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Hot geek hobby: crafting

The geek craft movement is on the rise. See photos of geeky crafts, including a knit Dalek, a binary scarf, and video game designs on quilts.

The last decade has seen a rise in the popularity of crafting. Knitting and quilting are among the top handicrafts that are currently popular. People who study society have credited the economy with encouraging people to cut back and make things themselves. Ask most crafters, though, and you'll be told that a lot of the rise in the popularity of arts and crafts is thanks to the Internet. It is easier than ever to look up a lesson and learn how to do something. The Internet also connects people, taking crafting out of the private realm and into the most public forum humanity has ever experienced.

Being that geeks have long been enjoying things that come with social stigma, it's really no surprise that geeks are heavily invested in the craft movement. The fun thing about crafting is that you can indulge your obsessions and be creative. Plus, crafters tend to be pretty friendly. I've yet to hear of anybody being bullied on a crafting forum for coming up with a great tutorial for making geeky stuff.

Knitting seems to be very popular with the geek set. From knit DNA strands, to Binary scarves, knitting is essentially using math to turn a straight line (piece of yarn) into a three-dimensional object. What's geekier than loving Doctor Who? How about knitting a Dalek (or Dalek socks)? Of course, once you knit a Dalek, you'll need to knit up a little Tardis, so the Doctor can come save you from extermination.

Close-up of a binary scarf made by Christine Dumoulin, who also created the pattern. (Photo credit: Christine Dumoulin)

Dalek socks. (Photo credit: Tia Haller)

Quilting is all about geometry, and it turns out that old, blocky looking video games make great quilt designs. All those pixels are perfect for making simple quilt blocks into geometric, fabric works of art. Quilting also offers a great medium to express math and science geekery in particular.

The Plumber (based on Super Mario Bros.) and The Monkey (based on Donkey Kong) quilt patterns. (Photo credit: Emily Cier)

The City and The Castle quilt patterns (both are based on Final Fantasy). (Photo credit: Emily Cier)

The geek craft movement has grown so much that Etsy, a handmade goods e-tailer, has devoted an entire store section to Geekery. The Geekery Etsy shop is a great place to see examples of geek crafting beyond knitting and quilting. Steampunk geeks seem to enjoy making jewelry, which certainly counts as arts and crafts. I almost want to include robot building as a geek craft, though I think it may be too high-tech to count.

Also check out the photos in the TechRepublic gallery: Offbeat laptop sleeves at Barry's Farm.

What geek crafts do you enjoy? Do you think building robots count as a geek craft? Let me know in the comments.

About

Nicole Bremer Nash is Director of Content and Social Media for HuTerra, where she uses SEO and social media to promote charitable organizations in their community-building and fundraising efforts. She enjoys volunteering, arts and crafts, and conduct...

17 comments
ohlauren
ohlauren

I've always been a geek, and I've always been a crafter, both in many different mediums, and they're merging more and more! I mostly crochet and knit lately, so Jayne hats (from Firefly) are super geektastically fun! and I'm about 2 and a half feet into a Doctor Who scarf (a la Tom Baker). It makes sense to me, because geek culture, craft culture, and internet culture are surprisingly similar, and all mesh together really well. Also, there's something mixed in there about dinosaurs I can't quite articulate. :D

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

It's slow tedious work that may use offcuts but it's certainly not the cheapest way to make something. I can remember when I was asked to step in to manage a shop that sold Sewing Machines years ago now and they had Quilting Displays on hand. One person walked in wanting to buy a King Size Quilt that was made up of 1/4 inch squares. They offered $50.00 for it no matter that it took over 1,000 hours to sew together. While it's been ages since I've been to any Craft Shows the last one that i went to I noticed the quality of the Quilting had gone to hell. There where loose threads hanging off the back and the edges where not finished off so the finial quilt was built for Show not Go. It would not have survived it's first wash. ;) OH and the people that run these shows are Pedantic. Don't touch no matter what, you can look but most defiantly [b]Never Touch.[/b] :0 When I worked for Bernina over 30 years ago now they ran Monthly Quilting Clubs where the users could come and talk, meet and so on as they pleased. The silly people asked me to give a 15 minute talk on needles and 3 hours latter I was still speaking. :D Also at that Time the other High End Sewing Machine Maker Elna had the same thing in addition to their normal classes. Col

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

before I was computing. Gardening, canning, jellying, too. Each of these is a direct involvement with survival. Unlike computing... ;)

djbates
djbates

Okay, I was a crafter BEFORE I was a geek. I've known how to sew, embroider, crewel, needlepoint, crochet & knit; as well as vegetable garden and raise chickens for eggs. My gramdmother and mother taught me to make my own clothes since it was much cheaper then, now it's unfortunately just as if not MORE expensive to do so. But oh yeah...the internet has opened up the whole process to everyone now - I've got scads of CDs with patterns, guides, instructions, you name it! I'll probably never get the chance to try at least 50% of it out either since time keeps getting filled with WORK!!!!

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

That project came out okay, and made a great gift to my wife; but damn near drove me nuts and cross-eyed at the same time. I did several counted cross-stitch projects which were easier, kind of like a count by numbers painting, and those are absolutely perfect for the old pixel counting video screens. However, due to all that, I'll forever have a negative reaction to the phrase "cream on white". Never could get the knack for knitting or crochet. But weaving is seriously getting to be my next venture in that realm. Looms are MACHINES!

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Quilting does appear to be going down the tubes. I've seen a lot of bad quilts lately... :(

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

I'll stick to raiding your tomato patch when you're not looking. :)

2rs
2rs

Hi! I could have written your response - word-for-word! I didn't own a pair of store bought jeans until 1970.

2rs
2rs

"However, due to all that, I'll forever have a negative reaction to the phrase "cream on white" First off, I'm going to assume that you're male - real men do needlecrafts! My 1st counted cross-stitch was on 25 count linen - I had no idea what I was doing, but it turned out fabulous! Good luck with weaving!

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Do either of you suppose this is due to the 'instant gratification' aspects of current Western society?

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

But one of the Bernina Dealers made a Dress out of Patchwork. Or should that read made a Patchwork Dress for her to wear? Anyway the first day that she wore it to the Shop after spending weeks assembling it out of 1/2 Strips of Fabric a Old Dear walked into the Shop and said to the Dealer [i]I had better buy a new Sewing Machine so you don't need to make dresses out of Rags.[/i] It's my understanding that she never wore that dress again. :^0 Wouldn't even display it in the shop either. I just said I would keep wearing it so you get more sales but she wouldn't have a Bar of it. Didn't matter that it was made out of VIP Fabric which is really expensive here she never brought it into the shop again and I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't throw it out. ;) Col

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Nah, that decline has less to due with crafting than the changes in social interaction and other options for 'gathering'; see 'social media'.

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

lack of patience and addiction to convenience. The long, slow death of the quilting bee likely has roots in both.

AssemblerRookie
AssemblerRookie

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