November 6th, 2006

trees over Jet

A Capable Child

It's interesting to see just how much Jet can do now.

On Friday, the two of us were putzing about the house, playing video games and eating cinnamon rolls and watching a little TV when I was struck with pure ambition. John was going to be back home around 1 and we were going to go out and see Flushed Away (which is quite a lot of Aardman fun, by the good way), so if we were going to do something it had to be before that.

So I got out just four ounces of medium, white Corridale (a soft wool that isn't super fine nor super dense or hairy for those not into technical fiberese), and soaked it in a bucket of soapy water. Then, I got out the breathing masks and the latex gloves, and Jet cheerfully put his on, while I poured 8 ounces of boiling water over .5 ounces of Jaquard "Turquoise" and stirred and stirred well past when Jet was bored and I got bored. Then I capped that, put it on the old wooden table on our back porch, and got out a pile of newspaper, which Jet very, very carefully, laid out to cover the whole surface.

I then laid out and taped down two lengths of plastic, and we laid the wet wool on it. Then I mixed some powdered dye with some hot water and poured it into a squirt bottle and Jet painted the wool with, mostly, colors he picked.

His favorite color is turquoise, which is why the special effort. He also likes blue, pink, green (light and dark), and purple... but I said that the pink and any of the blues would make purple, so may we leave that out? We started with a Gaywool cornflower blue, which is a very nice, light blue, and he dutifully tried to fill a whole area with it between two rather jagged blue lines, but when I asked him to fill in the verticals, he did what he could. I then mixed a bit of "raspberry" and he loved the "magenta" and poured it on diligently, but complained about there not being enough Mom!

But I then mixed the turquoise, which turned out MUCH thicker than the others. Oops. Still, he happily covered a whole couple of sections with that, and by the time we got to the dark green, Jet said, "We ran out of wool. Can you get more, Mom?"

"Uhm... no, Jet, I... uhm... I don't have any more. Yeah. And there's just this little bit of dye left. How about you just fill in the white bits left?"

"Moooooommmm... you have three whole BAGS of white wool in the living room."

"I know, Jet, I just don't want to use 'em yet." Honesty is best policy, right?

"Oh. Okay, Mom."

This whole time Jet was wearing his mask and gloves and didn't complain about them at all and he even reminded me to put mine on whenever I dealt with the powders. I was very impressed. I think that a story I told about an LJ article titled "I'm SO Dead!" in the handspinning community about a girl that breathed in the powders made an impression on him and it stuck. So he was very safety conscious about the whole process. I know adults that wouldn't live with that in order to create. He did that all for over an hour in his pajamas out on a not-that-warm porch.

I rolled up the roll of wool and dye, added another layer of plastic, and dumped into my "for dyeing only" steamer, and let it cook for an hour.

The results were very ocean, mostly green and turquoise with patches of pink and sky blue.... I'll have to put a picture up when I'm home. And there's a whole quarter pound of it, so I can easily make Jet socks and a hat and mittens or something. Or add to it to make him a sweater if he really wants that.

It's not something I'll recommend for other moms to do with their kids, as the dye stuffs *are* irritatingly toxic. But we had a great time doing it. I might set up two, next time and let him really do his on his own without me nagging him a little about where to put the colors. And then I'll just do my own, too. *grin* The Jaquard, for all that it was more of a bother to mix, turned out just gorgeous, and I'd bought the 'beginners' kit from KnitPicks, so I pretty much have every color I need to mix any color I can dream up.

Now, if only I can figure out which is the "warm" and which is the "cool" red or blue? :-)