Wednesday, January 18, 2012's been a long time!!

I haven't blogged here in a very very long time!!!

I will be starting up again with blogging very soon....taking a web design class! :)

Took me a good 10 minutes today to remember what my log-on and password are for blogger. ha ha. :)

Life has been very busy for me for a couple of years......had a couple surgeries, lost 200 is completely different for me now. But I still knit and crochet! :) Took a hiatus from crafting while I was getting my life together....but back to hooks and needles now!

I will try to blog at least once a week from now on..... no more 2-3 year breaks! :o)

Monday, March 02, 2009

My book arrived from Japan!

I ordered a pattern book on Etsy from Japan. 80 pages of Tawashi fun! In about a week it arrived!

Looking at page after page of Japanese was a bit daunting at first, but with a bit of research online and looking at the charts carefully, the patterns aren't that difficult to figure out. The Magic Scrubber books have photos, charts and illustrations for each pattern. :)

Here's what I have made from the book so far:

Knot Ball Tawashi:

Woven Ball Tawashi:

Shooting Star Tawashi:

And, it also includes the Ohina Tawashi pattern that I posted last week.

I am trying the crochet patterns from the book first, because after 20 years of crocheting, I'm much more advanced at reading charts and figuring out stitches/techniques than I am with knitting. Most of the book is crochet, but there are a few knit patterns and some that combine knit and crochet.

The charts and finishing illustrations in this book are wonderful. And there are several websites that show basic knitting/crochet words in Japanese. The symbols used in the charts are mostly standard, and there is a illustrated stitch key in the middle of the book showing illustrated instructions for stitches and the symbols that go with them. The patterns are very simple, so I'm using them to gain some knowledge of how Japanese patterns are presented so later on I will be able to try some of the gorgeous Japanese lace patterns that I have seen!

I've been selling off some of the knit and crochet patterns I have that I don't use. And today I used part of the money to order 2 more Tawashi books (one has a toy theme...too cute!).


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tawashi Revisited

Phase two of the contest of cotton vs acrylic was done yesterday afternoon. If you aren't familiar with the bout, just page down a bit and read yesterday's blog post.

After scrubbing the stove, the cotton tawashi was a hair above the acrylic contender. Mostly due to cotton's ability to absorb water.

Yesterday I tackled another big household task -- cleaning the bathroom. The cotton tawashi was used in the hallway kids'/visitors' bathroom. And the acrylic was used in the master bathroom.

Two Tawashi. Bleach. Orange oil cleanser.....

The outcome??

The acrylic tawashi was great for scrubbing problem areas (like hard water deposit on the tub spout, or soap scum from the shower tile. But, it again fell short in the finishing steps like wiping up grime, or water. I do, however, have to say that it was awesome at scrubbing the sink and shower handles clean. It was great for scrubbing baseboards. I used an old towel afterwards to wipe up any grime and water left after scrubbing, since the acrylic just can't absorb anything. The acrylic was also awesome to use with bleach (didn't affect the color or strength of the yarn at all) to scrub tile grout. And, orange oil cleanser also had no affect on the yarn. (Orange oil cleanser is awesome at scrubbing tile grout, in case anyone is curious. Just be sure you scrub the tub afterwards, or it can be slick from the oil. Orange oil is also great for removing soap residue.) I just wiped the tile down with my handy-dandy old towel when I was done scrubbing to pick up any dirt or cleanser the scrubbie left behind.

The cotton tawashi was a trooper. It cleaned like nobody's business. And, believe me, it was worked hard. I wiped down the walls, cleaned the fixtures, scrubbed the baseboards, scrubbed the fixture and tub handles, wiped down the shower curtain rod, the window sill, dusted the towel closet shelves......everything. Whatever I tried with the acrylic scrubbie, I did with the cotton. The bleach did a number on the cotton of course. The nice bright green and yellow was a lot lighter by the time the poor thing had been dipped in bleach water about 100 times. But, the yarn wasn't weakened by the bleach or the orange cleanser. I think the cotton performed a bit better with the oil cleanser than the acrylic did, simply because the cotton scrubbie could soak up the orange oil.

Afterwards, I had two worn out, nasty scrubbies --- and two sparkling fresh citrus scented bathrooms. :)

The winner??

Again, I have to say that cotton is still just a smidge ahead.

