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I really love being able to dye my own yarn. It’s easy, fast and cheap, all of which are important for someone who doesn’t have a car or a yarn store within walking distance.

Last Saturday night I finally struck upon a brilliant idea for my brother’s birthday present. I’ve already made the kid three hats, mittens and a scarf, so what more could he need? Some kind of accessory? Gah! And then, like light shining from above, it occurred to me.

A Companion Cube.

Here’s the first finished panel. Bonkers reminds me that he is my companion cat.

In short, it’s a tool in the computer game Portal, which, if you’ve never heard of it before, is totally worth looking up just for the mind-bending game physics. A quick search online turned up a chart to knit your own cube. Easy enough to crochet from. I haven’t done any color work before, but I was looking for a new challenging project, right? After six squares I ought to have color changes down, right?

I had copious amounts of light and dark grey yarn, but no pink. So, at 10pm, I sprang into action! Skeined some of that light cream recycled wool and tossed it in a pot with one pack of red koolaid. A little bit later, impatient, I hung the yarn out on the porch to dry, dripping slightly fruity water down three floors to the ground. By morning, it was mostly dry. At noon, on the way to get lunch with my brother and Gene’s parents, I was rolling it into a ball in the car when Gene convinced me to take this photo:

Yes, it’s really really pink.

And oh the fun I had at lunch, showing off the pink yarn to my brother, telling him all about how it’s an integral part of his birthday present. How there’s no way I could use any other color and have it come out right. He’s so totally confused. I love it. Seriously, the best part about giving presents is the misdirection beforehand.