The new Nerd Wars challenges went up at midnight March 1st, and while I’m not sure I’ll get to all of them, I dove right in on a couple of them. One of them, called “Polytechs”, is geared toward combining two crafts. One had to be knitting, crochet, spinning, or weaving, but the other could be any craft you like. I chose to try dyeing wool with Kool-Aid. I’d never dyed anything but my hair before, so I was a little nervous about how it would go, but it worked very nicely.
Here’s what this stuff looked like beforehand. It’s sort of yellowish- this is actually wool from the fleece I bought at Shepherd’s Harvest two years ago. I ended up deciding it was too big a job and sold it to a friend, who very kindly sent me back about 5 ounces, washed and combed.
And here it is after microwave-dyeing with two packets of Black Cherry, two packets of Grape, one packet of Berry Blue, and one packet of Blue Raspberry Lemonade.
I ended up fitting a bit less than 3 oz into my dye pot. The nice thing about dyeing with food color, like kool-aid, is that you don’t need a special pot to dye in, as it’s safe to use around dishes you normally cook in or eat off of. Also, the kool-aid contains acid, so you don’t even need to add vinegar to “fix” the dye. It’s already permanent and colorfast.
The downside, however, is that it smells… well… fruity. Fake fruity. Not terrible, just fake fruity.
Note- the blue is my leader, it’s just old cotton yarn, not part of the spinning fiber. It’s spinning up extremely fine. The reason for this is also the reason I can’t spin much at a time… the person who combed this fiber for me left a certain amount of lanolin, or “sheep grease”, in the fiber because she prefers to spin “in the grease”. The lanolin helps the fiber grip itself, so it’s easier to spin a very fine single. Unfortunately, I let it sit in a bag a bit too long and the “grease” is now more like… “sticker residue”. It’s sticky. It’s still obviously lanolin, because it does absorb into skin rather than needing to be washed off, but it’s still sticky while I spin the wool.
I’m sure it’ll be lovely when I’m done, though. I’m still trying to decide whether to chain-ply or two-ply it.
As for my knitting, I’ve gotten past the thumb gusset on the second outer Alice mitten.
It’s oddly mind-numbing while still being too complicated to multi-task through, so I’m not enjoying it much, but it is getting closer to done.
I started a pair of boring 2×2 rib socks for Cory, but those will have to go on hold for a few days while I seam up a leviathan of a blanket for a group blanket project on Ravelry. I don’t know what possessed me to volunteer to seam, but I’m going to do it anyway! We’ll see how long it takes. I’m hoping only a day or two.