What have I been up to? It feels like, "not much!" I'm sick at the moment with a hefty cold and sinus infection, so I've been going sort of crazy the past few days with so little activity. I can't wait until I'm better and can get back to dancing! Until then, I figured I'd update this with a snapshot of some cool ties (See "The Ships Project" link to the left for details and patterns).
These cool ties are in various stages of development. The black ones with tiny white stars to the front are finished, and the very front two have been hydrated. That's how they look when they're soaked in water. The next few are "sleeves," waiting to be ironed and filled with watersorb crystals. The next few are cut out, waiting to be sewn into tubes. Past those are more yards of fabric, waiting to get cut out.
The one thing none of the patterns tell me is how full they're supposed to be! "Overfull" is when the gel is seeping out the fabric, I get that. But there are a lot of phases of full before you get that far! I tried a few different ways, and I found that I personally don't care for the round, sausage-like fullness. It seems to me that such roundness doesn't provide as much surface contact with the skin, and thus would not be making the skin as cool. So I tried some half as full, using only a half a teaspoon of watersorb (the patterns all call for 1-3, so this is why I'm thinking I'm wrong) and it gave me a nice, plump, cool tie; not flat, but not a sausage, either.
I ended up compromising. I made all those black ones with little stars full, using one teaspoon, and all the rest with only half a teaspoon. I also made some cool ties twice as thick, for neckerchiefs, and those I DID fill with one teaspoon.
All of the ones I've made so far, including the ones in the picture, have been sent to sailors over in the Persian Gulf. Apparently temperatures on deck are well over 100 degrees, so I'm hoping these will help a little bit, and show them how much they are appreciated. God bless our troops!