You can only watch so much Netflix. After several hours of bingeing, you’ll likely be looking for something more soothing and more productive than watching “Outlander.”
Taking up a new craft (or two) is fun and offers proven benefits. Knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure, and reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Instagram has been quietly reviving and modernizing many fiber crafts that once seemed extinct, from the 1970s staple of macramé to bargello, the needlepoint style that once decorated all those cozy tissue box covers. Here are suggestions for five fiber crafts to try, complete with links for how-to videos that give instruction in the basics, even if you’ve never picked up a needle or hook:
Macramé: This knotty craft became a craze decades ago for a reason: It is very easy to pick up, and it’s possible to create an entire macramé project in just an hour or two.
The craft’s Instagram revival was spurred by a West Coast crafter named Emily Katz, who has taught popular workshops in Minneapolis and wrote a book called “Modern Macramé.”
Katz created a how-to video for House Beautiful’s YouTube channel that gives easy-to-follow instructions for a project that is a perfect introduction to the craft: a plant hanger.
Crocheting: The hook-and-yarn craft that gave us the granny square is getting a boost from a Wisconsin boy, who posts projects for his more than 230,000 Instagram followers as @jonahhands.
Jonah Larson, an 11-year-old from La Crosse, is a crochet prodigy of sorts and has taught celebrities like actress Drew Barrymore how to crochet. He has a YouTube channel and creates tutorial videos for the yarn company Yarnspirations. The videos are fun to watch even if you aren’t crocheting along with him.
Bargello: This old-school needlepoint craft creates shifting, often trippy patterns on canvas or plastic.
Brett Bara, who owns a craft store in Brooklyn, became obsessed with it a few years back after finding old patterns at a used bookstore. She started posting her projects to Instagram, and got such a huge response that she launched her own Hello Bargello brand of kits for items like planters, sunglasses cases and, yes, tissue box covers.
She has a series of free how-to videos on her website that teach beginners everything there is to know about bargello.
Punch needle: The satisfying punch, punch, punch of this vintage craft, which pulls loops of yarn through canvas, is a big part of its appeal.
St. Paul artist Lindsay Gruetzmacher, who posts as @l.vandemaker, discovered it on Instagram in 2017. She studied in Vermont to become a certified Oxford Punch Needle instructor and now teaches workshops in Minnesota.
Knitting: An old-school fiber craft, knitting has seen a revival that’s been going strong since before the days of Instagram. If you’ve been meaning to learn, Bust magazine editor and stitch master Debbie Stoller, who has written a series of popular “Stitch ’n Bitch” books for beginners, is a great person to turn to. One of her best how-to videos is this scarf tutorial, created for Good Housekeeping’s YouTube channel.