I need a hobby.

I need a hobby. January 15, 2014

I need something that I can do while I’m sitting down in the evening, when my brain is mush and I have nothing good to read and I refuse to think about laundry, but I don’t want to go to bed yet.  Right now, I usually just cruise Facebook. Although this activity often yields some exquisite cultural experiences

PIC Japanese fart warriors

I feel like I could be spending my time better. And I feel like staring at a screen is sucking the soul out of me.  But I don’t want to work or anything.

I used to enjoy quilling, making earrings, that kind of thing.  Embroidery I wasn’t crazy about, and I stink at sewing in general.  Any ideas?

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  • Vera Hough

    Is knitting too close to sewing? It’s easy to learn and you can make rather satisfying scarves or dishcloths right off the bat.

  • tster

    i like wood burning. i put images of my cats on all things, though, so there is potential to take it to crazytown.

    • Josh

      Great hobby, but it can be costly in cold climates. And not just when it gets away from you and burns down your neighborhood. I had a fire going throughout most of the recent stay-at-home-polar-vortex-party. The science-capable part of me said “this is blowing ALL of the house’s heated air out the chimney,” while the literature-capable part of me said “it’s so cold and fire is such a nice counterpoint to a polar vortex.” Well, my wife called this morning to tell me the gas bill is $500, instead of the $200 we expected. So next time I won’t burn wood. Science wins. Now I need to stop believing in God and find a moral way to make a quick $300.

    • Sara McD

      pyrography, right? That’s something I’d like to try.

  • jillvt

    I have the exact same issue! Kids are down; I want to relax and decompress. But: unless it’s one of two shows, I won’t watch TV, and I can only sit on Facebook for so long before I feel like I’m just…lame. I don’t knit or do anything crafty (serious allergies there), and at this point in the evening I can’t read anything too heavy (because I have probably had a glass of wine). So I’m curious what others do…although admittedly most others are better adjusted to life than I am.

  • Ann Lanari

    Knitting is where it’s at. Great for insomnia, television, car rides, and waiting at the airport. Make useful things or pretty things or both.

  • Rebecca Mullican

    knit knit knit….or crochet….you can even do it while watching movies or television once you get the hang of it…keeps the hands too busy to eat junk food, too…sometimes!

  • Emily

    I’d suggest crochet – primarily because it can be done while sitting on a comfortable piece of furniture (which, is necessary in my opinion for an evening hobby to stick!) I’ve done both knitting and crochet, but prefer crochet because you see results faster, and you can more easily take out mistakes without having to completely start over.

    • Katie in FL

      I second crocheting. I love to make baby blankets because it is not a huge commitment and there are so many fun patterns. You can do it while watching a movie with the family or tv.

      • MC. D.

        Definitely crochet. Relatively easy to pick up – I suggest video tutorials because they’re always easier to synthesize than pictures. As Emily says it’s way easier to fix a mistake in crochet than in knitting, as you only have one stitch to save at a time, not an entire row. And it can be quick! I’ve churned out a hat in a couple hours’ bus ride.

    • Sara McD

      crochet with nice feeling yarn.

      or solitaire with actual cards.

  • Anna

    I failed at knitting and crocheting every time my grandma tried to teach me… so I do sudoku or crosswords. Will Shortz has compilations of the former, and I like the L.A. Times for the latter. I also make and eat cookies. That’s totally a hobby.

  • TheReluctantWidow

    Can’t help you out. I am completely bereft of hobby skills. I have tried crocheting and knitting but I am left-handed and have found it difficult to figure it out from right-handed teachers. Lately, the only thing that I have done is some art journaling. Which really means just putting crude drawings down on paper with water color pencils. But lousy as I am at it, I also feel really good afterward. It appeals to my creative side. And by calling it a “journal,” I don’t have to show anyone.

    • ThereseZ

      Also left-handed. I sat across from a right-hander and mirrored them. it worked, at least for high-school me. I can still crochet.

      • TheReluctantWidow

        That is a great idea ThereseZ. I always sit next to someone. I also blame my left-handedness on not being able to cut a proper straight line with scissors. 😉

        • Anna

          And that’s also why all my loaves of bread and block cheeses aren’t sliced in straight lines; they always go crooked. But my daughter, age 7, pretty much thinks of Left-Handers’ Day (Aug. 13) as my feast day.

          • irena mangone

            I have the same problem and I am right handed can’t cut straight lines or slice perfect cheese slices never mind we cannot all be perfect

      • Sara McD

        My left-handed grandmother crochets right-handed and learned without formal instruction just by standing behind her mother. That seems weird and incredibly hard to me. I like the idea of sitting across. I wonder why I’ve never heard of that before.

