Addi Turbo Circular Needles($12-$23, A Grand Yarn)
Any knitting friend will tell you: You can never have too many knitting needles. And Addi Turbos -- made in Germany and constructed of sleek, nickel-plated brass -- are considered the Audi Turbo of the knitting world. For one, they're fast. Their tips are designed for maximum speed and they feature pliable, perfectly joined cords. They're also quiet -- the most noise you'll get out of them while knitting is a soft little chiming sound. But one of the things I like best about Addi Turbo needles is their style. Silvery, sleek and oh-so-shapely, Addi Turbos will get you on the knitting Autobahn in no time.
Get Crafty: Hip Home Ec ($15, Auntie's)
Bust writer and editor Deb Stoller (Stitch 'n' Bitch) said it best: "Crafting is the new rock 'n' roll." And if that's the case, longtime Greenwich Village resident Jean Railla is the new Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde and all the members of Sleater Kinney rolled into one. Railla spent her early 20s doing what all good bohemians do -- smoking cloves, savoring the nightlife and using her apartment as nothing more than a crash pad. One day, looking around her dreary little place, she felt the first inklings of domesticity that would later spawn her fabulous Web site (www.getcrafty.com) and this fine "how to" book. Augmented by smart, funny discussions on how craftiness is the ideal outlet for third-wave feminists, Railla's book guides the reader through cooking, cleaning, sewing, decorating and many other previously "girly" fine arts. Want to make some deliciously citrusy limoncello to give as gifts? Need to make a set of bookshelves, fast? Want to know how to paint a room efficiently and easily? Railla can help you find your inner Happy Homemaker.
Jordana Paige Knitter's Purse ($78, Sew EZ Too)
While most yarn stores carry tote bags, many of them exhibit a quality those of us who grew up in the '80s know as fugly. Quilted, appliqu & eacute;d, shaped like diaper bags and more often than not sporting Teddy Bear or cabbage rose prints, most totes aren't anything you'd be willing to leave the house with. Until now. Jordana Bags are every bit as stylish as your favorite handbag and their two pocket interiors allow you to use them as both a purse and a tote. One side has pockets for various needle sizes and tools (there's even one wide enough for a cell phone) and is good for stashing patterns, the newspaper or whatever else you need to carry with you. The other side is roomy enough for numerous skeins of yarn and has a special loop inside for tangle-free yarn delivery. Each bag even comes with a pair of bamboo needles. While it's designed for knitters, you could easily use this for any of the needled crafts (crochet, needlepoint, etc.) As we go to press, this company is also working on a really chic messenger bag. Cool!
Fiskars Personal Paper Cutters ($15-$73, Spokane Art Supply)
Why keep coming in early or on weekends to use your company's paper cutter when you can get the job done at home (often, with better results) using Fiskars line of personal paper cutting devices. Whether you're a scrapbooker, a card maker or the editrix/publisher of your own fabulous zine, you can't go wrong with Fiskars line of personal paper cutters, including the 12-inch small enough to stash in a desk drawer ($15) and the highly capable rotary paper trimmer ($73), which comes with a non-skid base and rotary cutters for a variety of edges (including deckled -- yay!). This one can even make perfect, middle-of-the-page slits for DIY Chinese paper lanterns. Best of all, it lacks that French Revolution element of danger you find with most school/office paper cutters using that scary, choppy handled blade. Safe and easy.
Handbound Journals and Albums ($12-$47, Studio 901)
It's easy to grab a blank book (readily available at your local bookstore, card shop, office supply store and craft mega warehouse), open the pages and set to work. It's quite another to start with a book that is itself handmade. Different textures and weights of paper, all handsewn into a sturdy binding, lend themselves to intriguing journaling and photo album possibilities, and the covers feature either vintage fabric or hand-printed art designed by local artist Jan Christine. Choose from little address book-sized ones with groovy 1950s-style geometric patterned covers, journal-sized ones with elegant gingko woodcuts or big black-paged photo albums with fabric covers.
Publication date: 12/09/04