Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Crafty Weekend

This past weekend saw some glorious weather in the Pacific Northwest (meaning sunny and rain-free on Saturday), as well as me getting my holiday craft on. I completed a hand-made item for a swap gift (more on this in a later post - but see the bottom photo for a teensy sneak peak!), as well as checking out the holiday season edition of Urban Craft Uprising.

What, you ask, is UCU? Well, it’s a mecca for all things DIY and handmade. Over 100 vendors and authors – crafty artisans to be certain – are gathered for one weekend so that we, the crafty public, can ogle the wares and get some holiday shopping completed. At a great entrance price (it’s free!), plus swag bags for early risers each day, how could I not check it out?

The greatest strength of UCU is the varied selection of vendors, many of which offer a $6 special item in addition to their normal inventory. I checked out painters, jewelers, t-shirt makers, fiber spinners and dyers, and all sorts of textile crafters. There is something for just about everyone (including the family pet), and all of it original and not mass-produced.

A note to those who might take in a future UCU event: because virtually all of these artisans are small businesspeople, you may encounter some payment restrictions/irregularities. Some vendors might not accept credit cards for purchases under a certain amount, and/or some might request information because the credit card transaction will be completed later. While nothing to necessarily worry about, just something to keep in mind (and knowing where to find the closest ATM is helpful).

It was a mob scene, making browsing difficult at times (which was a happy turn from the summer edition of UCU I attended, which was a little thin on foot traffic). So, after completing my once-over circle of the room, I picked up a neat gift for someone (at least I hope it’s neat to the recipient!), and some fiber for myself. I am excited to try this hemp (on the left) in one of my future shawl projects from Blonde Chicken Boutique:

I cannot believe that skein contains over 600 yards of the slightly linen-feeling, yet surprisingly soft, fiber. Additionally, I am so thrilled with the happy-colored fingering weight skein I also managed to snag – it’s made from mill ends and hand-dyed. At 480 yards it, too, has a spring shawl (with beads, I suspect) written all over it.

If you are looking for unique, hand-made gifts that sustain artisans, are (in many instances) eco-friendly, and just plain cool, definitely look for an UCU-type of event in your area. For example, should you be in the Portland, Oregon area this upcoming weekend, definitely check out Crafty Wonderland.

And have fun getting your craft on!

The crafty sneak peak ...

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