Birdsong Bows: To dye is to live

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

To dye is to live

The secret is out: I've wanted to dye fabrics and/or yarns for about 10 years now. It's not such a big secret to my husband: I've quietly been buying a dyeing book here or there, and have talked about where I would dye when I had the time and opportunity. Really, it's about having children old enough to either (a) want to stay out of the way or (b) want to help, and (c) know where they're at in 3-dimensional space, because, let's face it, it wouldn't be fun to have one of the girls run into the dye pot!
Now that the girls are 6 and 11, and I've deemed our 1970s-vintage kitchen old enough to not be overly concerned about ruining anything (the harvest gold counters? really? The "new" floor that's now 16 years old?), I decided that it's time!
Since I've also been on a mission to design the perfect T-shirt patterns, I used the opportunity to dye three shirts that I've sewn for the girls. And because I really needed a new pair of yoga pants, I threw in a pair of those that I sewed, as well. I sewed the T-shirts out of high-quality organic baby cotton with a touch of spandex, and the yoga pants out of a thicker organic cotton, also with touch of spandex for good recovery. I figured the touch of spandex wouldn't affect they ability of the cotton to dye well.
One of my daughters loves sewing but wants nothing to do with dyeing. My other daughter wanted to dye but wants nothing to do with sewing. This is probably perfect, since they won't argue over either the sewing machines or the dye pots!
I decided to dye straight colors this time; nothing fancy, and chose pre-mixed dye rather than mixing myself for the first few run-throughs. Later I'll get a notebook going to record my own mixes. For instant gratification, however, I love the selection of pre-mixed Procion dyes at Dharma Trading Company!
The process took up a Saturday afternoon, and was such fun! My younger daughter enjoyed her shirt dyed with "Flamingo Flame" (she's holding another shirt that has a sewing mistake and wasn't really the right design for her. We dyed it with "Amethyst" just to see the color. I will use Amethyst for a pair of yoga pants later).
I'm very happy with my yoga pants! I plan to make another with a slightly trimmer flare - these fit well but are a little wider than I'd like, from lower-thigh down:
And when my older daughter, who didn't want to help, saw her shirt dyed with "Parakeet," she actually said she loved the color and thanked me. That's a treat to hear from an 11-year-old! I think there will be more "parakeet" in her future. Her shirt needs to be re-drafted with a wider shoulder, because this turned out a tad narrow for her even though she says it's comfortable.
What a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon! I'm already cutting some more shirts and pants for Round 2. :)



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home