Saturday, September 15, 2007

Evil Critters

Hi Cindy,

About two months ago I had a horrid discovery that only now am I able to speak of. While shopping the stash early one Tuesday morning before starting my telecommute day I discovered that some evil litter vermin had invaded one of my plastic boxes full of wool yarns. I had about 8 skeins of Mango Moon bought on sale, a couple of sale skeins of Noro and the churro yarn I bought last fall when I got the one for you. I believe that it was the last one that was the culprit.

I immediately Googled a solution to my dilemma of how to eradicate the little demons. The two solutions I found was to freeze the little buggers out or to cook them and wash them away. Since we only have a small freezer in out side-by-side fridge it was going to have to be the latter. Into the oven they would go at about 200 degrees for at least half an hour. I think it actually turned out to be longer than that. Then it was into the bath tub to wash away the dead larvae and any remaining eggs.

On a hot day it didn't take too long for the skeins to dry. Everything looked great except the churro yarn. It had been a lovely pink variation from prickly pear dye. Afterwards it was a dull pinkish gray (the picture at right is wetted prior to new dying). Most of the pink had washed away. The dye must not have been properly set. I was bummed about the color and pretty peeved that the once pretty yarn had infected the other yarns. I put it all away and thought about it for a couple weeks.

Over Labor Day weekend I decided to attack the Mango Moon skeins and wind them into balls. They still looked fine and showed no hint of further infection. I had already balled the Noro and it is part of the stash designated for the Log Cabin Blanket. No problems with that so far either.

Now what to do about the churro yarn? Ideally it should be dyed again with a traditional dye but I don't have access to any prickly pears and haven't yet experimented with natural dyes. In fact right now the only dye in the house is some black RIT dye DH wants me to use on an old pair of climbing pants. I did buy some unsweetened mexican kool-aid last year in the hopes of experimenting with it. I chose four flavors/colors to use: grape, black cherry, raspberry and strawberry. They made a nice progression from pink to purple.

I used a variation on painting the yarn. Actually I just quartered off the yarn and worked the kool-aid into each section. I then processed it in the microwave-heat 2 minutes, set 2 minutes and heat 2 more minutes. I then allowed it to cool and rinsed it out. The process must have worked like it was supposed to because no color came out in the rinse. I then hung it outside to dry. It was still wet in the picture but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I will wind it into a ball in the next few days and then decide how to use it. I'm thinking a felted bowl, much like you made with your churro may be a good option. Either that or the start of a kitty pi. Any suggestions?

I finished Margi's sweater today. We haven't tried it on yet, we're going to do a photo shoot tomorrow. I think she knows it's hers though.

Take care, A


Cindy said...

OMG!! Ugh. I haven't yet had those visitors . . . was it very obvious? I couldn't miss them, right? How did you know.

I LOVE your dyeing. Don't think we have Mexican kool-aid up here; what's the difference?

Alene said...

It was very obvious once I opened the box. There were larvae crawling on the yarn and little webby bits. Even a dead moth I think. I've tried to block it from my mind. Fortunately it was contained in one box and hadn't reached the rest of the stash.

The mexican kool-aid is just a generic type that I got at the mexican food store. Regular Kool-aid or generic from the local store would work just the same. I think this might have been 10 for $1 on sale.

Alene said...

I'm glad to hear that you haven't had them. I was afraid after I found them on the churro that you might have gotten them too. But then I thought about it and your's was from a different spinner so maybe it was okay.

It must have gotten them on it after the dying though because I would have thought the heat from that would have killed them.