Sunday, September 30, 2007

Crafty Weekend

This weekend I did a couple crafty things that I had never done before. The first was that I took a candle-making class and poured my very own soy candle. The process was very easy, because the teacher already had the wax all melted down, so we just basically poured a layer, waited for it to set, then poured another layer. I thought it was a blog-worthy project, because I learned a few things that I hadn't known before. The first was that regular paraffin-wax candles come from oil, and that buring them is kind of like burning deisel fuel in your living room. Apparently doctors recommend not burning candles if anyone in your home has any kind of respiratory problem because of the indoor air pollution. But, soy candles are not a problem like paraffin candles are. I snagged a list of benefits off a random website for you to peruse:

Soy candles are cheap - Beeswax is a great natural alternative to paraffin, but to get the same results as a soy-based candle, it is very expensive.

Soy wax is a new alternative to paraffin wax that is cost effective. Soy wax is also made from a renewable source.

Soy wax is all-natural - Soy wax is a favorite of environmentally conscious people because it is not made from petroleum, like paraffin candles. Burning of soy candles does not increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere.

Soy candles last longer - They can last up to 50% longer than paraffin candles.

Soy candles spills are easy to clean - It's very difficult to remove paraffin wax from furniture or textiles. Soy wax spills can easily be cleaned up with hot soapy water.

Soy candles produce less soot - Soot should be avoided because it is very unhealthy and can eventually coat furniture and walls. Soy candles produce about 90% less soot that paraffin candles.

Scented soy candles distribute more flavour - The incorporation of soybean oil lowers the melting point of the candle, which translates into cooler burning candles and faster scent dispersion.

Amen to that last one...I was surprised to hear that the candle I made in my little mason jar might have 70-80 hours of burn time.

Ok, on to last night's craftiness. I went to a knitting bee. Ok, actually it was more like trying to learn to knit in the middle of a drunken riot, but that was just because one girlfriend had too much sangria, and another guest was just the loudest person on the face of the earth. And also quite intoxicated. But I persevered in my craft and came away with some Crazy Phat Knitting Skillz.

but I learned how to knit. This is not something I would ever attempt to explain with words or drawings. But I thought that next time I start a project (which won't be for a while, since I started another one today that will take at least a week to complete) I might attempt video-taping the three basic knitting stitches and posting a video knitting tutorial. Because it's really not hard, but I definitely needed someone to show me a few times how to do each maneuver before I could do it on my own. Then this morning I had to run out for yarn and knitting needles, because I knew if I didn't practice some more, I'd completely forget everything in less than a week.

So, that's a subject for another blog...for now I'll just post a picutre of the proof that I knitted something. I was going for a dog scarf (I don't have a dog, but it was small and I couldn't think of anything else to make it into) but I had to just be happy with a 6" x 3" rectangle because it took about 3 hours for me to complete that! And my knitting tutor was trying to teach me how to "bind off" the end...but I didn't quite catch it because she just took over the project and finished it up herself. At the end of the project I'm on now, I'll have to take it over to her house and have her show me again, in slow motion, so I can practice that skill as well. I was pretty impressed the space of an hour last night she taught me how to "cast on" stitches, how to knit, and how to perl. Woot!
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a witt said...

Thank you SO much for posting this. I have been collecting tins and jars that I like (randomly) to pour candles for some little Christmas presents this year. Now I am for sure buying a soy candle kit instead of paraffin. I'm into all that non-polluting, renewable stuff. What you said.

Clubbs said...

Who knew? I never read up on it before, so I just figured soy was if you wanted to be more earthy. I will get soy from now soon as I finish burning my Yankee Autumn Wreath one and the little pumpkin one I got at Bath and Body...see you when I have lung cancer...:)

a witt said...

Autumn Wreath!! My new favorite.