5 crafts you can teach yourself to calm your mind and keep you busy

You can only watch so much Netflix. After several hours of high, you will likely be looking for something more calming and productive than watching Outlander.

Picking up a new craft (or two) is fun and has proven benefits. Knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure, and lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Instagram has quietly revived and modernized many fiber crafts that once seemed extinct, from the macrame of the 1970s to the bargello, the needlepoint style that once adorned all of those cozy handkerchiefs. Here are suggestions for five fiber crafts to try, complete with links to how-to videos that guide you through the basics, even if you’ve never picked up a needle or hook:

Macrame: This gnarled craft became fashionable decades ago for a reason: it’s very easy to learn, and it’s possible to create an entire macrame project in just an hour or two.

The craft’s Instagram revival was fueled by a West Coast craftswoman named Emily Katz, who teaches popular Minneapolis workshops and wrote a book called Modern Macramé.

Katz created an how-to video for House Beautiful’s YouTube channel that includes easy-to-understand instructions for a project that is a perfect introduction to the craft: a plant hanger.

Go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVTpdhOKa2U

Crochet: The hook and thread craft that brought us to Granny Square is sponsored by a boy from Wisconsin who posts projects for his 230,000+ Instagram followers as @jonahhands.

Kind of a crochet wonder, Jonah Larson, an 11-year-old from La Crosse, has taught celebrities like actress Drew Barrymore to crochet. He has a YouTube channel and creates tutorial videos for yarn company Yarnspirations. The videos are fun even if you don’t crochet with him.

Go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vli6Tmsf1Q

Bargelo: This old school needlepoint craft creates changing, often trippy, patterns on canvas or plastic.

Brett Bara, who owns a craft store in Brooklyn, became obsessed with it a few years ago after finding old patterns in a used bookstore. She started posting her projects on Instagram and got such a huge response that she launched her own Hello Bargello brand with kits for items like planters, sunglasses cases and, yes, tissue boxes.

She has a number of free how-to videos on her website that teach beginners all there is to know about Bargello.

Go to: https://hellobargello.com/pages/learn-to-bargello

Punch needle: The satisfying punch, punch, punch of this vintage craft that pulls loops of yarn through the canvas is a big part of its appeal.

St. Paul artist Lindsay Gruetzmacher, who posts as @ l.vandemaker, discovered it on Instagram in 2017. She graduated from Vermont to become a certified Oxford Punch Needle instructor and is now teaching workshops in Minnesota.

She also sells threads and accessories in her online shop illustrgoods.com. Gruetzmacher’s teacher Amy Oxford has instructional videos on her company’s YouTube channel.

Go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uuTMpkGCKqk

Knit: Knitting, a traditional fiber craft, has seen a revival that has been going strong since the days of Instagram. If you’ve always wanted to learn, Debbie Stoller, editor of Bust magazine and a Stitch Master who has written a number of popular “Stitch ‘n Bitch” books for beginners, is a great person to turn to. One of her best how-to videos is this scarf tutorial, which was created for Good Housekeeping’s YouTube channel.

Go to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUB4CrAQdjg

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