Saturday, November 12, 2005

We're groovin', man....

Every holiday season at The Store, the employees are allowed to eschew their normal uniforms in favor of holiday-themed shirts and the like. Longtime readers may recall that last year, I had trouble finding holiday-print shirts in the stores for men that didn't involve slogans like "Hey little girl, come sit on Santa's lap!" or pictures of Homer Simpson dressed in a Santa suit and ogling a stack of Duff Beer cans arranged in a Christmas tree shape. Thus, last year I had to improvise: I layered green and red shirts, wore a green set of Mardi Gras beads (these, of course, prompting everyone in The Store to inquire as to whether I'd earned the beads in the traditional Mardi Gras manner, which I most definitely had not), and decorated my nametag with those really tiny gift-bows. It all worked pretty well.

I also, however, got a bit crafty: I bought a plain blue sweatshirt and a plain red t-shirt, on which I used fabric paints to create designs that indulged my geek side. One read "Merry Christmas" and the other "May the New Year be blessed", but I wrote the former using Dwarvish runes from The Lord of the Rings and the other I wrote in Elvish. Quite the conversation pieces, those shirts were. I'm looking forward to wearing them again.

And for this year, I've attempted tie-dying. This is something I haven't done in quite a few years -- not since my freshman year of college, in fact, when the members of the Pep Band decided to do a hippie-themed float for the homecoming parade. I tie-dyed an entire sweatsuit, which was pretty cool, although I recall that our tie-dying procedures weren't quite what I read about when I researched tie-dying online. I'm pretty sure we didn't pre-soak our garments in soda ash to make the dyes bond better; I'm pretty sure that rather than apply the dyes carefully with squeeze bottles we dunked the garments whole into buckets of dyed water; and I'm absolutely certain that we didn't allow the garments to sit undisturbed for more than 24 hours before washing and wearing. Thus, my initially-vibrant sweatsuit had faded to this bland lavender color within two or three years. That was a bummer.

But anyway, I spent a couple of hours this evening tie-dying stuff: six items, to be precise. I did a sweatshirt, long-sleeved tee and regular tee for myself, t-shirts for The Wife and The Daughter, and a turtlenecked onesie for Little Quinn. For my own shirts, I concentrated on red and green, but for The Daughter and Little Quinn I went multi-color. (And it frankly would have saved me a few headaches if the instructions on the box had mentioned that if you dye one spot blue and then put yellow dye on top of it, you get green. I didn't know this. What can I say? I'm a rank beginner. I didn't discover this until halfway through the project, after I'd already used a bit of Dark Green dye from another brand that I'm hoping lightens a bit in the washing phase of the project, since right now those portions of the shirts on which I used that dye look almost black.)

Anyway, if things turned out OK, I'll put some photos of the shirts up when they're totally done. Right now they're sealed in individual gallon-size Ziploc bags, thus allowing the dye to bond with the fabric. Tomorrow comes rinsing and washing and hang-drying, followed by more washing on Monday. Then we'll know. Or not.

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