Who better to hold the world record for paper aeroplane flight than an aeronautical engineer? Ken Blackburn's childhood hobby has turned into a successful career, with a line of books on paper aeroplanes, the coveted Guinness Record, and now this popular web site. His enthusiasm is infectious, inspiring kids the world over to learn about aerodynamics the fun way - and get a lot of detention.
Sample: "When I was about 4 years old we settled in Kernersville, North Carolina on a 56 acre farm with horses, cows, chickens, ..."
Verdict: One man's brave and successful attempt at getting a life. - SS
Machine Knitting Down Under
Machine Knitting is alive and well and coming to a town near you. A nationwide network of knit-wits operates a never-ending travelling road-show of seminars, workshops and tea binge-drinking parties where tricks of the trade are exchanged. Only a few ideas on the web site indicate that knitters prefer to meet in person. Too bad, in a way, because the web is ideal for this kind of thing. Why not join a local club? Follow the link to the host page, you will find more.
Sample: Australia is about the same size as mainland U. S. A. (excluding Alaska) even though it does not look it in an Atlas.
Verdict: Indeedy Doody. And what fine knitters we are too! - SS
Net Worth: ***
Basket weaving addicts of the world unite! From professionals to true basket cases who need to weave to retain their sanity, the site is filled with tips, meetings, clubs, and even a few jokes. 500 links to on-line weavers hooks you into a huge community where friends are made easily, with the common understanding of what it is to love to turn strands of grass into useable and saleable commodities.
Sample: "Remember to weave a bit of joy into your life each day"-- Joni T. Ross
Verdict: A riveting reed. - SS
Fabric Origami Workshop
This colourfully convincing site offers you an introduction into turning your remnants into beautiful creations. Taking the whole genre beyond napkin folding at the dinner table, a range of decorative items and boxes can be folded, embroidered and decorated. If you make a mistake, just iron out the creases and start again! Download the Adobe Acrobat .pdf files for the diagrams, and you're on your way to the markets with a stall full of goodies.
Sample: FAQ- "What kind of set up do you use to apply stiffy?"
Verdict: The mind boggles at the possibilities. - SS
Beautiful Netting - How To Make It
The centuries-old art of net making is handed down to the cyber-generation in this detailed and comprehensive discourse. The loops, twists, knots and stitches are presented to the visitor so as to convey the complex craft in an easy to understand way. This is more than just a crash course with Grandma on the weekend. Links and other resources lead you toward a new life of doily-making and hammock-swinging.
Sample: "Pull out all of your fingers except the little one."
Verdict: Once upon a time, this was the only net we knew. - SS
Tattered - Tatting, Lace
Tatting takes net making a few steps further by upping the ante on the knot front. This lace portal brings you not only instructions, but patterns, newsletters, a bit if history, book reviews and some fun stuff to boot. Part of the tatting web ring, you are now launched into the world of lace, and all is before you. Plenty of opportunity to meet others in bulletin boards and mailing lists. There is even a Tataholics Anonymous! All in good fun, of course.
Sample: The sink is full, the wash needs done, I've got to beat the mat.
Will the housework never end? I think I'm gonna tat!
Verdict: This tatting tattle is not too tatty. - SS
Aussie country gal Lyn, after a bit of a TAFE course, has found her passion in life - needlecraft. I don't know where she gets the time with three kids and all, but she's also managed to become quite the web-mistress as well. A very pretty and involving site covers a great deal of the world of needles. Smocking, quilting, cross-stitching is covered in amazing detail and with great enthusiasm. Lyn has even put together an HTML help page! She was born to create, and this site shines with her magic touch.
Sample: 'I did a search for smocking related sites and guess what? No matter which Search Engine I used, the results were always the same:- One or two links about "smocking marijuana"!'
