading shops in Southern New Hampshire collaborate for the NH Bead Bop, where a “Bead Bop passport” offers discounts to various New Hampshire bead stores during a week in the fall. Participating shops for 2012 included Bead It! in Concord; The Bead Patch (266 Mammoth Road, Manchester, 627-4870,; The Bead Store & More (381 Portsmouth Ave., Greenland, 431-2262,; All Beads Considered (167 Water St., Exeter, 502-6069,; Bead Room (108 W. Hollis St., Nashua, 598-9280,; and BeadBush Studio (43 Mont Delight Road, 463-7683,
Classes galore
Interested in trying any of these crafts? Go to for a list of all the local classes available. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a lifelong hobby.
Quick questions and answers
What’s the easiest thing to carve?
A snowman.
How should you get started? Some people start out by reading woodcarving magazines (Woodcarving Illustrated is particularly helpful to learn about the craft and to get connected). New England WoodCarvers ( is another good place to go.
What type of wood should you use? Basswood works. This wood doesn’t have much of a grain. Butternut wood also works. Marshall has also made a tiny wooden house out of Cottonwood bark.
Do you paint it afterwards? Thompson doesn’t like panting. He prefers to throw a coat of linseed oil on his work. If you’re planning on selling it, you should know your market. People who are woodcarvers like seeing, perhaps, a light coat on top, so that you can see that the item is made out of wood. People at craft fairs seem to like it when things are “shiny.” 
Do you sell your work? Nah—Marshall says that takes the fun out of it. 
Where are some places to buy materials? Rockler Woodworking in Salem has good items. Woodcraft Supply in Woburn, Mass., is also a good place, but Marshall said they generally order tools through catalogues.
What should you buy if you’re just starting out? A knife, glove (or two!) or a finger protector/thumb guard.

Making stuff
Your guide to crafts

By Kelly Sennott

1/17/2013 - When I walk into the Ravel Rousers Knitting Guild meeting in Derry, Donna Mosco tells me not to worry about taking my shoes off; she has a heavy-duty rug that’s easy to clean. The guild’s knitting meetings usually take place at the Marion Gerrish Community Center in Derry, but since it’s New Year’s Day, Mosco has invited guild members to meet at her house.

I slip off my boots anyway, out of habit, but also because there’s a pile of snowy boots sitting at the door. I don’t want to be the girl who gets everyone’s socks wet by tramping snow through the house.
As I walk in, I’m greeted warmly by nine women, all of whom are clutching a pair of knitting needles or a dessert, which Mosco says are a must at every meeting. I’m also greeted by the real reason for the giant shoe pile at the door.
Beautiful socks, in rainbow stripes, in polka dots, in zig zags and pretty patterns. I half wish I’d kept my snowy boots on, because my socks look like rags sewn together next to these hand-knit creations. 
But, they tell me, the socks, and everything else they knit, are just a bonus — it’s the process that really matters. Some people knit to keep their hands busy and out of the cookie jar; others channel their anxiety directly into their knitting needles.
And it’s not just knitting that has this power. People who knit, bead, carve, tangle or do any kind of craft usually take it up because of the benefits they reap during the process: relaxation, time to refocus and, oftentimes, a zen-like state of mind where daily aggravations cease to exist. Many crafters describe the same sensation that artists, athletes and those who practice yoga describe; they “get in the zone,” when they work.
“I enjoy other crafts like knitting and weaving, but I think that people really connect with one craft on a fundamental level, whether that be glass, clay, metal...” said Deb Fairchild, an artist and teacher with the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. 
For her, it’s beading. 
“It’s a place where I find a lot of patience. It helps me regroup and refocus and get in touch with myself,” she said.
With benefits like these, maybe it’s time to find your own take-me-away craft.
Are you fit to knit?
The ladies at Ravel Rousers Knitting Guild say knitting is the ultimate social craft.
Or at least, it is the way they knit. They meet every other week to socialize and work on their projects. Usually. (Sometimes it’s hard to pay attention when you’re knitting a complex pattern.) 
Amy Huntemann is one of the newer members of the group. She began knitting about six years ago when she signed herself and her mother up for knitting classes through Derry Adult Education. It was difficult at first.
“I couldn’t even hold the needles right. I finished with this weird shape that didn’t look like anything,” Huntemann said.
Having lessons — taught by a knitting professional or by someone you know — can be very helpful in terms of learning technique. Once you become comfortable with the craft, the possibilities are endless: cell phone covers, bags, purses, dolls, stuffed animals, and sweaters for your teddy bears, your wine bottles, your koozies, your slippers. But Huntemann credits part of her development to knitting in a group. 
