Preparing for a new (dye) adventure

School is nearly done.  Not just for the semester but indefinitely.  I am about to graduate and all I can think about is a summer of gardening, crafting and playing board games.  First up is a grand adventure to a gaming convention in my state.  Lots of people dress up in costumes, like any big geeky con, and this year’s theme is “Timetravel”.  It suits me well, because I really love steampunk and I think it will fit.

For last year’s early summer gaming convention, I started trying to cobble together a steampunk look,

but I was really pressed for time because I was taking a heavy load of summer classes.  I got a jacket finished, but it was under-embellished so it really just hinted at steampunk in a vague way.  I had some cool accessories, and I made some steampunk jewelry, but I felt underwhelmed by the look.  It lacked a lot in detail and cohesiveness.

Now this year, I’ll be done with classes in about a week, but they’ve also moved up the convention date.  So I will really be under the gun to craft in my spare time if I want four days of costumes that I will be happy with.  I suspect some compromises will be made as I get closer to travel time.  But for right now I’m feeling ambitious – I have five weeks, that’s an eternity right?  Oh wait, I do have a full-time job.

So today, I have a day off (I’ve been working a ton of Saturdays, so this isn’t vacation, just time they owed me).  I have an important paper to write to finish up ye olde semester for one of my classes, but in my usual crafting mania kind of way, I’m also taking time to dye up some stuff.  I’ll admit, that it isn’t helping me write my paper, nor is taking the time to tell you about it, dear reader.  But the paper will get done today, and much will be dyed, and all will be well…. Or I’m the queen of procrastination and senior-itis (can you get “senior”-itis as a grad student?).

So, what, you may ask, am I dyeing?

I got a bunch of lovely dye blanks (ie. All-white finished clothing articles made of dyeable fibers) from Dharma Trading, purveyors of many fine dyes, paints, and dyeables.  I also restocked some dye powders and paints for the coming projects.

Knowing that I wouldn’t have much time for sewing, I thought I’d do some dyeing and painting of blanks to speed up the process.  There are pieces I want to construct too, but those are in the “if time allows” category.

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Basket of washed and ready dye blanks

Of the blanks, there is one dress, two shirts, one skirt, and one piece that can either be a skirt or a short sundress.  All in simple cotton and totally dyeable.  Many of these pieces I intend to layer, and some I intend to embellish after dyeing with paints.  As a bonus, I’m also doing a base dye on couple of aprons for later tie-dyeing and embroidery (Mother’s day gifts).

So the plan is to do three color batches, Safari Grey, Plum Blossom, and Seafoam.  The end products will get other treatments later, but those are adventures for another day.  The tub dyeing process is the part that will take a day of baby-sitting the washing machine, and surely that will segue well with writing my paper.  Right?

Until next time, keep those dye-baths agitating…

PS.  Expect to see more regular posting starting in a few weeks.  I’ll be blogging again soon about the dye process I’m using today, dye safety, and the “next steps” on today’s blanks.  Also, I’m planning to expand the scope of this blog beyond knitting and fiber arts.  I do a lot of crafts and less categorizable DIY projects, and I’d like to share those too.  But I will also be writing about knitting, this blog was good motivation for me to finish Level I of the Master Knitter program, and I’m eager to move on to Level II later this year.

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