As a kid, I always thought my mom was so funny when my dad left town. She would take on huge projects like rebuilding the deck or painting the ceiling in the living room (it's a cathedral ceiling, this is not an easy task).
Well, I did something similar the other weekend. I've lived with my boyfriend for a few months now and this was the first weekend where he was out of town and I was at the house. What did I do? Take on a bunch of projects and make a huge mess and then bust my butt trying to get everything done and cleaned up before he came home. Yep, I'm turning into my mom.
Now, some of these projects were pretty boring and un-blogworthy...painting storage shelves, organizing my books. But, one of them was not only fabric-y but also hilarious.
It started simply enough. I had a half-yard set of the blue colorway of Bari J's Splendor 1920. I had in my head a plan for using it that involved cutting the half-yards into fat quarters and then bleaching half of the fat quarters.
Bleaching fabric is a remarkably straightforward process. Technical term: discharging. You mix water and Clorox, add the fabric. You make a bath of Bleach Stop. You watch your fabric change and when it is changed to your liking, you take it out of the bleach and put it in the Bleach Stop. After 20 minutes of Bleach Stop soaking, you dump out your buckets, throw the fabric in the washer and you're done. No fuss, no muss.
Sounds easy. But sometimes the fabric doesn't change the way you expect. In this case, the fabric didn't change at all. Now, I have my guesses about this. They are as follows (1) I grabbed a bottle of Clorox from the laundry room. I didn't buy this Clorox. I don't know who did or when, but knowing my boyfriend, it may have been a very long time ago. Does bleach go bad? (2) Blue doesn't bleach easily. In a mixed-color print, it's not usual to see the reds drop out completely while the blue only lightens a little. I was expecting the fabric to need a long bath to get a slight change. Instead, I did a long bath and got no change. Maybe these are just really awesomely bleach-proof blues?
In any case, I had fabric that I wanted to alter and it hadn't altered, so I decided that I'd do the only logical thing: dye it instead.
Also logical: if you're going to be dyeing, you should make some batik to dye, too.
Super logical: set up the batik in the basement so you can catch up on The Voice while you stamp the wax on the fabric.
Next logical step: without pausing to clean up the batik kit, and only minimally cleaning up the dye baths, start boiling off wax in the kitchen. Also, while you're in there, make some banana bread.
See how that happened? 3 rooms full of craftastic mess. Made me laugh. And then clean like the wind. I'm usually the tidy one.
In the end, the house was cleaner when Jon came home than when he left and I was pretty pleased with my fabric. This picture shows the Splendor 1920 originals on the right and the overdyed prints on the left. Most were overdyed in shades of blue, but a one was in a bronze-colored dye.
Here they are with some fabrics pulled from the stash and some of the batik fabrics I made.
This isn't the way I'm going to use those HSTs, but I always get a kick out of looking at manipulated fabric next to the original.