Monday, 10 March 2008

My swap package

Oh dear - I have rather neglected this bog the last couple of weeks haven't I? Let's hope a load of pictures will make up for it!

My sock kit swap partner has now recieved her packages (two in the event, to avoid £10 extra if it was all in one box!) Sadly the rhubarb and ginger jam and pumpkin pickle I made for her didn't make it in one piece - the jars broke on the journey. I may send her replacements. She was very pleased with the rest of the stuff, and as she has now got it I can, at last, post pictures here of the things I've been busy with since Christmas for the swap.

The rules were quite prescriptive regarding the main contents of the kit: sock yarn and a handmade bag in the partner's house colours, stitchmarkers, sock needles, and a sock pattern. Other extras were, of course, permitted.

Putting it all together has been quite a journey of creativity for me. It started with the bag, for which I had chosen a pattern (free from a link in Ravelry) even before I knew what house my partner belonged to. I also ordered fabric for lining the bag before partners were announced, as I thought it would work for all houses. After the e-mail arrived with my partner's details (a Slytherin) I hotffooted over to Texere and bought green cotton yarn, and some silver, glittery yarn for the bag. Using my newly acquired i-cord skills, a witches hat button from an e-bay purchase, and my new harmony circulars (:D), I created this:

I had to adapt the pattern somewhat for a different yarn weight to that specified + I used a full cable technique at the corners instead of the narrower crossed-stitch element in the original pattern. The metal eyelets were also my idea - I thought they would balance the silver elements in my version of the bag.

In the same trip to Texere that procured the bag yarns, I also purchased some undyed silk yarn, because the e-mail with my partner's details communicated the then devastating news that she is allergic to wool. Devastating because I had already bookmarked wool sock yarns in all the house colours at my favourite online supply shops. The best-laid plans of mice and men... and all that! So I had me a little adventure in dying yarn. The green I got with little trouble, handpainting the skein with a mixture of greens I created using the acid dye kit I bought at the Harrogate show last autumn. I named it 'Salazar' as that is the first name of the fictional founder of the house of Slytherin at Hogwarts. 'Silver' proved much more difficult though - none of my greys seemed to work with the green I'd created. I remembered reading about angelina in Spin-off and did a little research about it before buying some and carding it with silk to spin some yarn which I then dyed a greeny black and named 'Darke Sylver'. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you'll see the sparkle:

The stitchmarkers were lots of fun - an enquiry on Ravelry gleaned several links to tutorials for making them, which I did using beads from texere and other bits and pieces from ebay. I presented them on a card decorated with the Slytherin crest, and packaged them in a little green organza bag. For the pattern I printed a copy of Durmstrang socks and presented it in a folder I embossed with my partner's name and decorated with the Slytherin crest. Needles I got from Get knitted - Knitpicks Harmony of course (I am in love with them after all!!), and made a case to present them in, again embossed with my partner's name and decorated with the Slytherin crest. I also included a book of sock patterns I got at a reasonable price from Amazon. It has some cute patterns for childrens' socks I think will prove useful as my partner has a 3-year-old little boy.

And that just leaves goodies. What does someone in the UK, a desert when it comes to proprietary Potter sweets, do for goodies in a Potter-themed swap? Make it up! I exploited the fact that the books were written in the UK by a British writer and include lots of references to British goodies to create my own brands! Spotted Dick appears in the books, so I relabelled a Heinz tin of itand added some custard to serve it with. They purportedly come from the 'Hogwarts Kitchens'! I very cheaply bought sherbet lemons, mint humbugs and treacle toffee (all mentioned in the books) from local supermarkets, and repackaged them also as 'Muggle Sweets'!!


carol said...

An American friend of mine had got rather silly over the concept of a Brit pudding called "Spotted Dick", so I took her a tin of the Heinz one as a present. Unfortunately, I gave it to her when we were at an altitude of around 9ooo', so the can had swelled up like a balloon!

spinningmaid said...

That's really fascinating - I wouldn't have guessed that would happen! Leaves me wondering what flying does to our poor bodies though!!