“If you’re stuck on something, you can bring it in and get help on it,” she said. 
Plus, said Dana Nelson, another guild member who often knits commissioned pieces, you’ll learn new, sometimes better ways to do things, even if you’re not a beginner.
Friends and family members, especially, appreciate knowing a driven knitter. 
“People have a better appreciation for handmade things,” Huntemann said. 
Her niece and nephew are constantly playing with the dragon puppets she made them because “Aunt Mam-ee” made them. 
“You’re also going to end up with exactly what you want.”
Her husband, for instance, asked her to make a chicken hat for him. Where else are you going to find a chicken hat? Nowhere. You have to make it.
There are some patterns that are easy enough that you can do while talking, watching TV, in the car, or, Nelson said, while reading. Others require more concentration.
“I find knitting to be relaxing because I can knit and think about the baby, relative or friend for whom I am knitting,” Mosco said. “The repetitive action, especially on a familiar pattern, provides time to daydream or think about upcoming plans.”
For Mosco, knitting is “me” time: “Keeping my hands busy is never on my mind. Real life keeps my hands busy enough. Knitting is a time just for me and my thoughts of past memories, today’s joys and tomorrow’s possibilities.”
It’s zen (tangle)
In your Zentangle kit, you get a pen, two pencils, a pencil sharpener, a couple of Zentangle tiles, some Zentangle patterns and, if you’re lucky, a piece of raspberry chocolate—that’s if you’re taking a Zentangle class with Diane Ryan.
But the most important thing to know about Zentangle, said Ryan, an instructor at a E.W. Poore weekly Zentangle class, is that it’s not about the result. Don’t even think about what your Zentangle pattern will look like until it’s done. Zentangle is all about the process, she said. 
But the result is pretty cool, too. Zentangle is an art form created with pen and ink on a 3 ½ by 3 ½ Zentangle “tile.” In this tile, Zentanglers create repetitive patterns: checkers, squares, circles, lines, swirls, loops and geometric shapes. These lines are called “tangles,” and the 3-inch square is standard Zentangle form, small enough to not be intimidating, big enough to feel like you’ve created a piece of art.
In this piece of art, lines twist and cross-hatch one another, creating boxes, shades and eye-popping forms. It almost looks like a black and white blanket made for one of Tim Burton’s characters, intricate and rich with patterns and textures. But the best part about Zentangle is that it’s so easy to do.
“The pattern is broken down, one line at at time,” Ryan said. So much so that Zentangle itself becomes a meditative process. “When you use the repetition, the right and left side of your brain, it takes you to a meditative state,” and you become so lost in the repetitive pattern that when you’re finished, you don’t even know how it happened.
This art form is slowly but surely making its way across the globe. Sixteen countries, including New Zealand, Taiwan and India, all have Zentangle teachers in them, as do 44 states. The creators of this artform are Massachusetts residents Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas, both artists in different areas before taking up Zentangle.
Thomas was a letter artist, Roberts, a musician and flute artist.
It was 2003 that Thomas and Roberts had a “lightening” moment. Roberts had barged into the studio Thomas was in while she was working on an illuminated letter that comprised of patterns and shapes. She hadn’t moved from her chair for five hours. 
“It was a beautiful afternoon, and I was in a great place. When he barged in, I had no idea where I was,” Thomas said. “I started relating and describing the experience I had to Rick.”
Roberts, who had spent 17 years traveling as a monk, responded, “That’s meditation.”
It’s different from any art they did before. 
“The difference here is that it’s a combination of freedom and limits put together,” Roberts said. 
People have taken so much to Zentangle that some people have actually called it a “gateway drug to art,” he said. People see what they can do here and find the confidence to try other modes of art, too, Roberts said. 
Zentangle classes are popping up in art studios all over the New Hampshire. It’s why kids have gravitated toward the art, and why students kept asking Rebecca Fredrickson if she would begin to offer Zentangle classes at her Nashua art studio, Becks Arts Express.
Thomas and Roberts have made it easy to learn, even if you don’t have available formal lessons nearby; their website,, contains newsletters, blogs and YouTube videos with directions, and a directory of Certified Zentangle Teachers (CZT).
Suzanne Binnie, a Hollis resident, started tangling two years ago. She’s a trained painter, so she was at first skeptical about Zentangle; it was one of her students who convinced her to try the new art form. 
“I immediately fell in love with it,” said Binnie, who has tangled every day for the past two years. Tangling (the verb form of Zentangle) helps her relax.
