Craft Trends of 2008

7 creative techniques that are causing a stir.

by Jolène M. Bouchon; originally published on myLifetime.com

If the past several years are any indication, the renewed interest in crafting is here to stay. And while knitting and scrapbooking remain the big kids on the block, you'll see several new — and old — techniques grow in popularity in 2008. We've combed the craft blogs, talked to the experts and scanned through upcoming books to bring you the most exciting trends that will spark your creativity.

Crafting Goes 3-D

Thanks to the late-2007 publication of such books as "Softies," "Sock and Glove," and various books on amigurumi (Japanese for "knitted stuffed toy"), handwork will take on greater dimensions in the form of cuddly creatures that are knitted, crocheted, sewn from fabric and even needle-felted. But don't expect to see bears or the other usual stuffed animals. Look for soft friends such as monsters, unusual creatures like whales and even inanimate objects like teeth!

Felt Is Fantastic

Expect to see felt in all forms this year, whether it's needle-felted from loose fibers (like wool and even silk) or made from crochet or knit pieces. And look for the growing popularity of "nuno" felting. This new technique developed by Australian artist Polly Stirling involves felting fibers like wool roving into fine layers of silk organza or chiffon. According to "Uncommon Threads" host Allison Whitlock, "It's unique in felting, because it allows you to create fabrics that are really light, drapable and even transparent."

Needlework Wins

According to myLifetime.com craft expert Pattie Donham, simple crafts like embroidery and sewing are making a comeback. This year, crafters will be using appliqué, embroidery and crewelwork as embellishments for everything from home goods (pillow covers, napkins and more) to fashion items.

The Green Scene

Green-movement buzzwords will be big among crafters too. Expect to find more organic, fair-trade and sustainably sourced materials and notions at your local crafting store. Plus, you'll see more crafts fashioned from old materials such as vintage fabrics and yarn, or those that incorporate unexpected materials that would otherwise be thrown away, like earrings and cuff links made from old records or purses made from microfilm.

Clothes as Craft

Traditional craft techniques will be featured prominently in fashion, from appliquéd skirts to quilted jackets and yarn- and ribbon-embroidered sweaters. According to Donham, you should expect to see "simple images like owls, bluebirds and deer being added to pillows, T-shirts and bags with felt, fabric and paint. Everyone can be a rock star with an embroidered and paint-splattered repurposed T-shirt."

Prints Please

You'll see hand-printed fabrics, linoleum, stationery and even dishware make a big appearance in 2008, thanks to stencils, stamps, small-scale print screens and the revival of gocco, a Japanese printing kit first introduced during the 1970s. And you won't want to miss Swedish print artist Lotta Jansdotter's new book, "Lotta Prints" in May.

Projects Go Retro

Donham also sees younger crafters picking up where their parents left off: “The retro crafts of the ’60s are resurfacing so that everything old is new again!” But don’t expect the crafts to look like throwbacks to eras past, says Brett Bara, editor-in-chief of Crochet Today!: “I see a big return to old-fashioned (even outdated) craft trends like granny squares and chevron crochet afghans, but done in a very contemporary way with luxury yarns and beautiful color palettes.”