    • Linda Quimby

      You would benefit from learning to knit “continental style” whereby you hold the working yarn with your left hand.

  • Guest

    Good thing my kids are in bed. They would have found that cultural experience wwaaaayyyy too interesting.

  • Miriel Reneau

    Do you like games? Crosswords or logic puzzles or word scrambles. Or SET, or other pattern games, or Sudoku?

  • Kathryn King

    You need to knit. All the signs are there. You can make useful things (hats, mittens & socks) for colder climes while touching something lovely. You live pretty near the world’s most awesome yarn store (WEBS in Northampton, MA). You have time and need to focus and concentrate on something that isn’t too tricky. Never underestimate the soothing click of two needles and slink of a nice wool.

    • Stefanie

      My sister — who works the night shift at an all-night gas station — she crochets scarfs and hats -and then carefully places them in the ‘Clothing Collection Box’ kiosk near her bus stop. The kiosk has a door like a Post Office mailbox and in they go, safe and secure. She figures that needy people will appreciate brand-new items to wear than used ones. She tries all kinds of colors and types of yarn.

  • Knitting is what keeps me sane. I find that it requires less coordination than crochet and it can be as simple or complex as you like … you can even knit with your eyes closed once you’re comfortable with it. 🙂

    • A.

      totally agree

    • CSmith

      I agree, except with keeping my eyes open.

  • CathyLouise

    Make rosaries. You can get a good introductory kit from Lewis Company (Rosaryparts.com), and get cheap missionary kits from them, too. I started making them when I was in chemotherapy. They were perfect for me…they have a defined form so I didn’t have to think too much, but still creative and I ended up with something beautiful. You can send them to an organization that needs them when you end up with whatever you consider a critical mass. I send them to the local marine training camp because I can’t afford to send them to the missions. I don’t even pray the rosary, but I love making them.

  • Karyn

    Why can’t you read during that time? Even something “light” – gotta be better than facebook.

  • Can you knit? Crochet? Either one is a wonderful hobby.

  • Stay away from hobbies. As George Carlin observed: “I don’t have hobbies. Hobbies are expensive. I have interests, which are quite free.”

  • I know. I know. You said not embroidery. But look how fun I make it: http://callherhappy.com/vlog-getting-started-hand-embroidery/

  • Mary V

    I second the suggestion of making twine rosaries. It’s quite relaxing and you can always find someone to give them to. I make them and distribute them to the homeless shelter where I volunteer. Added bonus: you can carry a conversation with loved ones at the same time!
    I use this website for instructions:

  • Amy Williams Schirmer

    You could always write a series of about 1000 children’s picture books. Try illustrating them yourself…you’re probably better than you think you are at visual arts. Your blogs and facebook page are the seeds of stories that kids would enjoy 500 years from now!

  • Peggy Bowes

    Do some calisthenics (push-ups, body weight squats, lunges) and ab crunches. Then take a nice hot bath with a glass of wine. You’ll sleep exceedingly well!

  • anna lisa

    Short answer: cooking
    Long winded Anna Lisa answer: Now that I don’t have really needy little guys, I’ve really gotten into cooking, but it’s more of a daytime hobby. I challenge myself to make simple food (that I’m craving, heh) with basic ingredients, and I go to three or four different grocery stores (throughout the week) to get the best bang for the buck. So I read and I cook, I cook and I read–(do kid stuff, make them smoothies etc). By the time six pm rolls around my husband arrives and we drink some wine together. I’m usually still cooking something, so we chat in the kitchen, or he watches something on PBS like BBC news or a travel show, which I sort of watch from the kitchen. We chat with the older kids,who drift in and he squishes the little ones. The older ones usually have something interesting to talk about, and we also discuss what we’ve heard or read. We shoot for all sitting down to eat at the same time, but there’s usually a scraggler, a hold out, a kid who snuck a snack or one that poached dinner over at my Mom’s dinner table, ( they eat promptly at five, and go whine at her if they’re extra hungry or she has food they prefer).
    So I guess the back end of my hobby is the dishes. Again, now that there is no baby hanging on one of my legs and crying, I find that cleaning the kitchen is strangely therapeutic. (Sometimes I leave the floor or pans to a lazy teen) Maybe it’s a water thing,too–I guess I’m going to shrivel up some day because I love my hot shower at the end of the day while my husband reads and says prayers with the little ones. We light candles and incense a lot and then just chill in front of the boob tube. He usually offers to comb my wet hair. We tolerate each others’ choice of show and trade off with the controller, but mock questionable choices. He rolls his eyes if I linger on “Modern Family”, and I sigh deeply if he chooses that gold mining show or Shark Tank. “The big Bang Theory” makes us laugh a lot but feel cheap. So we remedy this by trying to catch the sermon for the daily mass on EWTN which is usually at around 9:15. We know that we can’t watch TV for too long or we won’t act like married people. Acting like married people generally makes us and everything else we do better in every way.
    P.S. Those Japanese prints are burnt into my memory now. I’ll also have something extra to tell the boys tonight. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

