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Craft Styles 2006


Julia Robert's Bag Inspires Copies

The April issue of People magazine ran a photo of Julia Roberts carrying an oversized yellow and purple tote with faux tortoise handles and silk flowers. Knitters immediately churned out versions of the "Julia Bag," spawning patterns, classes, and copies selling for as much as $300.

The item is knit about three times larger than the final desired size, then soaked in hot water to shrink and tighten the fibers, a process called "felting".

The trend of the Julia Roberts inspired knit bags speaks to the power of celebrity, said Mary Colucci, executive director of the Craft and Yarn Council of America.The bag fad is reminiscent of the hoopla surrounding the poncho Martha Stewart wore when she was released from prison. The poncho was crocheted for Stewart by a fellow inmate, yarn companies then followed with their own versions of the pattern.


"I think we are seeing fleur-de-lis pop up because there is 'medievalism' in the air, following hints of it in the fall '07 collections of a few designers," said David Wolfe, trends analyst for the Doneger Group, a New York-based firm that studies trends worldwide. Examples: tunics, leggings, "armor-like" construction details and lots of dark rich colors.

Fleur-de-lis are showing up on everything from pillows and jewelry to handbags and home decor.The addition of the fleur-de-lis adds a touch of sophistication and French elegance.


As was the case with Country style and Shabby Chic aka Cottage, Primitive style decorative accents have "cleaned up their act".

The heavily aged and grungy look is now emerging as a more contemporary, cleaner version. With simple lines, fresh colors, and dual purpose functionality these items can be easily combined with other styles of decor.

Textures are more finished, not heavily sanded, rusted, distressed, textured, and antiqued as has been seen in the past.

Skull and Crossbones Style

From the movies to the mall, catalogs to jewelry, skull and crossbones are showing up everywhere.

Check it out on tank tops, bikinis, jewelry, fridgie magnets, pet items, baby onesies, bags, shoes, scarves, and much more. Mix with feminine pieces for a fun and trendy look.

Hip Generation of Crafters

"The younger approach has given the industry a shot in the arm," says Tim Holtz, a 35-year-old craft star because of his line of innovative rubber-stamp inks he has developed and marketed worldwide. "Now, there are new spins on everything."

"During the day, females are watching, and they love crafts," says Karen Daniel, director of programming for the DIY Network. "They are always looking for clever ideas, as well as entertainment. We don't want to show the same old baby booties. Instead, we'll show a version with silver metallic thread to give it a little bit of punky flair. "Crafts have become a little bit rock and roll."

New craft book titles include Bizarre Bazaar: Not Your Granny's Crafts!; Super Crafty: Saving the World From Mass Production; Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker; and Generation T: 108 Ways To Transform a T-shirt.

More Americans are Getting Crafty - CHA Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show

How big is the craft industry ?

Last year 75 percent of all American households had at least one person who had ever crafted, and 58 percent had someone who had participated in crafts during the past year. Consumers spent $30.6 billion on their projects.

Those figures represent a $3.2 billion increase over 2002 and an average 3.8 percent per year growth since 2002, according to Larry Anderson, vice president of analytics for Ipsos-Insight, a marketing research company that has just completed a comprehensive survey of the crafting community. Results of the survey were released at the Craft & Hobby Association convention held in Las Vegas earlier this month."Not many other industries stack up to that," said Sandy Ghezzi, CHA's vice president for marketing, member services and education. "It's an enormous figure and represents growth in many areas.

"Many credit scrapbooking with driving the booming numbers. And there's no doubt that it has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. But, surprisingly, it is not the No. 1 craft, said Anderson. In terms of participation, cross-stitch/embroidery and crocheting both still outrank it, with participation by 30 percent and 25 percent of crafting households respectively. Scrapbooking comes in third, with a 24 percent participation rate.But, added Anderson, scrapbooking is among the fastest-growing crafts, so it could easily take over the top spot. "Everyone wonders if it has peaked, but we don't see it hitting any type of top yet."

The survey divided crafters into four categories. General crafts, which includes scrapbooking and paper crafts, as well as as beading, cake decorating, jewelry-making, candle-making, doll-making, leather crafts, macrame and others, make up 40-percent. Needle and sewing crafts 25 percent; painting and finishing crafts 24 percent; and floral crafts at 11 percent.

General crafters spend an average of $26 per project or an average of $272 per year. Needle and sewing crafters spend an average of $23 per project ($202 per year); painters and finishers spend, on average, $34 per project ($215 per year); and floral enthusiasts an average of $29 per project ($157 per year).

Within those categories, there is both crossover and individuality. If you craft, you can see how you compare to the averages, said Anderson.