Verdict: On-ya Lyn!. - SS
INLAY.COM home of wood marquetry info, intarsia pics, inlay images, pietre dure inlay stone work
The front page is simply divided into sections to follow each arm of this craft. From marquetry to inlay and mosaics, each section covers some examples of fine work, a bit of information and links to either groups or businesses. A discussion group is quite popular, but the site in general leaves a bit to be desired in the "how-to" and "hands on" department. This is inlay.com after all. A 40-page manual is fairly in-depth. Nice pictures could inspire, and links will lead you to the right place.
Sample: "Today, with the aid of modern shop equipment, the work no longer presents
unusual difficulties and the ancient craft is once more gaining in popularity as a recreational activity."
Verdict: To marquet, to marquet you go. - SS
Flintknapping - Learn to Make Stone Tools with D.C. Waldorf, Master Flintknapper
How about this for a bit of R & R? Regress to your primitive roots and start chipping away at a chunk of stone to make an arrowhead for slaying wild beasts. Flintknapping is alive and well, as the technology-weary souls of this world seek out new ways to discover what being human is all about. This simple act of carefully striking off shards of flint can really do the trick. It's surprising how much of this is going on.
Sample: If you could trace your ancestors back far enough, you would certainly find flintknappers among them.
Verdict: The perfect afternoon - carve some flint, have a nap. - SS
Aunt Annie's Crafts
A small software company has struck on the idea of packaging all those cute little craft ideas like puppets, boxes, games and flowers into affordable software, bringing the humble craft book onto the computer. Somehow, though, I can't see it really working as you start cutting, gluing and taping while trying to click your mouse to see the next instruction. It could be good for schools to print out, copy and hand out to the class.
Sample: Aunt Annie's Crafts takes the craft how-to book one step further...
Verdict: Aunty gets decidedly entrepreneurial. - SS
Aunt Molly's Bead Street
This handy little site offers a few lessons in basic beadwork, in fairly easy to follow pictures and instructions. Once you get the basics down, there are dozens of patterns to make. Also included are a whole bunch of links to other beading sites, and for those who want to put their own little site together, a few gifs, backgrounds and other goodies to decorate your cyber-classroom.
Sample: "Free stuff on the Web -- a kinder, gentler anarchy."
Verdict: Feast yer beady eyes on this!- SS
In a very simply laid out list of options, the Beadworker's front page brings you all the help you need to become a worldly beader. Print out bead patterns, graded projects, a gallery, bead-designing software, artists, shops and information. A great set of links tops it off, and gets you adorning yourself, your family and the rest of the world with these universally appealing fashion accessories.
Sample: Once you learn the basic techniques to make a suncatcher, the possibilities are endless!
Verdict: After a few easy lessons, and picking up 1000's of beads from the floor, I finally worked out the secret - use the vacuum cleaner. - SS
Clara's Beading Page
This site is a little malnourished in the beading content department. However, you do get a few patterns and tips, and the site is a great jumping in point to "The Beaders' Circle" web-ring. There are some quality direct links, updated regularly, and a good dose of Clara's personality, in the form of her weekly editorials. Quite the jester, she is, too.
Sample: The alarm clock rings, and I merely throw back my head and laugh. Pitiful alarm clock! It is no match for my sleep-prowess!
Verdict: The beading world's Dave Letterman. - SS
Not your standard indigenous beading creations here. These are cute little easy-to make critters made with your larger 'pony' beads, perfect for kids to play with and adorn their bedrooms. Books, patterns, links, FAQ's and message boards, make these critters irresistibly appealing to the "I want it cute and I want it now" craft-workers who really don't want to try too hard to get something looking good.
Sample: Message Board - Very Frustrated: I'm in desperate need of a Garfield pattern!
Verdict: You've come to the right place. Hail the mighty critters! - SS
Woodworking Plans - Woodnet
Woodworking is such a hugely popular pastime, I thought I'd dive in on a site that offered plenty of instant access to 100 plans, 101 tips and resources. Commercial though it is, this site is chocka-block full of help and ideas to enhance anyone's level of expertise. The 'best plans on the web' are here to browse, sample and buy. Links abound, along with tool reviews, forums and a free weekly tip via e-mail to all subscribers.
Sample: To keep power cords rolled up when not in use, I keep them tied with elastic ponytail holders.
