Saturday, February 22, 2014

bringing that darling sweater back to life!

I read an article the other day declaring the importance of play. 
For everyone. 
Adults included.

It got me thinking. When was the last time I sat down and did something (other than watching 4 episodes of McLeod's Daughter's in a row), simply because I wanted to? Truth was, I couldn't remember a specific time that hadn't been pre-planned, organized with friends, designated for creative juices and fun. 

The author of this article used the example of how when she watched her kids jump on the trampoline, she cringed at the fact that they weren't doing anything productive. Thankfully I don't have it nearly that bad, but I certainly find myself spinning my wheels trying to accomplish everything, only to find myself exhausted and spent.

Don't you worry! There is good news! We each have things that we do to unwind. Maybe it's working in the shop, maybe it's reading a great novel, maybe it's planning a trip or taking pictures. You might enjoy cooking or creating a new recipe. Going on a bike ride with no specific destination at all. These things have the ability to rejuvenate us and give us the attention we need to accomplish the important everyday tasks with a fresh, new perspective and whole-hearted zeal that we oftentimes lose sight of when we are in that place of spinning our wheels just to mark items off our check-list. 

Today was a great example of all this for me. I had every intention of PURGING MY CLOSET. I've been anticipating and even looking forward to this for WEEKS! (Anyone who knows me, realizes this is quite out of character for me.) Well... don't get too excited. I still haven't finished purging. There are a LOT of really cute things that might come in handy somewhere down the line! 

I made my way through my comfy things and yoga clothes. I started going through my hanging apparel and came to an abrupt halt when I found one of my very favorite sweaters from a trip to Florida a few years ago. It's a darling top. I really, truly love it. 

But it's started becoming discolored. (I've had this problem with other white and off-white tops - any suggestions for prevention in the future?) I also found some old t-shirts I plan to make some baby gifts with. All these ideas floating around in my head reminded me of the Rit dye I'd picked up a while back to make some baby gifts for a friend. I had leftovers and decided I just had to try it... don't be too surprised when I tell you I didn't get around to the project the first time around. 

Originally, I was just planning on dying some onesies and socks since it's so difficult to find cute simple baby clothes. (Sorry, just not a huge fan of the fluffy little Noah's Ark characters, baby Disney, and such.) By dying these items bright colors and picking up a pair of jeans, friends babies can carry out me and Momma Carole's tradition of the Garanimals wardrobe. (Admit it, whoever came up with creating the same thing in a whole array of colors was genius. Hello stress free dressing!)

Okay, so... first time! Let's hope my luck kicks in -- I know this can get pretty messy! 

Got my dye all ready to go...
Ready to see how the onesies and socks I purchases way back when can handle this exciting adventure.
My darling sweater! Isn't it so pretty?? All peasanty, feminine, and beautiful?!

First things first: wet your fabrics. This ensures even distribution and absorbtion of the dye once immersed for it's long sit in said dye.

Secondly, you'll draw a HOT bath of water for your dye and fabrics to set in for the next few hours.  

Just a large bowl of HOT water. Some are able to do this in their sink... I wasn't even going to attempt it. There's no way I want to dye the white sinks in this rental just months before moving out! No, thank you!

Take your dye and pour it into the water. You can add as little or as much as you'd like. 

I read that it's common to use just half the bottle, but I didn't want to mess around with possibly having pink items... so I added the whole thing.
Make sure to mix your water and dye as well as you can to avoid splotchy coloring.

Let your fabric sit for AT LEAST one hour (unless you're going for pastel). I kept mine in for about 2 1/2.

Every15-20 minutes, stir and squish your fabrics in attempts to end up with even coloring.

It didn't take me long to realize my mixing spoon wouldn't be quite enough for this project -- I broke out the cleaning gloves and used my muscles to work that dye in!
After letting the dye sit however long you choose (anywhere from 1-5 hours should be good!), pour your dye and water down the drain and rinse your fabric before throwing them in the laundry 

Wash them on the smallest setting possible. I used hot water and threw in about a cup of vinegar in hopes it would help the dye to set.

Yikes! Hoping that comes out with a good rinse!
The wash and dry session is, by far, the worst part of the anticipation... we're so close!

I love how they turned out! I'm really glad I went with the whole bottle of dye... I think if anything, I would have wanted them a bit darker, but look at how bright they are! As you can see, when you use store-bought onesies, the stitching doesn't dye for a neat touch of a contrasting stitch. 

P.S. No such luck with the extra rinse, there's a pink tint lingering in the washer... hopefully it doesn't stain all the white bedding I'm washing... :-/