Try a New Hobby in the New Year

The start of a new year is a great time to explore your creativity and learn new skills. There are a variety of crafts that are easy to pick up and don’t require a large investment in tools and materials. Check out one of our arts & crafts kits and other resources to get started.

Loom knitting
If you’re interested in learning to knit but the idea of trying to coordinate two knitting needles makes you nervous, give loom knitting a try. Loom knitting is also good for people who have trouble holding regular knitting needles. It’s fun for kids to learn as well.

Looms come in different sizes and shapes, and can be used to make everything from hats to scarves to socks. The library has circular looms available for check out in kits that include an instruction book and some yarn for practice.

Rubber stamps

Rubber stamps are a terrific introduction to the art of printmaking. With just stamps and an ink pad or two you can make your own greeting cards and invitations, and create unique scrapbook pages. The library has themed rubber stamp kits for winter/Christmas, patterns/designs, autumn/Halloween, nature, birthday, Asian motifs and sewing designs.

Rubber stamps are a type of relief printing. If stamping is your thing, you can expand your skills and learn to carve your own stamps or move on to linocuts or woodcuts.

Counted cross stitch

Counted cross stitch is a wonderful way to start stitching because the holes are already poked for you! With some Aida fabric, a blunt tapestry needle, some embroidery floss and a pattern, you’ll be up and stitching in no time.

The library offers a cross stitch kit that includes fabric, thread, needles and simple designs to help you get stitching. We also have books with hundreds of cross stitch patterns so you can find just the right pattern for your project.


Once you’ve mastered a needle and thread you can build on your skills by cross stitching on regular fabric or felt and exploring different embroidery stitches with the library’s embroidery kit. Whether they’re simple or complex, adding embroidery designs to your fabric projects will make them uniquely yours.

If you want to learn more about cross stitch and embroidery and to meet people who share your interest, the Topeka Needlework Guild has monthly meetings. Call 785-806-4806 to learn more.

The library’s arts & crafts kits give you a chance to try it before you buy it, an opportunity to explore a new craft at no cost. In addition to the kits listed above, the library also has kits on: tatting, crochet, knitting, spool knitting, drop spindle, origami and knitting in the round.

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Brea Black is the Art Librarian and Book Arts Curator in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery. Her favorite thing is to share the wonderful world of artists' books with the community. She also leads the Arts & Crafts team and teaches workshops on bookmaking, altered books, and a variety of crafty topics.