Reader letters

by kath_red on 29/07/2010

in News+Letters

Hoping Whipup readers can help out with these two emails requesting crafty advice…

Do whipup readers have any ideas to help Ronan find that perfect crafty travel kit for his girlfriend?

I’m an expat living in Seoul, Korea right now teaching english. My girlfriend is travelling here soon to stay with me until i finish teaching here, then we’re going travelling around Asia for a while. She mentioned a while ago that, while we’re travelling, she would like to buy fabric and make crafts and possibly display/sell them online. I know NOTHING about fabric, making crafts, handmade things, knitting etc. NOTHING. However, i’d like to help especially since her birthday is next month. Could you possibly tell me what kind of tools/utensils people need when they’re hand-making crafts? Particularly people who are on-the-move? I think she has a particular interest in embroidery but also handmade goods in general. I was thinking of preparing or buying some sort of small “craft-making kit” for her.

Can you help Shahanaz find a specific craft?

I am looking for something that was featured on Whipup a while ago, but I cannot remember the name of the craft! It was a craft where you can take a shape, like a triangle for example, then create smaller triangle inside it, but off-setting the starting point equally on each side of the inner triangle to “rotate” the triangle inside, until your desired amount, and then using different coloured paper, sticking them down in regular order, to get a sort of “telescopic aperture” overall look at the end. Can anyone understand or figure out what I’m looking for?

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kirsty July 29, 2010 at 7:50 pm

I reckon Sublime Stitching would have just the thing for travel embroidery.

PS: I think this is such a great feature. Good on you girls.


2 Ingrid July 29, 2010 at 7:55 pm

Tom Bihn makes awesome bags for crafters. I think they’re geared towards knitters, but they’d work for many crafts.


3 Linda to Ronan July 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm

… what’s about some ‘aircraft-permitted’ knitting needles?


4 kath_red July 29, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Shahanaz searched the archives and has answered her own question – Iris Folding – you can find the whipup link here
and more here

Does anyone else have any good iris folding resources to share?


5 Susan July 29, 2010 at 9:17 pm

PurlSoho sells some sashiko kits which could be great for handwork on the go and don’t require a lot of supplies.
Would also fit with travelling through Asia!


6 kath_red July 29, 2010 at 11:20 pm

For Ronan:


Sounds like she wants to buy the fabric to work with while travelling, so I’d stick to a kit of basics to get her through. If you’re travelling by plane, just remember there may be restrictions for carrying needles/scissors in check-in luggage only. I’d try a kit along these lines:

Black all-purpose (sewing) thread
White all-purpose (sewing) thread
Embroidery/hand-sewing needles
Embroidery scissors (these are small with a pointy end)
Embroidery floss (DMC) in a range of colours
Embroidery hoop (these come in different sizes and can be made from wood or plastic. A plastic hoop, in a mid-size (I’m thinking around 15cm diameter) should do the trick)
Pins (I think you can get shorter pins which are good for hand-applique-type projects)

And, a bag to carry it all in.

Other ideas…
Beads she can sew onto projects.
Felt (a type of thick fabric, usually made from wool. You can buy it in small squares and is good for hand-applique work as it doesn’t fray).
Larger shearing scissors for cutting out large pieces of fabric.
Ruler/measuring tape (seamstress measuring tape, not the type you use in wood-work).
Interfacing (to place behind fabric to stiffen it for embroidery).
Aida (this is a special type of fabric with a grid shape to it, with large holes for doing cross-stitch/tapestry).

For knitting, she just needs wool, knitting needles and a pattern. But, you use different sized needles and different weight wool for different projects, so unless you know exactly what she has in mind I’d just stick to a wee sewing/embroidery pack.

Hope this helps
Stephanie :o)


7 Lisa K. July 30, 2010 at 12:33 am

This site has many free iris folding templates, including animals, shapes, an alphabet and numbers.


8 Katy July 30, 2010 at 5:06 am

It’s always nice to receive things as gifts that you might not be able to justify spending the money on yourself. If you want to get things which are just a little bit nicer than the cheapest ones available, my suggestions are:

A nice pair of thread scissors (or thread snips or folding scissors), a needle case (anything tublar with a stopper would work, or a little fabric book to pin them into), possibly a thimble (you may need to get her to try them on for size), and a retracting tape measure or one with a little popper to keep it rolled up.

Add a nice tin or bag and you’ve got the beginning of a sewing kit that will last longer than the trip.


9 Jane July 30, 2010 at 6:37 am

What kind of crafts does your girlfriend like to do?

If you’re living in Seoul, you can for sure find needlepoint/cross stitch supplies and kits, but it’s going to be a project. The best solution would probably be to show a Korean-speaking coworker a picture of cross-stitch, explain that it’s for your girlfriend, and ask if they could help you find a store. They’re definitely around, but you kind of have to stumble onto them.

There’s also a knitting supply store near the north end of Insa-dong, which sells lots of North American made yarns.

Of course, the option with the best selection (which might be a bit overwhelming for your girlfriend) is to take your girlfriend to Dongdaemun market. This page put together by the Seoul Stitch’N’Bitch group should help you track most things down.


10 dr lola July 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

I put together a travel craft kit that fits inside a small metal box and is useful for many types of travel projects:
– small assortment of needles
– small folding scissors
– safety pins in assorted sizes
– tape measure
– round headed pins
– 2 wood spring clothespins
– travel sewing kit (hotels give these away)

When travelling, space is usually at a premium and this kit fits in a corner nicely and it goes through airport security with no problems


11 Lori July 30, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Re: travel crafting: If the travelling girlfriend is a knitter I can’t recommend the Knit Kit enough. It’s like a swiss army knife for knitters and it’s TSA approved for hand luggage (I believe). it has a built in tape measure, fold away scissors, stitch markers, stitch counter, point protectors, and an integrated cutter so you don’t need to pull out the scissors to cut your yarn.

I would also suggest a nice Journal to keep notes on where fabric (etc) was purchased & to make notes on project ideas or inspirations.


12 Catherine August 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I am just so impressed at how thoughtful he is! Awwwww.


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