Thursday, February 28, 2013

Stitch Marker Swap

This past weekend Lauren and I attended Stitches West in Santa Clara. For those who have never heard of this event, it's essentially a HUGE yarn convention where thousands of knitters, crocheters, weavers, and anyone else who enjoys yarn, gather to take classes and/or shop the vendors' booths. But I'll post more about the actual event later.

Ravelry is an excellent site, containing many free and for-purchase crochet and knit patterns. Mostly everything I knit comes from patterns I've seen on this site. More recently however, I discovered the "groups" feature which allows any member to join and start a discussion based on the topic of the group. THANK YOU LAUREN FOR FINDING THE STITCHES WEST GROUP and urging me to join. Lauren also read in a discussion thread through the Stitches West group about a Ravelry member who was hosting a stitch marker swap at the event. The thought of making swaps and scouting out people to trade with quickly brought me back to my days years of being a Girl Scout. I have fond memories of swapping with other girls years ago, so I immediately jumped on the idea to make and swap stitch markers with fellow yarn-loving companions.

All of the potential swappers were notified that approximately 100 other swappers would be in attendance. Thus I knew I HAD to make 100 swaps as I was bound to trade with everyone! I was very adamant that I wanted to use up some of the crafting supplies we already have to keep the cost of production down. After hours of brainstorming, Lauren and I decided to make stitch markers out of clay. Many people chose to use beads for their stitch markers, so we wanted to create something really different and unique. Lauren chose to assemble different colored birds, and I dabbled in sculpting rubber duckies.

I started by molding the clay into two different sized balls: the smaller ball for the head and the larger ball for the duck's body. I next rolled the larger ball into a shape that somewhat resembles a boat (that's the best description I could come up with, sorry...). I used a plastic knife to score the bottom surface of the head and the top surface of the body so that the two pieces would stick together better. With a sliver of orange clay, I added an orange beak onto the head. I then stuck a pin (bought at Michael's) in each duck and baked them in the oven.

I had a horrible incident where I scorched 40 ducks to death by turning up the oven temperature too high. Seriously...they were black. I was devastated. But besides that, everything else went smoothly.

Lauren helped me (and by help I mean graciously did everything) attach the jump rings and/or lobster claps to my finished ducks. It turns out that I'm not too good with pliers or wire cutters...

Then I used some black and white acrylic paint with q-tips and toothpicks to adorn the ducks with eyes. I was finally all set to swap!

There were dedicated times to swap: Friday and Saturday evenings at 5 PM. However, Lauren and I didn't get to Stitches West till Saturday, so we missed swapping Friday night. Everyone was given a button to wear, identifying him or her as a "swapper". If we spotted a button during the market shopping hours, we excitedly asked to swap with them. We were the first ones ready at the swap location on Saturday night...that's how excited we were. It was fun meeting everyone, but mostly it was so interesting to see what all of the other knitters and crocheters created. Here's my haul:

I'll probably never need that many stitch markers, but that's okay. I didn't participate in the swap to gain stitch markers, but rather I needed to fulfill my weird urge to make something useful that others could benefit from while concurrently using up some of my stashed materials. I loved trading with others and I was happy to see that I wasn't the only adult eager to swap. I'm already devising plans on what to create next year for my stitch marker swap!