The acrylic does have a nice scrubbing action, but it just can't really do anything else. It held up nicely to the punishment, and it did a great job scrubbing up grime. But, it was a two step process because it couldn't wipe up what it scrubbed up.

The cotton scrubbed nicely, and did a great job absorbing and wiping up the grime. And it held up fine under the chemicals and hard work.

Of course, after scrubbing a bathroom from top to bottom, both valiant scrubbies are making a trip to that scrubbie heaven in the sky. Spongebob will be giving their eulogies. :)

I have the yarn set aside to make two new competitiors today-- and Round 3 will be doing dishes. We'll see how acrylic and cotton compete when it comes to pots and pans!!!


Monday, February 23, 2009

A tale of Two Tawashi

For years, I was a believer in the rule that kitchen items should all be made from cotton yarn, because acrylic doesn't soak up water and some acrylics will melt under heat, etc.

But, when I started to make Tawashi scrubbies, the patterns call for acrylic yarn, stating that it has a better scrubbing effect than cotton.

I'm a "I'll believe it when I see it'' sorta I have decided to test to see which way is better.

But I'm expanding the scope of the test. I also want to know how both yarns compare when cleaning other things, not just dishes.

So, I thought about it for a day, and decided that first I wanted to test a difficult to clean area in the kitchen. The stove.

Our stove is the one that was in the house when we bought it. I'm not sure how old it is, but in the next year or so we're going to have to replace it, or at least replace all the drip pans from the burner units. We bought the house 4 years ago, and the drip pans were not pristine with badly damaged finish, as well as the burner coils themselves. I don't like to take the cooktop apart, so the drip pans are usually dusty and have small spills here and there. So, I figured the stove was a good place to test scrubbies.

For the sake of my little experiment, I crocheted a scrubbie in cotton, and one in Red Heart acrylic. And, I tackled the stovetop.

We had beanie weenies for supper that night, and of course the guys spilled some while filling their plates. Plus I added a bit more here and there to make sure the stove was nice and dirty. A little soft scrub right down the middle, and the contest was on.... Pink and white is 100% acrylic and green and yellow is 100% cotton.

Each scrubbie cleaned 1/2 the cooktop, and 2 burner units, plus half the hood and oven door.

Looking a bit worse for wear, both scrubbies performed excellently! They easily cleaned away the mess, and did a great job scrubbing the drip pans and burner coils. The only thing neither one could remove was some damage to the finish on one side that I have never been able to scrub away. Our stove is probably about 20 years old....on a newer stove that doesn't have a damaged finish, I am sure a little scrubbie like these would do an excellent job keeping everything shiny. But, I do think with the help of some oven cleaner and patience, I could get the last bit to come off as well. I don't want to make the old thing look too good though....I almost have my husband talked into buying me a new stove. ha ha. :)

The only complaint I really have is about the acrylic scrubbie. It did great at scrubbing, but acrylic yarn doesn't absorb anything. When it came to wiping up, the acrylic scrubbie pretty much fell flat. The cotton absorbed what it scrubbed up, and that did make it perform better at scrubbing the cooktop.

While I had them out, I also used both scrubbies to clean and shine my metal kitchen sink. They did a great job!

Both scrubbies were then tossed in the washing machine, and came out with a bit of wear, but still useable for cleaning projects.

I would say after this first round, the cotton scrubbie is just a smidge ahead of the acrylic.

Round two for these two veteran scrubbies will be: Cleaning a bathroom! One will be used to clean our master bathroom and the other will be used to clean our hall bathroom. Fixtures, tile, etc.

We'll see how they perform on porcelain! Then these two veterans will be relegated to the trash can....

Round 3 will be between two freshly crocheted new contenders -- and I will actually do dishes with them.

Then I will know for sure -- what's best? Acrylic or cotton!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tawashi anyone?

Tawashi are quickly becoming very popular with knitters and crocheters. Tawashi is Japanese for "scrubbie'' and the patterns vary from colorful to cute. Tawashi are sort of like amigurumi that you scrub your dishes (or yourself!) with!

I didn't even know tawashi existed until about a week ago, when someone posted to a craft group I belong to that they were their favorite small project. I got nosy and asked her to explain what they were...she sent me some links and I was hooked!

