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Tie dye...

I could write a book about tie dye, having been in the business for a number  of years and turning uncounted pieces of white cotton clothing, sheets, and other wearable objects into pieces of rainbow colored art. My hands were always dye stained in those days. We used procion mx dyes which are very colorfast no matter what you get it on. The most exciting moment was when it was time to unwrap the dyed pieces which had been left to set overnight. Sometimes we would try a new design that might turn out entirely different from what we had intended. The skulls were a good example of that. Oh how we laughed at how odd they were, never did get one done that we really liked, but my daughter became an expert at peace signs and I was good at hearts.

It's not a simple process. First everything must be washed to remove sizing, then soaked in an alkaline mix that makes the fabric grab the dye, then wrung out to be as dry as possible. Next tied in a variety of ways and finally dye applied using squirt bottles. Set overnight, rinsed, then washed again in very hot water. We worked hard, keeping an inventory of 200 pieces and traveling to arts and crafts shows nearly every weekend. It was a successful business and when my hands got too old to do all that squeezing my daughter took over and ran the business for a while.

In time we all got tired of it, doing the same designs over and over felt like factory work and my daughter got a real job and a baby. I still have a few of my favorite pieces and I still wear them. There's nothing like tie dye to brighten up your day.

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