Last week I finally got around to playing around with food coloring and wool yarn. I used the directions here , except I used the cheapy liquid bottles you buy 4 to a box at the grocery, since I figured that's what most kids would have access to. I used about half the tube of green, and tried dyeing my felted swatch, along with some other yarn.
It started taking up the dye immediately, but didn't really get to nearly "clear water" conditions until it spent about 30 minutes at 350F. I showed the kids this photo of what that looked like:
By the way, we didn't do this in class because, among other things, it took way more time than we had. I have to go flying out of there right after class to get my kids to a different place for different classes, so I don't have time to get everything spread out for drying. At home I simply plopped everything on the back porch:
They did get to see the finished products, though:
Check it out -- I didn't move the items the entire time they were in the bowl, and the top of the felted piece ended up darker than the bottom.
Next I'm going to cut up my felted piece and make it into a Christmas ornament.
After showing the kids the exciting dyeing stuff in class (and telling them that, no, I didn't think it was a great idea to try dyeing their hair this way, although apparently one of the girls had once tried using KoolAid and it came out a very unexpected color), we moved on to GAUGE SWATCHES. Which was significantly less fun.
I had made 3 swatches using the same yarn and the same number of stitches (rather random on the rows). I blocked them, too, since you must "do unto thy gauge swatch as thou shalt do unto thy finished knitting". Or something like that.
I had marked which swatch was made on which sized needle by making either eyelets or purl stitches in appropriate amounts.
And then, most cruelly, I insisted that the 2 girls who are planning on making mitts START MAKING GAUGE SWATCHES. Aaaaahhhhhrrrrg, the moaning and gnashing of teeth! It's so booooorrrrrrrriiiiiiiinnnngggg! Actually, one girl had already made a small swatch, and her gauge was way off, so she had to make another. And, get this, it had to be more than, like, 2 rows of knitting.
Really, I tried to talk to them about the trials of making an entire garment and then realizing that your gauge was off, and how crappy THAT was. I also gave them a bit of a talk on figuring out size -- negative ease versus positive ease, etc. Overall I think the kids who'd decided to make something unfitted, like scarves or more dishcloths, were feeling pretty good about their decision since they didn't need to mess with the dreaded gauge swatch.
Meanwhile, at home knitting -- I'm working on the Totoro hat, and have the mouth done in intarsia. It will be outlined in black after the knitting is done.
(Don't tell the class, but I didn't make a gauge swatch. I figure after this many years of knitting I know about what's going to happen, since I invariably knit more loosely than the pattern. Also, a hat is about the right size to be its own gauge swatch.)
Also, the other morning I became convinced (for no good reason) that the class needs to see examples of knitting with slightly more unusual materials, so I decided to knit some wire . I stopped by and got the wire and beads, then took them to Thalia's voice lesson to string up the beads on the wire before starting the knitting.
Annabeth and I were counting out 134 beads on one of those little tables in the lobby, putting them in groups of 10, and Annabeth bumped the table, sending beads scattering. Guess what I'd never noticed before -- the new carpeting in the Dayspring lobby is pretty much these exact same colors. And now it's crunchy with hidden seed beads. Oops.
Anyway, looking forward to trying this when I finally get a chance to sit down and pay attention to what I'm knitting.