  • George.a.da.Jungle

    Crochet with yarn. Easy and fast way to make practical warm items.

  • I was all set to suggest embroidery, until I got to the second-to-last sentence. So I will copy most everyone else and recommend knitting or crocheting (I even have some basic books on them I’m not using, that I could send to you; or check out your local library). I think beading and jewelry-making is awesome, too (if you couldn’t already tell), but it sounds like you are not looking for something fiddly at that time of day.

  • PeonyMoss

    Needlepoint! You can make something lovely, or make something wacky (like use plastic canvas to make needlepoint robots)

  • Claire


  • Eileen

    Another crossword/Sudoku player here. I’ve also recently taken up Quizup on my iphone. I like to plow through a new topic until I’m number one in my state. I know the diehards will keep playing and crush my score but it’s fun to be number one for a day or two. I wish I could knit or crochet – I used to crochet when I was a little girl and I’ve tried to learn to knit a couple of times but my stuff just never looks good. Who knows? I may try to pick it up again.

  • irena mangone

    Was about to mention embroidery. Cross stitch, Hardanger etc, also patchwork quilting , crochet , card making all the best in choosing what you would like to do

  • Catherine Boucher

    Make an at-home date night jar for you and your hubby! http://hallelujahismysong.blogspot.com/2013/10/dating-at-home.html

  • Suzanne

    Knitting. It is easy to learn and simple in its essence, but you can use its two little stitches (on of which, the purl, is only a backwards version of the other) to make things that are as complicated as you want. Knitting is so easy to do that you can do it while watching anime or other foreign programs with subtitles and never miss a word.

  • Nan

    Yes to rosaries. The first few are difficult, but I’m left-handed; I do better watching someone and flipping what they do 180 degrees than reading directions for the right handed and trying to make left handed sense out of them. I make chain rosaries and am sufficiently competent that sometimes people think I’ve used rosary chain; I use a spool of wire, handful of beads, center and crucifix.

    A priest friend uses plastic beads and likes to work on rosaries in the airport as he likes to travel.


  • Kaitlin Jean Finn

    everyone’s right. knit or crochet. there are SO many fun patterns you can find for free on facebook. Did you know you could crochet cute little stuffed animals (or dinasaurs, for example)? My brother in law’s girlfriend always brings new ones for the kids, and they are so cute. I’m thinking we’re going to donate them when they’re older (we seriously have a ton and only three kids and one on the way- if she keeps this up we’ll have to take out stock in yarn) to a hospital/children’s hospital. I think hospitals would love them for nicu gifts! What mom wouldn’t love to come into the nicu one day, after a terrible night sleep, and see a sweet little hand made giraffe next to their little one?

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Crochet. Amigurumis are so fun to make and give. You can make this fellow:


    And there are Doctor Who patterns, too.

    Plus you get to have a yarn stash. Yarn stashes are fabulous. You get to stand there in the store drooling over totally luscious alpaca silk blends and dream of what you can make. Then you can take it home and fiddle and dream some more.

  • roughplacesplain

    What about making photo books? You can do it sitting down, and while you’re using your computer it’s a lot more constructive than just killing time. I use blurb.com, download their Booksmart software and build the book on my computer. When the book is finished, I upload and order. I’ve tried other sites but I love the quality and flexibility of blurb. I’ve made a variety of books, from putting my dad’s typed memoir in book form (and adding photos), to making travel mementos, to compiling a cookbook for my girls using recipes from our family and friends (with photos of us cooking and at meals), to assembling portfolio books of my art. Sizes range from 7″x 7″ to 12″ x 12″. – nancyo

  • MightyMighty1

    I like to watch documentaries, sometimes in the background so that if they are engaging I can drop whatever handiwork I’m doing, and if they are not that compelling, it’s okay too. I highly recommend The Rape of Europa on netflix–all about Nazi art theft and WWII. There’s a movie based on this coming out in February called The Monument Men.