Friday, February 27, 2009

Results of an Experiment

More than a year ago, I got into a discussion of whether giving a dishcloth a vinegar bath helped. So, I decided to experiment. I gave the upper right hand corner a bath in hot water with baking soda (a base) and the lower left hand corner a bath in hot water with vinegar (an acid). The diagonal from the upper left hand corner to the lower right hand corner did not get a bath. Here is a pic of the cloth just after blocking. It has faded a lot since then and stretched out a lot sideways.

Bases are used to set the dye for plant-based fibers. Acids are used to set the dye for animal-based fibers. And, of course, cotton is a plant-based fiber. However, a lot of people use vinegar baths for dishcloths. (I found out just recently that some people use a salt water bath.)

Then I waited a while before using the cloth so I would forget which corner was which (to make the experiment double blind).

Well, there isn't much difference in the two corners. To me, it looks as though the vinegar corner held its color a bit better, but not much.

However, I've come to another conclusion. Giving a dishcloth a hot water bath helps. This dishcloth is the hardest one I have to keep clean. In fact, it's the only one with stains. -- And this picture is just after it was washed in the wash machine. It also seems to have stretched out sideways more than any other of my dishcloths.

So, I don't think it makes much of a difference whether ones gives a dishcloth a hot-water bath in vinegar, baking soda, or salt. The important part is giving the cloth a bath before use. I'll continue to give my dishcloths a hot-water vinegar bath for the reasons that acids like vinegar, tea, and lemon juice are often used to rinse out soap and I like the smell (even of vinegar). I may try out a salt water bath, though.

Monday, February 23, 2009


For the last couple of weeks, I've been working at using up yarn.

The first bit of yarn that I used up was leftovers from a couple of my favorite socks -- due to Liz Lovick offering a Fair Isle tutorial in the EZasPi Yahoo! group. I made my first Fair Isle hat and only the second bit of Fair Isle knitting I'd ever done. I even added a couple of gate addresses (from Earth to Abydos and back) to the hat -- since the Ravelry StarGate group had been talking about charting glyphs. I'm going to redo the top of the hat some time since it's a little bit too pointed for my tastes. (I finished off the top before the part of the tutorial on hats.)

The biggest stash buster is the Hippo Birdies (MMario design) shawl I just finished. I used up all my KP Palette fawn yarn I had plus a skein of KP Palette nutmeg left over from Casablanca plus half a skein of KP Palette apricot yarn left over from Mystic Light. Then I finished the shawl off with some Zwerger Garn Opal Prisma sock yarn that I bought a couple of years ago and never used. The Opal yarn along the edge made the shawl by tying the colors together.

The next bit of yarn I used up is some cotton yarn left over from dishcloths -- to produce a Domino potholder. It's 2-sided and crocheted together.

Finally, DS2 found a Möbius pattern on line. So, I turned it into a cowl using some more leftover cotton yarn.

I've also been doing some test knitting. I'm using up some KP Shine Worsted snapdragon that I hadn't found the right pattern for until now by making a B'licious Tank for summer wear. I've also been test knitting socks -- and getting a lot of practice with short rows.