Posted by: Leslie | August 16, 2010

The many uses of silica crystals

I wanted to enter a skein at Taos this year, specifically the second skein of Jacob wool that didn’t turn out quite the same as the first.


The two skeins, with the slightly finer-spun one in front.

I was quite excited to get my skein all ready to go, but then I saw the weight was about 2.25 oz. This is a problem, as the competition limit is 1.5-2 oz. I could always cut the skein, but that might affect its consistent stripes.

Then I remembered that wool can absorb a good deal of its own weight in moisture from the air before feeling damp. I’ve read anywhere from 20%-40%, but haven’t seen a real scientific reference for any figure I’ve seen quoted. However, the difference in humidity between dreadfully muggy eastern Ontario and arid northern New Mexico might be enough to drop the weight of the skein below the 2 oz. limit once it arrives. Just in case, though, I’ve decided to see how much weight it loses in the presence of a desiccant.

Silica crystals are what’s in those little DO NOT EAT packets in shoeboxes and vitamin jars. They can also be used for drying flowers, keeping moisture from ruining gunpowder or underwater camera housing, and even as kitty litter. I spread a layer in the bottom of a tupperware container:

I threw a paper towel on top to keep the crystals from sticking to the yarn and sealed it up. I’ll check the weight again in a few days and see if it made any difference:

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Responses

  1. Brilliant! I’m looking forward to the report of your findings.

  2. hehe fantastic idea! nice looking yarn too:)

  3. […] a week since I decided to test how much moisture could be pulled out of a skein of yarn by sealing it up with desiccant. Today I pulled out the skein and weighed it, and it was right at 2 oz. Remember, it started at […]


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