Top 10 Crafts that Should be Reincarnated

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Though the crafts below are still practiced in a few faraway nooks and crannies, their devoted brethren have dwindled like green grass in a meadow stampeded by hungry cattle. True, people had more time for crafts back in the day, but that’s no excuse for letting them slip through the sieve of popularity. Someone should bring them back to life!

10. Lace Making. Know how to do this, and you can grandma-chic up your whole closet.
9. Basketweaving. Done underwater or not, this seems to be a lost art.
8. Manuscript Illumination. One must be a pious painter to do this, because that whole ‘pretending you can paint’ ‘monk-ey’ business would get you nowhere.
7. Victorian Paper Cutwork. One must be razor-sharp or scissor-skillful to craft crafty cutwork. (These instructions help, though.)
6. Friendship Bracelets. In fourth grade, these were the best things ever. What happened to them?
5. Lucet Braiding. I’ll confess – even with this tutorial, I hardly even know what this is, but it was apparently a Medieval marvel.
4. Cobbling. Wouldn’t ‘shoe’ like to know how this is done?
3. Handloom Weaving. I’m not sure how one would fit a loom in their apartment, but I’d like to see someone try!
2. Chainmail Making. Working with this much metal must make one’s little armies tired!
1. Canoe Carving. It’s ‘a-boat’ time someone brought this craft back to life.

Are you skilled in any of these arts? Do you practice some other unusual craft? Let us know!

22 Responses to Top 10 Crafts that Should be Reincarnated

  1. Kathryn 03/05/2010 at 1:43 pm #

    I have made a basket before. I also know people who have businesses in making chainmail and carving canoes!

  2. Becky 03/05/2010 at 1:56 pm #

    I made myself a chainmaille necklace once. It turned out pretty well…except I have to remake it with better wire because it started making my neck turn green.

  3. Lily 03/05/2010 at 1:59 pm #

    This one made me laugh. I own a lucet and have used it a number of times for making cords and tapes. I know people who can do pretty well all of these things. There is currently a 60″ floor loom hanging out in my basement… I’m happy that you are drawing attention to these activities, but I would hesitate to call them crafts, to me they are arts! They take much more skill then whipping out a glue gun!

  4. Alana 03/05/2010 at 3:09 pm #

    I’ve woven baskets out of pine needles that look beautiful, although they take a long time. I’m also a champion friendship bracelet maker–it helps that I was a summer camp counselor and got a lot of practice!

  5. Kate 03/05/2010 at 4:02 pm #

    Huh. I wore the friendship bracelets I made up until 10th grade. I do kinda miss them.

  6. Heather C 03/05/2010 at 4:12 pm #

    “3. Handloom Weaving. I’m not sure how one would fit a loom in their apartment, but I’d like to see someone try!”

    I am studying fashion design and textile development and can weave sample yardage on a hand loom or dobby loom. Hand looms can be as small as the tower of a desktop computer!

  7. Jo 03/05/2010 at 4:16 pm #

    I know how to do Victorian Paper Cutting. (I taught my self with an old book of my moms) Also my sister can make chain-mail. I think I remember how to make friendship bracelets, not sure though.

  8. Katie 03/05/2010 at 4:23 pm #

    One of my next sewing projects is going to involve friendship bracelet-style straps. I’m pretty excited to get try it again.

  9. Samantha 03/05/2010 at 4:36 pm #

    I’d love to make a little straw basket! And you’re so right about the lace-making; I’d put lace on all my clothes~ Oh, and those eyelet trims would be cute to make too!

  10. Lisa 03/05/2010 at 4:49 pm #

    I’m taking a Fiber and Material Studies class this semester and just did some loom weaving the other day! The looms could easily fit on a table in any apartment. Now if I could just get my art school to let me borrow one…

  11. Jessie 03/05/2010 at 5:01 pm #

    I spent this past January learning to weave on a 20-inch horizontal loom! It was so much fun; I made myself a gorgeous little high-waisted skirt with petal closures and a bright orange lining! It was a lot easier than I expected, and super rewarding. I wear my skirt a little too much these days… I’ve got to get a loom of my own!

  12. Callie 03/05/2010 at 6:23 pm #

    Ha ha, I don’t weave much myself, but my mom is a fiber artist, and she has a 10′, a 12′ and a Jacquard TC-1 hand-loom in her studio… pretty fabulous! We love the traditional crafts!

  13. Kate 03/05/2010 at 6:23 pm #

    I actually do make chainmail! It’s quite easy to learn, really. All you need are the supplies (metal rings and pliers) and a decent sense of patterns and spacial relations. I tell people it’s like knitting with metal.

  14. Kaley 03/05/2010 at 7:22 pm #

    I can weave! Through the combined efforts of my great-grandfather and some people at the museum I volunteer at. You can really still do these things, you just have to know how to learn. Classes at your local museum are a great place to start though,

  15. Keaven Willa 03/06/2010 at 9:55 am #

    My Grandmother taught me how to knit when I was little, before it was “cool” again, so I appreciate looking into crafts that have been forgotten for a while, but are still just as fun and useful as they used to be. When I got older and stilled liked to knit, I bought books that had fun patterns, like Stitch N’ Bitch, which not only had some great project ideas for me to learn, but they have some wonderful ideas on their website for how to start bringing knitting back into your life.

  16. Shelbybird 03/07/2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I’ve always been super crafty – partially because I have no skill WHATSOEVER in sports. I had to do something when I was little.

    I have coiled baskets, though I can’t weave them. I knit like a mofo and am currently knitting a lace stole. And I also weave. My grandmother tatted (another lace-making skill) and I want to learn to tat, as well. I make jewelry and I’ve made some pieces in chainmaille, though they were in cheap metal, so I couldn’t really wear them…I guess it was more about learning the process.

    Huzzah for bringing attention to old arts. If anyone wants to join a huge knit/crochet community, check out

  17. Lauren 03/09/2010 at 11:58 am #

    I have a few friends that know the art of the lucet. I also enjoy finger loop braiding (which may have been the Medieval beginnings of friendship bracelets). If anyone is interested in some of the more Medieval arts, you might want to contact your local SCA ( group.

  18. Ashley J 03/10/2010 at 7:31 pm #

    I took a spinning class in 4-H back in the day… yes, that’s spinning yarn with a wheel! It took a while to get the hang of it, but it is really relaxing once you get going!

  19. Millia 03/12/2010 at 4:37 pm #

    I can do Illuminated Letters, and I have a friend who is an accomplished wool spinner (she has a spinning wheel and everything!) lots of these “crafts” can be learned quite easily with a little research and a bit of time!

  20. Erinn 03/17/2010 at 10:33 am #

    I am studying to become a shoe maker/designer! I have been accepted to school in London and am currently trying my hand at the real hands on craft this week in Jerome AZ. You can see my progress of all the days on the schools site!

    I am also a lover of knitting!

  21. Ashley 03/30/2010 at 11:16 am #

    I’m an avid cross-stitch (A trend I’m afraid is severely out of style and I WISH it would come back.)

    But whenever I finish a project, I use the left over Embroidery Floss for friendship bracelets on a loom I made out of a piece of cardboard with slots cut with a box cutter. I learned how to make them from a cartoon, since I was sOoOoOoOo unpopular no one at school would teach me.

  22. Lia 12/31/2010 at 11:18 am #

    I basketweave whenever I can find the supplies. It’s hugely fun, and very fast and easy. I learned how at a crafts fair in Switzerland and I haven’t found materials since.

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