working on ben’s krampus mask

a couple of ideas have kept rising to the top of the pile in relation to at least one mask i want to make:

— using kombucha mother to form masks, and possibly knit with

— using knitted swatches to create a “knitted maché” material

those are big ideas and they are enough to get started with.

here we have homegrown kombucha mother, made in my basement. i filled a laundry tub with tea and sugar and purchased a mother from a local farm.

never having prepared a kombucha mother to be knitted before, i knew there would be some trial and error. i waited a good three weeks to pull this one out of the tub and it was very thin. i had wanted it to be thicker but it was already getting some opportunistic growth on it — blue fuzz — so i figured it was now or never.

there was no way to get a continuous strip of the stuff cut. anywhere i cut, it was prone to tear. so i ended up with many short uniform strips which curled on themselves to create some bulk.

knitting with kombucha mother was slippery, a little sticky… but smelled nice, if you like fermented things. i knit some up almost right away — i couldn’t stand not to. but, as i suspected, knitting made it dry unevenly and by the next day it was all mooshy on the inside and i had no way how i would ever get it completely dry. ick.

i had still saved some of the strips, which were now utterly flat and in some cases stuck to the metal sheet i on which i had left them. they were more pleasant to knit and had an actual spun-sugar gloss, although there was also something about the whole look and feel that said “dog toy”. no photos really did this part justice, so i skipped providing one here.

my first mother taught me — thicker mother, wider strips, drier when knitting. another mother is in the works.

onto knitted maché.

ben was not all that happy to see me coming at him with the shiny sheets of metal mesh. i had told him that he would get to lay down for this part of the project, which he liked, but it was not all that relaxing for him in the long run.

the wire mesh will not be part of the finished mask, but is a surface upon which i can lay the knitted maché and get it shaped — and dry. with the mesh, we have more or less ensured ben a mask that fits, and through which he can see and breathe.