Six years ago I bravely entered the world of Tye Dyeing, not knowing what I was getting into, but figuring, “How hard can it be?” I learned that it’s not hard, exactly, but it is…what shall I say… time-consuming, trickier than expected (if you want to get it perfect), and, to be honest, far more full of finesse than I ever would have guessed.
We enjoyed the results of our labor that day, and love seeing the photo we took of our wee baby in her “Hippie Duds”.
The biggest thing I retained from that original experience was remembering how much my fingers hurt from removing the rubberbands one at a time. (This year I got wise and CUT them off…good grief, why didn’t I think of that before?!) My kids tell me that we tye dyed one other time, but I have, apparently, blocked that moment from my life.
Well, this year I thought I could face the process again. So, when we finally got a warm and dry day here in SW Minnesota last week, we pulled out the tye dye kit we’d bought, found all the white clothes we could get our hands on, and set to work, plastic gloves firmly in place – alongside huge amounts of optimism.
You may be wondering how a person can go wrong when tye dyeing? Well, in a way, you can’t. But if you want your t-shirt to turn out like something bought at Woodstock in the 60’s, there are tricks and cautions and rules that you need to obey – the “rulelessness” of Woodstock notwithstanding.
Rule One: Yellow + Blue = Green; Pink + Blue = Purple; but Pink + Yellow = Mud.
Rule Two: To make a “Vibrant Sunburst” you must twist excessively and tie tightly and, to make it really stand out, leave the area around it WHITE. White is your friend in tye dyeing. I forgot this rule.
Rule Three: There are no experiments in tye dyeing. What goes on the fabric stays on the fabric. Perhaps you’d be wise to buy two kits and use lots of flour sacking towels to experiment on. I’m totally doing that next summer.
Rule Four: When they say that you have to “rinse the garment until it rinses clear” they are optimistic beyond belief and if you try to do this you will lose your mind. Know this in advance and know that the washing machine setting of “rinse and spin only” is your friend.
I’m afraid that I depleted our well in our tye dyeing extravaganza. I’m afraid that I turned my daughter’s arm permanently pink to the point where she looks like a burn victim. Or as if she’s been mashing blackberries with her bare hands. I’m also afraid that my husband will never wear the shirt we so carefully dyed for him…at lest in public.
But, all in all, I’m afraid that I love tye dyeing. My husband is right: I’m a hippie at heart. Albeit a non-druggie one who never listens to Jimi Hendrix. I do eat nuts and berries, though. That’s about as wild as I get. But watch out, world, if I start eating nuts and berries while wearing my tye dye. Who knows what crazy things might happen then?