Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tie-Dye Playdate Progress Report

If I was less tired and thinking more clearly, I would have photographed the tie-dye playdate. We tried shibori, batik, dyeing in plastic baggies/bins and the paint or squirt on type of tie-dye. I sent the 4 other participants home with their bags, bins and a small amount of synthropol.

Let's look at a picture of a thrift store shirt, tied to a piece of PVC pipe. I took the picture last month, when I was trying to discharge (remove) color using gel dishwasher detergent. Some fabrics are receptive to this treatment and bleach almost white.

This shirt obviously is not one of them. The color barely changed, even after two hours.

Iris used up all the toothpicks in the house and a great deal of tape. I couldn't get mad at her because this really was very cute and creative.

Today, I tied up the shirt again, poured soda ash solution over it, and then painted dye stock solution on top of that.

Here is the shirt lounging in the sun with some friends. Starting from the left, the bins are golden yellow, orchid, and peacock blue Procion MX fiber reactive dyes from Dharma.

You can find my basic soda ash and dye stock solution recipes in More Dyeing Adventures. The shibori shirt tying technique is illustrated in Dye Workshop.

I wound some plastic wrap around the shirt to keep it moist while it basks in the sun.

Blue and black are the most difficult to get nice and dark. You must use a great deal of dye. Time, heat and salt can also help.

I will wash and dry them tonight. Stay posted for the results.

Why is the grass so green during a drought?
That's not real grass. It is a synthetic outdoor carpet called EasyTurf. I read about it in the newspaper and clipped the article. I filled out an electronic quote request form on the EasyTurf website. A day later, the local franchise operator (YourTurf) called to schedule an appointment to measure my yard. There were a few glitches because of new staff that needed more training. But, in the end, we are happy with the result and the service.

No watering, chemicals, pollen, slugs or snails. A few weeds come up at the seams between the pieces of turf and at the edges of the step stones. Weeding is so much easier now; we spend ~3% as much time as before. Plus, it is permeable and so cushy underfoot. The "grass blades" are held upright by a blend of sand and pellets made out of leftover rubber after athletic shoe soles are stamped out.


  1. Anonymous21:01

    Turf question: What does it feel like when it's 100 degrees or more outside? Since it's a synthetic material, doesn't it get hot in the sun? Does it feel hot underfoot, or give off heat? Does it hold heat at night?

  2. I don't know what it feels like when it is 100 degrees out because I live by the beach. It doesn't get very hot here.

    The climatology for my hometown can be found at

    Keep in mind that the temperature gradient between the coast and inland is very steep. I think the temperatures in the chart are more extreme than in my backyard.

    Despite the Beach Boys' songs (and they grew up 3 miles NE of here), we don't get very much sun. Most mornings are foggy; the sun breaks through the marine layer around 10-11 AM. The land-sea breeze kicks in ~2 PM. I am not home between 10 and 2, unless I am sick. In that event, I rarely go outside.

    I have read others' complain about the heat on the artificial turf. The black pellets probably absorb a great deal of heat. OTOH, the white sand mixed 50/50 with the rubber pellets reflects sunlight, tempering the effect.

    In the evenings, Iris likes to lie on the EasyTurf. I have lain beside her occasionally and I don't feel much heat. OTOH, when we had groundcover, the ground was positively cold and we wouldn't have wanted to lay on that.

    We do notice a reduction in snails and slugs. We surmise that the EasyTurf is too warm for them.



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