Cover your filthy face holes, part 2

Did you read the last post?  If not, go read the last post so this makes a bit more sense.  And if you did, it’s time to flaunt the pretty.  We’ll just roll through these folded and unfolded, then do the info thing.




Those are all well rinsed and still damp (so they’ll get a little bit lighter when they’re totally dry, but not much).

Now, we should talk a little bit about indigo (as always, amazon links are affiliate links).  Indigo is a natural dye and it has Rather Strong Opinions.  It loves to fade, and it loves to rub off on things.  You can do a lot to minimize this, but you’re never going to absolutely remove all risk of it.

I prepped my fabric by washing it with synthrapol, the magic dye catching detergent that you totally want to have on hand anyway for that red shirt that bleeds all over everything.  I let the dye oxidize for a long time after each dip (an hour during the day, then overnight at the end).  I rinsed the fabric really well, then washed them in hot water (again with synthrapol) soaked them in vinegar for an hour, and then washed them with synthrapol again.

After that, I was able to rub a damp mask against my arm hard for a full minute and not get any dye transfer and wear one for an hour and not get any dye on my face.

Would I nuzzle my face up against a white silk couch while wearing one?  No (for a variety of reasons…).  Am I perfectly comfortable wearing one for ten minutes while I pick up takeout?  Yes.  Can I pinky swear you’ll have the exact same results? Nope.  Your water or your washing machine or your skin chemistry could be different from mine, and you could have a different result.  I think you’ll be fine, especially if you rinse well and wash them with the magic detergent (I’ve heard soaking them in salt water or ironing them can help too, but at this point I am not having any problems, so I’m not doing anything else to prevent it).  But there always is a risk with indigo, and I want you to be informed so you can make your own decisions.

And if you really don’t want to be bothered with the dipping and the waiting and dipping and the waiting the occasionally opinionated nature of indigo, you can totally fake it.  This kit has a lot of the same colors with way less drama (and there’s a neon version too if you want the more traditional tie dye color range, or this one has even more colors).

But whatever you do, whether you’re sewing custom fitted masterpieces or going with the most basic mask you can find, just wear something.  It’s the right thing to do (yes, even if it’s hot, yes, even if you feel a bit silly, yes, even if it is a bit uncomfortable), and you can totally do it.

Cover your filthy face holes

You know how you’re supposed to be wearing a mask when you’re around other people?  And you know how you are an awesome person and are totally doing that because you are not a selfish asshole?*  Right, well there’s absolutely nothing that says you can’t turn the whole mask thing into an absurd craft project.  I did, and it was fun!

I started by buying a 50 pack of very boring white cotton masks.  I got these (amazon links are affiliate links), but these and these and these look similar in case they’re out of stock (just make sure they’re cotton, the dye won’t take well otherwise).

Then I ordered an indigo tie dye kit (the same one I used four years ago when I decided to dye a whole bunch of napkins, and those napkins are still going strong, so I know it works), washed and soaked my fabric, and set to work with the rubber bands.

Once everything was bundled up, I sent them into the indigo vat (I set that up according to the directions on the box, be a smart kid, read the instructions).

I highly recommend using a scrap of yarn to tie them together by the elastics so you can lower and raise them all at once…the less you have to reach into the vat and fish around for things the less swearing you’ll do and the less blue you’ll be at the end of the day.

Then, it’s just a matter of dipping, waiting, lifting, and waiting.  I left mine in the dye for about 15 minutes then in the air for about an hour all afternoon long.

Indigo is kind of magic.  Stuff comes out green and then turns blue as the oxygen hits it.

Each subsequent dip and lift makes it a bit darker, and you just keep dipping until it reaches the intensity you’re going for.  Keep in mind that wet fabric looks much darker than dry fabric, and that you’ll loose some color when you rinse, so err on the side of too dark rather than too light.

I left mine out on the deck overnight (half because it was bedtime, half to let the color really oxidize), and then it was time for the rinsing and unfurling.  We’ll cover that next time (yes, yes I am a tease)!

Oh, and there is way more dye here than you need for masks, so if you have any unsuspecting fabric (cough, or yarn, cough) lying around that you might want to turn a lovely shade of blue, have at it.