There are all sorts of free Tawashi patterns on the internet, and has a group called "Tawashi Town'' with all sorts of tips and links to patterns. Most patterns are in Japanese, but include charts that enable those who don't read Japanese to still use the pattern. Plus, Google Translate can roughtly translate Japanese to English. If you try to load a pattern and get mostly a blank page, you just need to set Windows to show Japanese characters.

I had to reset my thinking a bit when it comes to kitchen items. I've always been a fan of cotton for kitchen stuff, since it soaks up water. But, Japanese patterns call for using acrylic for scrubbies. I can see the point, as the plastic/nylon/acrylic yarn would have more of a scrubbie effect than cotton. Japanese yarn used for tawashi is even advertised as "antibacterial.'' Not sure if that is true, or a gimmick to sell yarn. The scrubbies are sometimes called "eco tawashi'' because the acrylic yarn allows less soap to be used when scrubbing dishes. I'd be more apt to call it "eco'' if I was using natural fibers though, as who knows how long it takes acrylic yarn to break down in a landfill, but that's just my opinion on the whole "greenie'' side of the craze.

The pattern books and the antibacterial Japanese yarn can be a bit tricky to find in the US. I ordered a pattern book from Etsy, and I know many people have ordered the yarn there as well. Just search for Tawashi under "supplies'' and several sellers in Japan pop up. The shipping ranges from $5-$10 since it does require international postage, and it takes about a week or so to receive here in the states. All of the sellers I found are willing to combine postage if you order more than one item.
Some of the patterns are just incredibly cute -- smiling pandas, cute little fish, frogs, pieces of fruit. And some amigurumi patterns could also double as tawashi patterns. I've seen patterns for both knitting and crochet.

If you're looking for a cute little project, that is also useful -- tawashi are quick and easy! Plus, they're just FUN to make. My 4 year old loves them, and wants to wipe off the kitchen counters all the time and to help with washing the dishes. So, they're great incentive for the kids to help with kitchen chores as well!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bad blogger, Bad Bad!!!!

Oh my! It has been so long since I have paid attention to my poor little blog.

The poor thing has been neglected and not updated in months!!

I will rectify that today!!

Hugs! Juli

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

FO!! :o)

I finally finished a shawl I have been working on for a couple of months. For some reason, this just seemed to be the Eternal Never-Ending Project. I knit and knit on it, and it never seemed to get any bigger.

I think maybe it was the row repetitions getting to be old hat that seemed to make this take forever. And, I was also slowed up by having poison ivy down my right arm. I had to wrap my arm in a pillow case to be able to knit for about 3 weeks. Annoying!

But, fortunately, I did finally get it all done!

It got a nice lukewarm bath in the sink with some fabric softener, and now it's blocking on our dining room table. It definitely takes up the whole table! And the dining room smells like Snuggle fabric softener. :) So does Bruce the Cat since he (of course) had to give the drying shawl his Butt Blessing. Just proves how obsessed he is with sitting on all knitting or crocheting in this house....he sat on wet wool that smelled like tropical passion scented fabric softener AND that had multiple very sharp pins stuck in it. Silly cat!

And here's a close-up of the basic pattern.

I received this pattern in a mailing from the author Debbie Macomber this spring. I liked it, but used a heavier yarn to make it more of a fall weight shawl. The yarn I used was Red Heart Chunky Shetland in Heather Green. Chunky Shetland is a 75% acrylic/25% wool blend. I'm not sure if it's available anymore. I've had 20 skeins of this yarn in my stash for about 4 years or so, and just never had a project that fit it. It was just the perfect yarn for this shawl, so I was very happy to finally get to use it! I still have quite a bit left...the shawl used up 9 skeins. So I guess I have enough yarn to make another one! This one is going out to my SP as soon as it is dry. :)

So, that's one WIP down, several to go!

I pulled out a pair of socks I started in the spring and didn't finish. I'm using a simple cuff sock pattern that I got off the Bernat website a couple years ago. And I'm using Bernat Sox yarn in Hot Tamale. Both the pattern, and yarn, aren't available anymore. I don't usually use Bernat Sox since it is 100% acrylic....I just find it too hot for my tootsies. But, this pair of socks is for a little girl, and I figured it would be better to use yarn that won't shrink in the regular wash.

When this pair of socks is finished, I have one more pair in my WIP pile to finish up. Plus, I need to seam a pair of fingerless gloves, finish up 2 scarves and a hat. And I have a purse to make for an exchange.

I'm on a new project diet until then -- no new projects until all the old ones are done!!!