Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tie Dye on the Highway

I'd like to tell you that this post is about a lovely sunset while driving down the highway,but it is not.  It is, however, about a dyeing experience I had yesterday morning.  I've been getting up earlier than usual and doing productive things before going to work like cutting fabric, sewing and laundering.  It's a new thing I've begun doing (getting out of bed earlier) because well, who doesn't like being productive?  Yesterday's morning project was dyeing.

Let me rewind and give you a brief view of my April (I'm making excuses for not blogging, obviously).  H. was sworn in at the U.S. Supreme Court, then his birthday was the same week (then a birthday party where we made 13.5 pounds of barbecue), and then I finished my white shirt I told you guys about (pictures later).  Oh, and I designed and sewed a skirt last week, which was really fun (pictures later).  I'm kind of obsessed with fabric-covered buttons right now (as evidenced by the buttons on the back of my white shirt I'm going to show later), so that's how I wanted the skirt to close in the back; the only problem was that I didn't leave the opening large enough, meaning that I must put the skirt on over my head to wear it.  How do mistakes help us?  They force us to learn and grow.  Moving on now.

I am making a brooch to sit atop my newly sewn and flawed white shirt.  The buttons I used on the shirt were covered with a lovely red floral print fabric, from which I cut pieces for my brooch.  The little flowers are slightly pink, so for the center of my brooch I wanted to use some slightly pink fabric.  This is what led me to dyeing.

I had some leftover white Swiss dot fabric from my shirt, so I cut a couple of swatches of it to dye.  Keep in mind that what I'm getting ready to describe happened in about 15 minutes and that I have no experience with dyeing other than with tea.  I filled a bowl with Ocean Spray 100%, no sugar added, cranberry juice, put two little pieces of fabric in the bowl and stirred.  I vaguely remembered reading somewhere that adding vinegar during one of the dyeing steps helps to set the color, so I added a little bit of vinegar (no measuring involved).  Once the color was a tidbit darker than I wanted it, I took the fabric pieces out of the cranberry juice and rinsed them with water.  

My concern with using the Ocean Spray juice to dye the fabric was that I wanted to make sure to get any sugar from the juice rinsed out of the fabric.  What happened next still puzzles me, in a, I-haven't-really-looked-into-the-situation-any-further, kind of way:  I put a dab of Arm & Hammer's perfume-and-dye-free laundry detergent on the fabric pieces and ran them under some cold water.  I don't remember the exact moment at which this happened, but when I put the detergent on the fabric and ran it under cold water, both pieces of fabric turned a gross, greenish gray, snot color!  I needed to leave for work in less than five minutes, so I was a little peeved about the unexpected color change; therefore, I rinsed the green color out of the fabric, dipped it in more cranberry juice for about one minute and then rinsed it off with water.  I thought, to heck with getting the sugar out, then I hung it up to dry.  When I got home, I was able to use the fabric for the center of my new brooch, and it was the perfect color, yay!  Feel free to laugh at my amateur dyeing, but it got the job done in the long run.  And the project was for me, which is different than if I would have been selling the thing.  As with the many things in life, it's about the journey, not the arrival, yeah?