Monday, October 22, 2012

Swaps, Improvisation, and Inspiration

I have been so busy lately with work and crochet, but it's been satisfying and fun.  I often visit and post on Crochetville, and recently I joined two swaps.  This was a new and nerve-wracking experience.  It's so easy to make baby stuff that the majority will like, but making something for an adult is an altogether different experience.

My first swap was a shawl swap.  My partner provided a list of colors she liked.  I got an assortment of colors in Caron Simply Soft.  Why did I get into a swap to make something I've never made?  I dive into projects, sight unseen.  I learn a lot, but I should make things easy once in a while.  It hasn't happened yet.  lol.  So I made the shawl my partner was hoping for, the Butterfly Wing Shawl by Holly Miller.  I had read from others that the bigger you made it, the longer the bottom tip got.  I modified that tip to control the length a little.  It took me a couple of weeks to make it because of work, but at last I finished it and started to gather extras to send with the package.  My partner sent me a lovely shawl, the Fancy Fans Stole, as well as some other very nice things.  

The second swap overlapped with the first.  Both were to be mailed by the same date.  On top of it all, I made my own cosy instead of using a pattern.  The flowering teas reminded me of Japanese teas; so I went with a cherry blossom theme.  You know what the most difficult part was?  Getting reacquainted with thin steel crochet hooks and cotton thread.  I would lose grip of them and ended up with sore hands.  I should have used my Boye interchangeable steel hooks with the grip made by Jimbo.  Here's a picture of what mine looks like.  It was an educational experience.  I love what my partner sent me.  She also improvised her own pattern.  I'm so lucky that we turned out to have so much in common.  Can you see all the cute details on the cosy she made, pictured below?  She even added a clothesline!  I can't get over how perfect it is.  If I had partners like her for all swaps, I'd be in all year round!  lol.

Aside from participating in swaps, I have tested some more patterns for Shifio.  I've tested Halloween baby hats, a puff matinee set, and some other sets that haven't been put up on the website.  Once they do, I'll be able to post pictures.

I had so much I wanted to write, but it's almost 2:30 a.m. here.  I am finally sleepy.  What have you been up to on your end of the woods?  What has inspired you lately?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Use Less Elbow Grease!

I'm quickly posting this because I'm in a hurry yet want to share a tip.  I have a stove I purchased three years ago but only used for two and even then only sparingly.  I moved and left it so my roommate could use it.  Mind you, I left it nice and clean when I left.  She had to vacate and asked me to pick it up.  It was dirty, and the burners were grimy and yucky with burnt food!  I found a buyer, which got me to thinking there's got to be a better way to clean those grates.  I found it, and it works!  The longer you leave it the better the results.  By accident I discovered that if you leave very warm or hot water running while you're cleaning them after soaking, your job is even easier.  Those grates are almost perfect!  They could have done with more time soaking, but the buyer is going to pick it up soon at the storage place.  I'm on my way out but not before recommending this post.  You will not regret it.  I will try to post after pics when I return.  Hasta pronto :)

**And a couple of hours later:  I forgot to take pictures!  Ugh.  Glad that there are pics in the link :)