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The needle and the homage done - welcome to the cool new world of craft

Some market stalls should be admired from a distance. Standing a good metre away, you can nod encouragement to a dejected artisan without giving false hope of a sale. "A wind chime made of old forks! How did you think of it?" you might remark, before moving on to admire a compact disc tower carved from a tree trunk reports Lisa Pryor in the Sydney Morning Herald of December 6, 2008.

Well, thank goodness for the rise of cool crafts, sans macaroni and gum nuts. The fine art of creating things with knitting needles, thread, glue and Stanley knives has moved well beyond the realm of home-schooling bread-baking mothers of seven and bearded blacksmiths with hand-tooled leather vests. Now it is almost possible to shop for handicrafts without pathos or irony or the use of any other literary term you picked up in high school English.

Craft has been enjoying a renaissance for some time and the internet is chock-full of self-consciously cool groups such as Craft Mafia and Craftster advising on the very best ways to applique hoodies and construct felt hair-clips.

Though it has been happening for a while, I mention this whole craft thing now because, if I may for one moment imagine I am operating a community noticeboard rather than writing an opinion column, a special crafty happening is taking place today.

The Finders Keepers market is being held in Eveleigh, that suburb between Redfern and Newtown where iceheads and Bugaboo owners live in relative harmony. If you want to head along, the markets are from noon to 10pm at CarriageWorks.

These occasional markets, originally run under the name Hope Street markets, have been growing for more than a year now and exemplify the rise of curious, alternative artsy things such as pillowslips sewn from vintage fabrics that are then hand-painted, and jewellery featuring tiny, framed cross-stitch.

Distracting the market director, Sarah Thornton, from getting ready yesterday, I asked her about what the markets were trying to achieve. "We found in the Sydney area there are a lot of markets that sell established artists and imported goods and we really want to sell emerging designers," she told me.

Ye newe craft scene, unlike ye olde craft scene, thrives on technology. The Finders Keepers markets grew from a MySpace page. Thornton estimates about 60 and 80 per cent of the designers at her markets have their own blogs and many sell their goods on , which is a cooler, alternative version of eBay.

For those who would are looking for a cheap hobby during the Global Financial Crisis and would rather make crafts than buy them, stitching and bitching is a fabulous way to catch up with friends while saving money, being productive and keeping off the vodka. You don't even need to pay for sewing patterns and books because the internet is rich with ideas for semi-sarcastic decoupage and ironic crochet.

Here are some cool projects to get started. One of my favourite ideas is a little bit pop art, a little bit guerilla protest. The counterfeit crochet project, which boasts the motto "debasing and defiling designer items one step at a time", rips off high-end accessory brands by re-creating their designs in wool.

As you can see on the website, knitters have created handbags stealing the Burberry check and crocheted belts abusing the Louis Vuitton logo. You can download patterns and push the boundaries of copyright laws by knitting the Gucci, Fendi and Chanel logos yourself.

Alternatively, why not spend an afternoon constructing an evil toy for that special little person in your life?

As you can see on the blog, a group in Seattle called Dorkbot recently held a workshop teaching people how to create Frankensteins out of half-broken toys, like an Incredible Hulk with the head of a Barbie riding a My Little Pony and so forth. The perfect Christmas gift for the child who likes to rip heads off dolls and torture snails.

As for me, I am thinking I might start my craft career with a touch of timely embroidery to donate to all those poor investment bankers who are down on their luck.

Perhaps some monogrammed business shirts that are embroidered with the initials GFC?