The survey further identified six cluster groups of crafters, based on attitudes and activities, that range from enthusiasts, who participate in all kinds of different crafts, to specialists who craft mainly to create gifts. The six cluster groups represent major segments of the industry.

But what it really amounts to, said Anderson, is that "it adds up one crafter and one project at a time to become a $30.6 billion industry."

The survey reinforces what many in the industry already believed, said Ghezzi, "the craft industry remains vibrant and strong across all broad craft categories. It once again confirms our belief that the enormous breadth and appeal of crafts continues to grow as more and more consumers discover the personal benefits of crafting."

In fact, she says, with a 58 percent rate of household participation, "more individuals participate in crafting than many other leisure activities, including gardening (36 percent), playing computer games (13 percent), reading books (37 percent), surfing the Internet (27 percent) and dining out (48 percent). That's not to say the industry has not undergone a lot of change in recent years."

CHA was created in 2004, growing out of a merger of two other large trade organizations, the Hobby Industry Association and the Association of Crafts & Creative Interests. That reflects other differences.

Bill Gardner, craft industry expert, said , "In my 20-plus years, we've evolved from 'cutesy' just-for-fun projects to more sophisticated dedicated end-use projects, such as fashion, home decor, gift and keepsake items. We've seen the knitting/crochet category through its ups and downs, and we've seen scrapbooking take the industry by storm.

"The way the industry has looked at itself has changed, too, he said. "We've evolved from billing creativity as a money-saving hobby to calling it a stress-releasing activity to hyping its family-values appeal. Heck, we've even gone from calling it crafting to calling it creativity."

This year's CHA convention brought together more than 1,100 exhibitors, more than 8,000 attendees, and was described as the "biggest and best show yet."

Ed Barlow, a futurist who conducted a convention session on the place of crafting in a rapidly changing society, noted several reasons for its increasing popularity. For one thing, where crafting used to be largely fueled by small, independent stores, now a lot of the big chains are getting involved - and not just places like Michaels and Roberts. "With the growth in popularity, discounters, including Wal-Mart, are enlarging their craft sections. Jo-Ann Fabrics has changed its name to Jo-Ann Stores and offers much more than fabric," said Barlow.

Other trends :

- Celebrities are taking up crafts. Julia Roberts, Kristin Davis, David Arquette and Cameron Diaz are knitters. Katie Holmes and Lorraine Bracco paint pottery. Nicole Kidman and Elizabeth Hurley sew. Jennifer Love Hewitt paints hatboxes. Kate Hudson does mosaics. Tony Bennett, Donna Summer and John Cougar Mellencamp paint.

- Crafts are appealing to a younger segment of the population. Barlow quoted an industry journal's explanation that where "baby boomers grew up with strict fashion, style and behavior rules, Gen-Xers and echo boomers haven't just ignored the rules, they have developed their own new paradigm that focuses on, and values, creativity and individual expression. The young, hip crafting segment is all about individuality."

- Traditional crafts have resurfaced in new ways. Knitting is more popular than ever, in part because yarns that used to work for afghans have become funky fibers for scarves and other fashion accessories. Quilts are no longer just for beds. They have become "canvases" on many levels, as well as "memory-making" hobbies.

In addition, said Barlow, you can't discount the effect that doing something fun, something they like, has on people. "There's a lot of stress out there. In the next 25 years, there's going to be even more. Crafts and hobbies help people deal with it."

Craft Industry Booming

The craft industry is booming. In the United States, consumer purchasing for crafts and hobbies is more than $30 billion annually and is continuing to grow about 4 percent each year, says Sandy Ghezzi, vice president for marketing, member services and education for the Craft & Hobby Association.

Scrapbooking, beading and knitting and crocheting are the hot hobbies now. A study by the Craft Yarn Council , said that since 2002 the number of women ages 25-34 who are picking up knitting or crotchet needles has increased more than 150 percent. The same study also stated that more than 36 percent of all American women, nearly 53 million, know how to knit or crochet, a 51 percent increase over the past 10 years.

Why craft? Experts say the increase in popularity is caused by a number of factors, first and foremost, a need to return home to family and friends after the attacks of Sept. 11.

Smaller Retailers Sinking

Even as the craft market booms, smaller retailers are sinking. Store owners are cutting costs and trying to keep up with competition from the national chains. Small retailers say the key to battling big business is remembering why you started in the first place. Keep it small. Keep it personal.

Bra Purse

Decorated bras-as-purses, to raise Breast Cancer awareness.

One of the latest fashion fads, this purse made from a bra. All you need is the bra, embellishments, a closure, and ribbon or cord for the strap.

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