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Learn a New Hobby

Enjoy life a little more by starting a new hobby!

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If you've decided it's time to take up a hobby, or wish to learn a new one, this list provides all sorts of hobbies options, to suit all sorts of personalities and interests! Follow the links provided for each hobby and you'll find the information you need to get started. If you're not sure which you might enjoy the most, sign up for the About.com Arts and Crafts Newsletter for new ideas each week.

If You Enjoy Yarn and Fabric:

Photo © Debbie Colgrove

Crochet: This is the make-it-with-yarn craft where you use one needle with a hook at the end, and work one stitch at a time, not a whole row. Whether you're making a traditional granny-square blanket or a quirky creature or any of the many free crochet patterns.

Knitting: This is the make-it-with-yarn craft with two needles (or four if you're knitting socks, or one very long needle with points on both ends for infinity loops). Learn to knit by mastering the two basic stitches -- knit and purl -- and you'll be knitting your way through the free knitting patterns.

Sewing: Whether you're doing it by hand or machine, or a bit of both, the intense satisfaction of turning a rectangle of fabric into a bag, apron, shirt, or any of the other things from these free sewing patterns is the same. Learn how to sew one step at a time.

Quilting: It sounds a bit contrary to take pieces of fabric, cut them up into small pieces and then sew the bits back again. But it's not about the cutting up, it's about the endless possible designs, the choice of colors, making a quilt that's uniquely yours. Start with the easy quilt designs.

If You Like Making Beautiful Things:

© Chris Franchetti Michaels

Beadwork: Set yourself up with some beads (obviously) and essential beading supplies, learn some of the beading terminology, and you're ready to try some of the free beading patterns.

Jewelry Making: Learn the basics of bead stringing and you're on your way to making your first piece of jewelry and exploring other jewelry making techniques.

Origami: The art of paper folding has a long history, and once you've started yourself you'll see why it remains such a popular hobby. Turn a sheet of paper into a origami box, a booklet, a heart for Valentine's Day.

Rubber Stamping: If you like quick results, or perhaps don't consider yourself to be particularly creative yet would like to make your own cards or personalize things, then try rubber stamping. Set yourself up with some basic rubber stamping supplies, learn the basics of rubber stamping, and you'll soon be creating away merrily!

If You Want to Express Your Inner Artist:

String Gel Medium for Acrylic Paints
Photo ©2011 Marion Boddy-Evans

Drawing/Sketching: All you need to learn to draw is a pencil or pen and paper, even a piece of computer paper and a ballpoint pen will do initially. Make it easier for yourself by avoiding these basic drawing mistakes right from the start. Don't delay, start a sketchbook today.

Painting: As I was compiling this list, I had to resist the temptation to put painting first and say "You'll love painting so much you won't have time for another new hobby." Take a look at the fun that's had with the monthly painting projects, and the Q&A for Absolute Beginners.

If You Pay Attention to Detail:

Photo and Design © Connie G. Barwick, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Cross Stitch: The results can be practical as well as decorative, the techniques aren't complicated, and designs are simplified into a stitching diagram which is like a map to ensure you know where you're going! Start with the step-by-step explanation of how to cross stitch and you'll soon be stitching away on the many beautiful free cross stitch patterns.

Embroidery: Take the next step from admiring beautifully embroidered garments and crafts to creating your own. It's something everyone can learn, with a little practice and patience (which is true for most hobbies!). Once you've mastered some basic stitches, it'll be time to explore the array of free embroidery patterns.

Needlepoint: Gorgeous patterns of stitched needlepoint have been created for centuries, both in functional items such as slippers and pillows, and in decorative wall hangings and garments. Take a little time to learn the various needlpoint stitches, then investigate the free needlepoint patterns.

Model Railway Trains: If your experience with model trains is limited to putting Thomas the Tank Engine on a loop, you're in for a surprise as you discover the possibilities in design and construction, never mind the trains themselves. The tips on getting started in model railroading will get your tracks up and running in no time.

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If You Like Things to be Practical:

Learn a new hobby -- making soap and candles
Photo © David Fisher

Candle and Soap Making: With all the ingredients, it's a bit like cooking, but instead visualize yourself, at the end of a long day, soak in a relaxing hot bath lit by light from candles you've made yourself and wash with a luxurious bar of hand-made soap. Learn how to make soap and how to make candles.

Pottery: Working with clay is extremely tactile, whether you're producing functional pieces or decorative ceramics. Find out how to begin creating pottery and the three fundamental skills you need to learn.

Woodwork: There's no two ways about it, woodworking involves sharp tools and working safely is essential. Learn how to select lumber for projects, how to use woodworking tools and start with something small before tackling a kitchen's worth of cabinets.

If You Enjoy Looking and Observing the World Around You:

Learn a New Hobby -- Birdwatching
Photo © Melissa Mayntz

Birding: Start feeding birds to attract them to your backyard, acquire a pair of binoculars, and you're all set to learn how to identify your feathered visitors.