If you dye enough stuff, it’s possible things will start coming out blue (instead of green) at some point.  That usually means you’ve gotten too much oxygen in the vat. Stirring a box of this stuff sorts that right out.  It basically doubles the amount of fabric I’m able to dye from one box of indigo, so it seems worth buying if you want to dye as much as possible with your kit.

If you want to read more about indigo in general, this is a good place to start (again, I am so not qualified to troubleshoot your vat…I just googled around for an afternoon and followed the directions on the box because this is just a fun diversion, not something I’m super invested in).  If you want to get really into it, both of these books look like a fun place to start (or if you want a more general guide to natural dyes, you can’t go wrong with this).

You get the glamor shots next time.  Until then, stay home if you can, wear a mask if you can’t, and for the love of yarn wash your hands!

* Here’s the deal.  If you live in an area where COVID-19 isn’t under control (hint, that’s all of the US and a whole bunch of the rest of the world, too), and you are capable of wearing a mask, you should be wearing one when you’re around other people.  If you’re able to wear one (and the vast, vast, vast majority of people are), and you elect not to, you are a selfish asshole.

And I can’t stop you from being a selfish asshole!  But I can make it really clear that I think less of you for it.  That’s it.  That’s the only consequence I can impose on you.  I, a stranger on the internet, can think very poorly of you.  But it turns out, selfish assholes get very upset when you tell them you have noticed that they are selfish assholes.  So that’s what I’m doing.  I’m telling everyone who could wear a mask and decides not to that they’re terrible people and that I think poorly of them.  If you want me to think well of you, wear a mask!

Summer School, Thick and Cozy, Truckle

On Monday we talked a bit about yarn and gauge for thick socks, and for the rest of the week I’ll be showing off some of my personal favorites.

These are Truckle, they are just the thing for when you want miles of stockinette, but also need just a little something to keep you engaged, and they’re 25% off on ravelry with the code SUMMER SCHOOL through the end of the day, eastern time, Friday July 10.

I knit these years ago when I had a terrible flu.  Well no, I didn’t knit thesethese ones in the pictures were knit just recently by an intrepid sample knitter extroirdinaire so I could take new photos and bring the pattern back out.  But I knit the first version while I had the flu and couldn’t be counted on to do anything more complicated than knit the knits, purl the purls, and keep the decreases in a line.  But somehow, despite being so simple I could manage them with a head full of cold medicine, I absolutely love the result.

Instead of having a stitch repeat like the other thick socks I’ve shown off this week, these socks have a decorated panel on the outside of your ankle while the rest of the sock is stockinette. This is a fun way to put socks together both because it gives the yarn room to shine, and because it lends itself well to working with thick yarn, as you can fine tune the stitch count pretty easily.  These come in four sizes (56, 64, 72, and 80 stitches around), but if one of those doesn’t work for you (though really, I strongly suspect one will), you can fiddle around (in increments of 4 stitches) to fine tune it even more!

Alrighty, so those were four of my favorite thick and cozy socks.  Next week we’ll talk about heels and toes and how to make them fit (and be extra cute while we’re at it).

Summer School, Thick and Cozy, Afshari

On Monday we talked a bit about yarn and gauge for thick socks, and for the rest of the week I’ll be showing off some of my personal favorites.

These are Afshari.  They have some truly delightful textured stitches on the cuff, and they’re 25% off on ravelry with the code SUMMER SCHOOL through the end of the day, eastern time, Thursday July 9.

Look, some folks really truly feel like there’s no point in putting the fancy bits on the part of the sock that hangs out in your shoe all day.  And some folks have very sensitive skin on their feet and prefer the smooth texture of plain stockinette.  And all that’s fine, as I said at the beginning, you are the boss of your socks.  But if you’re going to make the foot plain, do something grand on the ankle!

Once again, small stitch repeats mean lots of sizes.  This one is 6 stitches wide (that really seems to work well for socks for some reason), and the sock comes in 5 sizes (54, 60, 66, 72, or 78 stitches around).  These are from Silk Road Socks, and all the socks in that book are written at two gauges (8.5 stitches per inch and 7 stitches per inch), but you can always use the math from Monday’s post to tweak things a bit if you want to work at a different gauge.  Being comfortable doing that teeny tiny bit of math really does mean you can make socks work with the yarns you want to use and get the socks you want to wear!