Archive for science

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Posted in dye, homemade, kool-aid, yarn with tags , , , on January 5, 2015 by whimsyknitter

So, because my husband loves me, he got a very unusual gift for me this past Christmas. I received, under the tree with a bow and everything- a box full of dirty, smelly lamb fleece. I was… thrilled. No sarcasm, this was easily my top gift of the season. You see, with the rekindled interest in dolls, I’ve been percolating different ways to do their hair. You see, the one problem I’ve always had is that the necks have been weak and they tend to flop around quite a bit. It’s a design flaw, and while I’ve improved upon the design I haven’t really every truly solved the problem to my satisfaction. I’m picky y’see.

So, there’s two things I”m trying- 1) Putting in an actual armature (read: wire skeleton) to support the neck better (bonus- they’ll be poseable) 2) Using hair that’s not as heavy as a whole mess of yarn. To that end comes the fleece. And needle felting.

I’ve tried this already (you can see the results in my previous post- the dolls on either side have needle felted hair) and it works fantastically. However, fleece comes in but a few colors. Hence my other problem- if I want the crazy colors I want in the lengths I want I’m going to have to roll up my sleeves and dye it myself.

So, being ever the resourceful (and humble) one, I looked into various types of dyes. Food grade dyes seem to be the easiest and as a bonus, they’re entry price is right up my alley- cheap.

However, as the Internet is a great and wondrous place, there’s only like half a million different websites that offer instructions on how to do this. While the general gist is the same, they have some pretty fundamental differences. Chances are if you’re reading this, you know what i”m talking about.

So, now the science. I’m an empirical kind of gal. The two large debates I saw come up are “vinegar or no vinegar” and “What difference does wet or dry yarn make?”

Here’s my solution: I used vinegar (if it doesn’t matter, then by reason it’s not going to hurt.) and… I started testing.

Here’s the idea, the summation of what I’ve read:

Dry yarn takes longer to absorb the dye and can be really difficult to get to soak in. However, the result is a more intense hue. Conversely wet yarn (it’s been soaked in water before placing in the dye) is generally a lighter shade, but works quickly.

What’s a girl to do? Why, start testing of course. I’m even making a handy dandy reference board. The results I’ve gotten so far are interesting, and I’ll post them in the next couple of days.



Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 23, 2013 by whimsyknitter

All kinds of news on classes- First of all- mine are *almost* done, just a few more weeks and the nothing but nothing until next fall- so yay there!

But.. more importantly, the girls have been going to a couple of different classes down at the local community center for the last few Tuesdays- one a science class on seeds and plants, the other a general recreation type of class, which is more or less a way for them to blow off some steam.

I’m really liking the classes down at the center though- it gives us a chance to get out of the house (although I see that as being less of a problem as its FINALLY starting to warm up. 

And with that I come to this- I’m going to start sharing some of the science things we’re doing here at home. I’m finding that both of the girls have lots they want to explore, and experiments they want to run- the problem there really is picking out just one thing to focus on. Right now I think we’re going to complement the seed and plant studies they’re doing with comparisons to meiosis and general sexual reproduction. Yeah I know.. light subject- hah! They’re both ready for it and keep asking me questions like “So, what do you mean when you say I have your eyes? I mean.. I really don’t have *your* eyes, what the heck?” or “I get how humans are made, but how are plants/bugs/mold/fungi made?” (we get that one a lot) 

Fantastic time to be starting this topic, I’ll try to hop on later this week with some of the conceptual stuff I’ll be doing with this if anyone’s interested.