KC Morgan, one of the owners at Wild Salamander, found the art really appeals to kids. Her own daughters have started tangling everything, from canvas bags to treasure boxes. 
“It’s been a huge hit with the 10-and-up crowd,” Morgan said. “But now even the 9-year-olds are asking for it.”
One of the most important rules in Zentangle: no erasers. 
“There is no eraser in life and there is no eraser in a Zentangle kit,” Roberts and Thomas wrote on the website. 
The beauty of making a mistake in Zentangle, Binnie said, is that through the mistake, you’ll come up with a new pattern.
“It takes your system into the zone,” Binnie said. 
She tangles every night for 15 minutes before she goes to sleep, which helps her mind settle before she shuts her eyes. 
“I have a little anxiety, and when you do this, you really relax,” she said. 
She teaches Zentangle classes at Wild Salmanadar Arts center, where she’s introduced students to tangling outside the three-inch tile, having recently held a pumpkin Zentangle workshop.
21st Century Scrappy Ladies
There are two misconceptions that Liz Ellingwood and Mandy Sliver, founders of Yankee Scrapper Girls, would like to clear up. One is that scrapbooking is expensive. 
Scrapbooking hit big in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which is when companies started manufacturing high-tech scrapbooking tools, intricate scrapbooking paper and a wealth of scrappy gadgets that, for the most part, you don’t even really need, Sliver and Ellingwood say. You don’t have to buy $5 paper to scrapbook. 
Another misconception: that you need to be artsy or creative. 
“One thing people always say to me is, ‘I’m not creative. I can’t do that.’ The truest definition of scrapbooking is sticking a memory on a page, be it photos, ribbons from your prom dress, a ticket stub,” Ellingwood said. 
Ellingwood runs a scrapbooking consulting business out of her home, and Sliver ran her own scrapbooking shop until 2010, when she was forced to close. They knew each other because they were in the scrapbooking business, but they didn’t come together as the Yankee Scrapper Girls ( until 2010. 
This is the first time they’ve held classes in Manchester, but they’ve already drawn in about 11 new scrappers. Scrapbooking, as with almost any craft, is more fun when you’re doing it with a group of people, they said.
“When you get stuck, I can show whatever I’m working with to Mandy, for instance, and she’s going to look at it with a fresh set of eyes. It’s almost like a quilting bee, too, with the socialization aspect,” Ellingwood said. 
Plus, at these parties you’ll have a whole mess of fancy tools to use, like a cricut machine (which uses a blade to cut out designs and enables you to cut out images); circle punches and square punches; idea books; and a sizzix machine.
If you’re not a paper-and-scissors kind of person, digital scrapbooking is the the next up-and-coming thing. Ellingwood and Sliver recommended Creative Memories (, where you can design your scrapbooks online and custom-order. 
“There is something to be said about cutting paper, matching things up and measuring them [in traditional scrapbooking]; digital scrapbooking is a different kind of creative outlet,” Sliver said. 
But the nice thing about digital scrapbooking is that you can do it anywhere. You don’t have to make a mess. And, if you want, you can order multiple copies of the finished product for friends or relatives. There are still so many people that dislike it because of the fact that you stare at a computer screen all day. 
“But I just see it as bringing in more people to the craft,” Ellingwood said. 
You’re connecting generations that might not have ever had the chance to connect before. 
“It’s not so much about the products and the embellishments and making everything pretty,” Ellingwood said. “It’s about getting your story down. My father died in 1997, and my daughter was born in 2001.She never met him. Through scrapbooks, she can look at those photos and see that her Grandpa Soley was in the Navy and liked beer and was an avid Yankees fan and had dogs. She has a connection with him, even though she never met him.”
Bead it. (Just bead it.)
The best part about beading, said Donna Nordlund, is that you’ll leave with exactly what you want.
“One woman came in last week to create jewelry to match an outfit she was wearing to a wedding,” Nordlund said. 
The shop is like a candyland for beaders, with beads of every size, shape, color, texture, make, it might be overwhelming for a beginning beader who doesn’t know exactly what she (or he) wants. Which is why Donna and her daughter, Chris, scattered inspiration jewelry throughout the store to help generate ideas. Some beads are as small as a grain of rice, some as large as a pool ball.
But perhaps the most inspiring creation you’ll see in the shop is Beadopatra and her pet camel, Watusi. Beadopatra is a mannequin decorated entirely of beads, from her bead-laced hair to the swirling patterns of lime green, turquoise, cobalt blue, moss green and bubble gum pink ant-sized beads that coat her entire body. This took her an entire winter to make, Nordlund said.
