Today is a good day to dye….

At last!  Mr Beloved and I have been planning this for a couple of weeks now but the weather (and our energy levels!) have been working against us.  Today I managed to get out of bed at a reasonable hour (read: before 10 am!) and we got started:

Getting the dyes mixed....

As you can see, we don’t dye in any sort of precise way – not like the professionals who get results they can predict!  I roughly follow the directions from the dye manufacturer (actually, I can’t remember whose dyes these are – I bought them about 6 years ago, almost certainly from KraftKolour  – the dye powder lasts for ages if you keep it in a dry and dark place) combined with information from the dyeing section of  Robbi Joy Eklow‘s book “Free Expression: The Art and Confessions of a Contemporary Quilter“.

Twisted, tucked, turned...

Here are some of Mr Beloved’s shirts, ready for the dye – he’s tried a few different patterns of resists with rubber bands and string.  Should be interesting!  We need BIG sizes of plain white t shirts with no printing on them – and it’s actually quite difficult to find them.  Whenever we see some at Lowes we grab them.  I’m not a huge fan of the pocket or the high neckline so I might modify mine….

One of Mr Beloved's shirts, dyed

Mr B likes white spaces on his shirts.

My shirts

I like LOTS of colour and not much white.

The shirts are now baking in plastic bags – they need at least 4 hours –  it’s a really good sunny day (currently 26 C) so the chemical reaction should be working beautifully.  These are fibre reactive dyes which bond with the soda ash soaked shirts, and the dyes last FOREVER.   Unfortunately that also means when you have the inevitable leak in your cheap disposable glove and dye your fingers and hands, you have to wait for the dye to WEAR off – it doesn’t wash off!

We have mixed dyes left over so I think we’ll try and find some more shirts this week.

Once the shirts have “batched” (cooked in their plastic bags in the sun) they will be untied and rinsed, then washed to remove excess dye – and with these dyes, there’s always lots of unbonded dye to wash away – that’s just how they are.  We’re supposed to get storms tomorrow so I’m not optimistic about getting them washed and dried in a hurry… but when they are I’ll post photos of the end results.

Must go and shower – the dyeing was a sweaty business – even the poor dog was feeling the heat!

Hot Dog!

(yes, our terribly baked brown yard is NOT attractive… we have bugger all topsoil after the flood, so it’s hard to get anything but weeds to grow…)

I have an appointment to get my hair cut this arvo (just a trim,nothing exciting!)  then tomorrow I’m in group therapy at the hospital from 9 til 2.  Yikes!  I’m a bit nervous about that.  At least they feed you (morning tea and lunch) but still…