I’m sure you’re aware that not every project I attempt turns out well, but who would write a blog post about it? Well, as the last huge snow pile melts away at the end of our driveway
I made the decision to share one last winter story. You may ask “why would I want to share the story of a project gone wrong?” Perhaps for the lessons learned, how I turned it around, or simply because it’s nice to know we all have flops 😄. So here goes.
Over the years I have become passionate about bamboo socks, especially those hand-dyed by Wendy Richardson. I would purchase a few pairs every time I visited her booth at a quilt show.
Since I’m allergic to wool, these very warm/soft alternatives have gotten me through many winters. I love them so much that many pairs are wearing out in both the heel and ball of the foot. Because of the pandemic there are no shows to buy more (Wendy doesn’t sell them on her website).
So, during the midst of our very snowy winter I decided to dye socks. I’ve taken some classes and I love the effect of dyeing. My favorite was a class on ice dyeing Laura and I took with Cindy Lohbeck in Paducah a few years ago (click here to read that post).
Those results were great, but I usually don’t fare as well on my own and I’ve been known to say that I’d rather support those who are good at dyeing than to dye it myself. I should have stuck with that statement. But…
I found prepared for dyeing bamboo socks online and decided it was worth a try. I tend to wear blue and black jeans most often, so I decided to use those colors and make it simple. Since I didn’t plan on doing a lot of dyeing, I took the easy way out and bought Rit dye, etc. at my local JoAnns (all of you hand-dyers out there have my permission to stop reading at this point). I mixed it up and put it into squirty type bottles I found around the house.
I then set up the bin according to Cindy’s directions, soaked the socks and manipulated them for fun effects across the mesh. I even diagramed the different manipulations for future reference.
It was then time to brave the cold and I invited Frosty to help. I have found I prefer the results of dyeing with ice, but the snow was so plentiful I couldn’t resist it.
I sprinkled on a good covering of snow, squirted on the dye, and put the bin in the shed to do it’s magic. When I checked an hour later the temperature in the barn wasn’t warm enough to melt the snow or let the dye through. I was still hopeful things would work and brought it in the house for some melting time.
I was extremely disappointed when I scooped off the last of the snow a few hours later only to discover the socks were HIDEOUSLY UGLY! Barely any denim or black had reached the socks, but there were awful purply “veins” here and there over a pale gray dinginess. I couldn’t even force myself to take a photo – because I knew this would never make my blog 🤣.
Instead I went back to the store, got some more dye and overdyed them in denim blue and black. I love them!
Looking back I can see where I erred. The snow layer was too thick. The whole thing needed to be placed somewhere warm right away so the dye could melt through quickly. The snow/dye should have been removed sooner because everything got very diluted. And I’m sure there are many more. I’m really hopeful the quilt shows will return, Wendy will have socks for sale once again, and I can support a very talented artist while getting the beautiful socks I love. Until then – solid is good enough. I’m grateful for a happy ending!
I think it’s always nice to know that other people have flops too. Any of you have a story to share???
And one last thought. The photograph at the top of this post is of the cuffs of all the socks I’ve worn out. They were so pretty I just couldn’t throw them away, so I cut them off and piled them on the counter hoping inspiration would strike. I’m coming up with bupkis so far. Any thoughts???