Verdict: Then I pick up my next tool and rip my scalp off when my hair gets caught in the motor. (Actually the tips are really useful!) - SS
Woodworking at Woodweb
This is an essential bookmark for hard-core professionals and serious amateurs. Run by a large staff of successful woodworkers, the site is designed to offer as much information as possible to promote the exchange of ideas and resources among the woodworking community. Hundreds of sponsors allow for the creation of a multitude of forums and presentation of articles on all areas of pro woodworking.
Sample: WOODWEB.. offers the "real world" information that you need to remain competitive.
Verdict: Even the pro's get unhinged, and help is at hand. - SS
U-beaut Enterprises has done a good job of gathering together a collection of woodworking resources. Events, clubs, workshops and exhibitions are featured, along with a springboard of links to other Australian sites. A definite bookmark, with local content a major bonus. There's plenty of it, and unlike a lot of dry, technical overseas sites, there is a definite Aussie friendliness here.
Sample: Buy, Swap, Sell - The owner of a property at Ferny Creek wants an old dead oak tree removed.
Verdict: Generous, helpful and friendly. You beauty. - SS
Martin Jeffery - Maritime Carving and Restoration
The majesty and grace (not to mention the rats and the scurvy) of the old sailing ships is being revived the world over as restoration projects bring back the charm of wind-powered travel. Martin Jeffery is a wood carver dedicated to creating figureheads and other relics of the maritime past. This attractive site shows his works in various stages of development, and allow a glimpse into restorations around the world. The reviewer happens to know that the site has actually generated some new commissions for Mr Jeffery, proving that all is not lost on the high seas of the WWW.
Sample: She was the largest square-rigger ever built. Walking forward on her fo'castle was like climbing a hill
Verdict: Ok I admit it. I designed the site myself. I have to like it! - SS
Couture's Cross Stitch Place
Sometimes the most useful and rewarding sites are not the ones packed with info, graphics, tips and tricks. The beauty of the web is that with a few clicks you can go anywhere. A good set of simple links can provide much more value than an under-funded, under-staffed attempt at being THE resource. Here is an excellent example. Basically it's one page of links and another page of message board postings. All you need, really. Now off you surf.
Sample: Let's keep this fun for EVERYONE!!!!!
Verdict: Sewing communal links around the world. - SS
Billi's Designer Studio
Claiming the title of First Australian Needlecraft Site on the Internet, this fairly high-tech operation utilises the benefits of browser technology to show off a site full of original works and patterns for sale on and off line. And quite a collection it is! Somehow this has got something to do with Nostradamus. Perhaps the power has been passed on, because this is one pearler of a site.
Sampler: Trade/ Distributor/ Private/ Publisher inquiries are welcome!
Verdict: Billi ain't silly. There's gold in them there handicrafts. - SS
Creative Fibre - The New Zealand Spinning, Weaving and Woolcrafts Society
This web site has woven together all the strands of the wool-craft community in New Zealand to form a base from which to connect with one another and organise events and activities. It's not packed with too much in the tips and tricks department, instead opting to be the contact point, with names, addresses and phone numbers to get your real life happening. Not a bad option really, since there are actual humans at the end of all these optical fibres.
Sample: Meet every 2nd Wednesday.. to enjoy spinning, knitting, dyeing and felting, and each others company.
Verdict: Weaving the fabric of our society. - SS
Hand-Spinning Dog Hair
Chiengora - Dog Hair - yes, believe it or not folks, someone has discovered a use for at least one of your dog's by-products. Start sweeping your floor and brushing the lounge and car seats because you are about to knit yourself a howler of a jumper. Find out if your dog's hair is suitable, then learn to spin it into wool, remove the doggie smells and start knitting. What better way to feel close to your pooch than wearing it? Put on a flea collar and worm yourself, and you are THERE! Woof Woof!
Sample: More and more people are proudly saying, "Yes, the item I'm wearing is special. It's Chiengora, the fur from my very own dog."