Of course, if you want to create something intricate, you might have to take one of many classes they offer: Chain Mailles, Dutch Spiral, Flat Spiral, Herringbone, Kumihime, Macrame, Peyote, Chevron, Netting, spiral rope, the St. Petersburg chain, to name a few. 
Deb Fairchild, beading teacher with the League of N.H. Craftsmen, says once you get over the initial hurdle — picking your beads, learning the craft, and getting over the initial anxiety, you get into a soothing and therapeutic place. 
“It’s a place where you can relax and get away from stress,” Fairchild said. 
For beginners, it will usually take 45 minutes to an hour before you get the hang of it. She was a knitter before she was a beader.
 “If you like things like knitting or needlepoint (which are also, she adds, things you can include beads in), you might like beading,” Fairchild said. “It’s satisfying when life gets really crazy … But for me, beading also makes me think of where we came from. I like the notion of engaging in an activity that people have been engaged in for thousands of years.” 
Keep it glassy
Some crafts, such as creating stained glass pieces, are less repetitive. It’s less about getting into a pattern as it is about keeping a steady hand and practicing. It’s a craft that can be frustrating, said Mark Frank, one of the owners at Renaissance Glassworks — some people come in once and decide that they’d rather purchase the glass than make it — but at the same time, it’s also something that he and a number of his students have found addicting.
There are tools and materials that you need, and so the best way to learn would be going to a place like Renaissance Glassworks (in the Picker Building, 99 Factory St., Nashua, They usually host three classes at once, every five weeks. 
In this craft, the result is certainly a draw — the studio itself is speckled with items for sale, works in progress and glass to choose from in every color imaginable. The best-looking pieces are usually always going to the be ones hanging against the window.
“People like having a hands-on, creative outlet, and when you’re done, you really have something to show for it,” Frank said. “There’s something about turning raw materials into something of value.”
He co-owns the business with his wife, Kathy Frank, which they started in the ‘80s. They were one of the few stained glass companies to survive the struggling economy. They specialize in custom-designed stained glass, perform restorations/repairs and teach classes.
It starts with a pattern. Glass is purchased in large, rectangular sheets. Some are manufactured, some handmade. Wildflowers, birds and nature scenes are popular patterns among New Hampshire residents, but Kathy and Mark Frank provide a template for you your first time. Step one: cut out the pattern shapes. If you don’t get it exactly right at first, you’ll smooth it with a grinder. Before you solder, the shapes should fit together like a puzzle.
Then, you solder the pieces together. In your first class, you’ll use the copper foil method (see box). This means before you solder, you need to attach a copper tape to the edges of shapes, so that when you finally solder, the foil will stick to the copper. 
What’s the hardest part about glass fusion? 
“All of it,” joked Mark and Kathy Frank’s son Kyle, who regularly works in the Nashua studio. 
“We get the same rewards as our students. It’s great to create things of beauty, and to see the finished piece at the end. A lot of times it’s functional as well: we make stained glass mirrors, boxes, etc.,” Mark Frank said. 
Wood carving caricatures
When Joe Marshall started woodcarving 30 years ago, he carved birds. That’s what the class specialized in, and so that’s what he learned first.
But he hasn’t made one in 16 years. The last one he made was a life-sized loon, a gift to his daughter. It took so long to make (two years) that he stopped carving birds and started carving Santa statues instead. 
He and Jim Thompson meet every month to carve together in Marshall’s basement. Their weekly meeting is one of the only wood carving meet-ups that they know of (their group is called Nashua Woodcarvers; the group used to be much bigger than it is now), but if you’re going to start out, it certainly helps to work with people who carve, too. 
“I think a lot of people still carve in New Hampshire but just don’t do it as part of a group,” Thompson said, who has been carving for about 20 years now.
Wood carving involves a little woodworking, a little whittling. Most of the items they create are taken from patterns in books and magazines, but the caricatures are particularly nice to make because if you mess up, it’s okay—it’s supposed to look a little silly.
Usually, the first step is to trace the stencil of the item you’re making on a block of wood (how big depends on the size of the item itself). Then, cut the shape out with a bandsaw. (Some professionals and businesses actually do this “roughed out” part for you, Marshall said.) There are a few different approaches in how you start out, but no matter what, you need to make at least the basic shape of the item you’re carving before you do anything with a smaller knife.
“I enjoy carving; what I like is the challenge of trying to pull the piece out of the wood,” Marshall said. 
It can be relaxing or frustrating depending on how things are going. In his experience, those people who have artistic training of some sort seem to take to woodcarving more easily, but as with anything, the more you practice, the better you’ll get.

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