Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dyeing for New Clothes

I have been haunting the local thrift shops for new items that match the dress code at work. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a huge selection of dark blue shirts and/or brown/khaki pants. At least not when I got there.

I had purchased a few blue shirts and some khaki pants in California 'just in case', and I've been able to find a few more, but my goal is to have enough of everything that I don't have to do laundry in the middle of the week. I'm getting closer to that goal, but have not reached it yet.

This isn't out of any laziness; it's just practical expediency. Since I don't have laundry facilities and can only do laundry twice a week, it doesn't take a "rocket surgeon" to figure out that if something went wrong (say a really, REALLY bad blizzard) to disrupt my opportunities, I might run out prematurely.

Of course a number of the things I've gotten need some altering to fit me, and the tailer fairy hasn't gotten them done yet. There's some sort of high-pitched tailer fairy whining about "moving", "unpacking", "Grandpa", "more to do than I can possibly get done, and you want me to SEW. But that's just how tailer fairies are... temperamental.

In light of all these facts, I was driven to a desperate choice. For the first time in my life, I was going to dye. It was actually quite fun, dying. The puns where hilarious, particularly since I dyed late on a Saturday night, and everything is hilarious when you're tired.

For those of you who like me have led a sheltered existence, where dyeing was merely mentioned and not something you personally experienced, I decided to blog about it. It turned out to be surprisingly easy, and I have already dyed again since then.

The first thing you do to dye is read, read, and reread the directions. You have two techniques to choose from. The washer method and the sink method. The sink method involves someone stirring the clothes non-stop for a half an hour, and since no children could be persuaded that sounded like fun, I went with the washer method.

The tools of the trade are a bottle of dye, a cup of salt to help the dye 'take' better, and some kind of metal stirring device. Stirring with your hands is not recommended unless you are going as a character from Avatar on Halloween. I've never done Halloween, so there was no need for me to experiment.
The next step is to fill the washer with water, and while it is filling, you thoroughly wet the clothes so the dye will soak into them at an equal rate.

After the clothes are wet and ready to go in, you pour in the dye and the salt, making sure to dissolve and mix things well. In case you are wondering why the water is yellow before I add anything, that is the natural color of the local rust. We don't have many white clothes around these least we don't for long!Then it is time to add the clothes. They are supposed to agitate for 30 minutes. You will have to reset the agitation cycle on your washer to make it long enough, but you will have your own personal agitation cycle upon finding out you missed the right moment and all of your dye has gone down the drain after about 5 minutes.
I quickly filled it up with water, hoping there was still enough dye on the clothes to do some good, and indeed, it seems there was. After agitating long enough, rinsing, doing a normal wash cycle with detergent, and being dried, there was a noticeable difference in the colors of at least some of them. And the others aren't ruined, so I count my first dyeing experience a reasonable success.

I don't know why my 'before' picture insists on being sideways, but it does.

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