Verdict: They say people look like their pets, but this is ridiculous! - SS
Forget you average belt, wallet and handbag making ventures. Lets go back to medieval times, slay a few bovines and whip up some parchment, saddles and knife sheaths. A member of the Society for Creative Antiquity, the author of this site introduces you to a fascinating world, rediscovering the craft, culture and science of the middle ages. Join the world-wide network of enthusiasts and develop your talents, while enriching your social life.
Sample: Soak skin in a saturated solution of slaked lime (Ca[OH2]) for approximately 3 days to loosen hair. Stir periodically.
Verdict: At once gross - and engrossing. - SS
Staceyjoy's Knitting Stitch Portfolio
What starts off looking like a very good sewing pattern site (which it definitely is) turns into something else when you realise the creator is not only a sewing freak but a computer animation buff, webmistress extraordinaire and chihuahua lover. This makes for a very interesting site, not only for the crazy animations and stuff, but the excellent stitch patterns that have qualified for inclusion in such a talented lady's creation.
Sample: But the fruit that can fall without shaking, / Indeed is too mellow for me.
Verdict: Plenty of fine fruit to shake off here. - SS
Woolworks - The On Line Knitting Compendium
If you are a hand-knitter, this is YOUR site. It not only gives you dozens of free patterns for sweaters, socks, scarves etc, is plunges you into a woolly ocean you will immerse yourself in until every ounce of interest and curiosity you have about wool and knitting has been satisfied. From the ten basic links on the front page, you will go deeper and deeper, discovering mailing lists, books, a gallery, a discussion board and much more. All created and maintained for no commercial gain, just to support you, the knitter.
Sample: I'm just a knitter who had some Web space.
Verdict: Ewe should bookmark this site immediately. - SS
Great Craft Ideas Page
This is the kind of site you should bookmark to revisit on that rainy Sunday when you feel like getting out some glue, paper and other fun stuff, to while away a few hours constructively. Basically, it is a selection of fun craft ideas updated and archived regularly, that will hopefully get you interested enough to buy a few magazines. A lot more free stuff here than most commercial sites, and not too stingy on the links, either.
Sample: "I desperately need the pattern for red heeled hunting socks that can be made into a monkey"
Verdict: This DIY thing is a rather diverse artform. - SS
Knit Your Way To Glamour
Just in case the fashions of the first half of this century ever come back into vogue, here are all the knitting patterns for you faithfully recreate the garments of your choice. Original photos accompany the patterns of items such as a cosy WW2 helmet liner and tres-chic knee warmers. Although the site is quite light-hearted, the patterns are for real. God-knows why. There is as much chance of this stuff being fashionable again as there is of Gary Glitter making a comeback.
Sample: With today's kids so fashion-conscious, maybe you'd better make this winter ensemble for a kid you don't like!
Verdict: I guess today's stuff will be just as laughable in 50 years. - SS
Wool enters the counter-culture, and in so doing attracts an actual male to the knitting needles. He learns how to do one simple item, and then goes all entrepreneurial and builds a web site to flog it to the world. I guess it would be too uncool to branch out from homie headgear into cardies for grandma. Yossel has a good sense of humour and lots of friends to help him turn the row counter and boost the hit counter. This is a fun site, and the Toessels are pretty fly on all the feral-looking models. Time to place an order, I feel.
Sample: Coming to my site for knitting patterns is like taking a class in literary criticism from Mike Tyson.
Verdict: Turning knitting into virtual street theatre - SS
You are now entering a strange world. The world of "outsider art", where every piece is a kooky one-off product of twisted inspiration, honed out of whatever materials they might have had lying around at the time. Roadside art, prison art, folk art - interesting ideas abound in this breeding ground (trailer park) of alternative thought. It might just spark your imagination to send you off to the bottom drawer to dig out some paper clips, key rings and sealing wax and create your own personal contribution to the collective attempt at giving humanity some self awareness.
Sample: Is it any surprise that so much of America's great art can be seen from the window of a passing car, where artistic preconceptions and ambitions don't exist?
Verdict: Art for heart's sake. - SS