Polymer Crochet Hook Handles.
I have been having difficulty with a crochet hook since my chemo damaged the nerves in my hands and had almost given up trying to do too much. Then I discovered on Etsy that some clever people in USA make polymer handles for their hooks, which make them so much easier to handle. They seem rather expensive (especially if you want a set) and there is always the problem of customs taxes to consider, and waiting for them to arrive, (which I seriously hate!)
So today I went off to buy some Polymer thinking ... how hard can it be? I also purchased a new metal set of hooks so that if it all went disastrously wrong then it would not be too much of a problem. A set of six metal hooks and three polymer colours set me back about £10. Sadly the colour I wanted was not available in the art shop we visited (pink), so I had to settle on lilac, purple and white as they were the only ones bearable (brown, orange, black, anyone?)
Well it was difficult! The clay was very hard and no matter how I kneaded and pummeled it the material refused to become pliable. Mixing the colours to make a marble effect was also very hard to do as they were not keen to be mated. Eventually though I managed to make a simple handle with a marble effect and some spots and shrouded the hook ends in it. I then rolled it and tapped the ends to give it a little firmness before I baked it.
This process was extremely difficult to do in an Aga (the temperature is approx 450c in one oven and 150c in the other) and the temperature suggested is just 120c - 130c for 15/20 minutes. To counteract the heat I put the hook onto silver foil and covered it with silver foil too and placed it in the coolest part of the lower oven.
After about fifteen minutes I checked for any signs of discolouration or cracking and could see none so I set the package back in the oven for a further five minutes. When it came out I put it into a bowl of iced water, which apparently helps the hardening process. This was the then time for the next stage of smoothing and sanding and polishing. The finished project should be visible here in a short time. Meanwhile I think I shall just pop over to Etsy and order some anyway! (And yes I did succumb).