Photography: Whether it's a basic point-and-shoot, a camera phone, or a more serious bit of kit (an SLR), there are a lot of fun techniques and photo assignments to try. Don't miss the tips to avoid blurry photos!

Scrapbooking: Birthdays, weddings, holidays, graduations, family days out ... these are the things memories are made of, and it's memories scrapbookers turn into treasure. First though, you'll need some scrapbooking supplies, then you'll be set to create your first scrapbook pages.

If You've an Active Imagination:

Learn a New Hobby -- Magic
Photo © Wayne Kawamoto

Action Figures: If you don't rip into the packaging of an action but open it with scissors, you're already a collector! Next step, posing your figures.

Comic Books: Created to be fun to read and engage your imagination, collecting comic books is another level of fun to be had with them. Then there are comic conventions, and learning to create your own comics.

Magic: Start with easy magic tricks such as a cutting and restoring a piece of string or creating a magnetic hand, and you'll soon have a repertoire to amaze friends and family with a your first magic show.

Manga: A style of comic that originated in Japan, these manga must-reads are the place to start reading and collecting.

Miniatures: The first thing you'll need to do is to wrap your head around the importance of scale. Then gather the essential materials to build miniatures, find a project idea, and you're away!

Radio Controlled Vehicles: If you keep playing with your offspring's radio-controlled car, then it's time to get your own! A self-assemble, upgradeable, hobby-grade RCV that'll leave junior's in the dust.

If You're a Hunter-Gatherer:

Photo by Barb Crews

Coins: We all use coins in our everyday lives and tend to take them for granted. But pay closer attention, and you'll begin to realise why people collect coins, learn how to judge which coins are valuable. Get started with the basics of coin collecting.

Collectibles: The difference between collecting something and merely gathering stuff is a sense of purpose, a greater understanding of what you're collecting and what's still out there that you might find to add to your collection. There's expert advice on starting a collection and finding garden sale treasure.

Doll Collecting: Don't let anyone tell you dolls are only for little 'uns! There's no reason to grow out of the pleasures dolls can bring! Find out which dolls are the best to collect and where to find dolls.

Stamps: While it has a reputation as a hobby for loners, there are many types of stamp collectors, and it can be a very social activity. Find out how to start collecting stamps and how to handle stamps.

Contests & Sweepstakes: Entering contests is like gambling but without any risk of losing anything. On the contrary, there's lots to be won! The hard work tracking down the individual contests is done for you, compiled into new sweepstakes list. Before you start though, learn why you should quickly set up a separate sweetstakes email account and check out the top sweepstakes tips.

Coupons and Bargains: Make your hard-earned money go further by maximizing your savings when you're shopping. Learn how to find coupons and online deals, as well as what the jargon means.

Freebies: Who doesn't like getting something for free? Take it further and actively pursue freebies, and you'll be amazed at what's on offer! Get started with the valuable tips on how to get free samples from a professional freebie-hunter.

If You Want to Spend More Time with Family and Friends:

Learn a New Hobby -- Family Crafts
Photo © Sherri Osborn

Board/Card Games: No-one should ever miss out on playing classic games such as Monopoly, Scrabble, and Settlers of Catan (don't tell me you've never played Settlers!), but equally don't miss the fun to be had with the vast array of other board and card games.

Chess: Once you've learned to identify the various chess pieces and how each may be moved, and then how to set up a chess board, you're ready to play your first game and your first checkmate.

Family Crafts For some creative family time where everyone whatever their age can join in, there's a family crafts project or craft technique to enjoy. From felt crafts to shell crafts to coffee filter crafts, there's always something to suit the supplies you've got to hand.

Genealogy Track down your family tree to find out the who, what, and where of your ancestors.

Puzzles: Whether you like puzzling with words (free crosswords), numbers (free sudoku), or images (free jigsaws) there's plenty to challenge your brain whether you're a puzzle snob or not!

Poker: Whether you're playing poker casually amongst friends or professionally, there's an etiquette that's as important to learn as what poker hand beats what and betting rules.

If You Enjoy Music:

Learn a New Hobby -- Play the Piano
Image © Brandy Kraemer

Dance: With all the types of dancing it doesn't matter if you think you've two left feet, there's something that'll suit your personality.

Guitar: To learn to play you'll need a guitar with six strings, a pick, a chair without arms, and some patience. The first three you can get for not too much money, the last you unfortunately can't buy at any price. But start with Guitar Lesson 1 and persist a bit, because the satisfaction from playing you can't buy either.

Piano: Whether you envisage yourself as Beethoven, Elton John or whoever, it's never too late to Learn to Play the Piano. If you're worried about creating noise pollution, get a keyboard with headphones and you'll have an entirely private performance while you learn.

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