Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Dip Dip

I am an "idea person". There are usually several things running around on my little hamster wheel at any given time. Quite some time ago I had the idea that I would like very much to make the Alexander McQueen jacket offered on the showstudio site in a crisp but heavy silk done in arashi shibori with indigo and black walnut or some type of tannin-producing dye in order to create a subtle vertical striation on the jacket. The other day I remembered that I had planned to do this, and at that point it was getting warm enough to bother running some trials.

Yay project planning! The joy of my OCD-riddled existence!!

First I had to throw La Retardado off of my dyeing coat (I made that when I were in hippyland so you can guess which one it is).

I have a little vat I created in 04 or 05-I can't remember which, but I know it definitely sat all of last year. I figured I would probably have to dump it due to it's age and multiple freezings and begin again. But hey, I'll see what it's doing first. I was more than a little surprised to see the vat begin to turn after a shot of thiourea dioxide-when I dunked a little corner of fabric in I did get colour. It still looked peaked so I decided to keep the vat and add some more indigo to it.

This is the test cloth after dipping.

I am going to get an aquarium heater for the vat, as I think it will be much more successful if I can control the temperature. That water is freezing frickin cold right now.

I use the recipe from prochem for the lye-thiourea dioxide vat. And I have my lye locked away in the Ugly Metal Thing-so don't even think about it meth-heads of the world. BTW you all suck for making lye so difficult to get.

I find this type of vat easiest, and there are measurements there for a small vat. Mama would probably never allow a fermentation vat, as we have a large enough ecosystem to deal with under the house already.

And before you ask, No I do not use urine.

Here is the stock I made. Look at the the lovely blossoms on the spoon-Mem, this is what you would paint yourself with-if you are tough enough to do so that is...See how it is becoming an ugly green underneath the surface-which is what you want, as it means the oxygen has been stripped. I have never gotten the perfectly clear yellow that indigo white is meant to be, but it works well enough.

I didn't think it would reduce properly at all, as I dunked the jar in some hot water, thinking it would hold up like the canning jars (I'm not too sure where the actual gem jar that I usually have used is). When I heard *crack* I did about the stupidest thing anyone with SFB would have known not to-I picked it up. Half-reduced indigo went all over the deepfreeze (or all-purpose workstation for all the Moores and Moore-like peeps out there). Okay, I thought as I surveyed the damage, not too bad at least it didn't really go everywhere...went in to get some paper towel, came back and looked at the floor:


Look at all the precious indigo-wasted! And it was getting to be quite a light green as it flew everywhere too-I think that is why it didn't seem so bad at first. Reduced for naught!! Wahahahaaaa....
My docs no longer have their famous yellow stitching at the toe either, they now have an odd sort of grey-green stitching. And I tracked it through the house. Thanks be to God that it had oxidized already at that point. Heh.

Mom saw it and said "ah well at least you didn't have it in the house (this of course was after I hurriedly wiped up all the blue doc ska sole marks on the floor). Double Heh.

It's not the worst I've ever done. I used to spill india ink fairly regularly until my parents banned me from using it until I should reach the age of majority.

Well the rest of it did reduce alright and went into the vat, which is now a nice green. Here is how the vat looked after adding the new indigo. Still as cold as Cocytus though.

I think the indigo on the top of a vat is just about the most beautiful colour. It is rather metallic, kind of coppery but purple...or blue or...something...I wish there was a way that it could be used, and keep the sheen of it. Ephemeral beauty is the most irritating!

I lost the first piece of fabric somewhere so I got a new one to test how well that took. I will never cease to be fascinated by the process of oxidation on a piece of fabric that has just been pulled out of the vat. It's just beyond cool to watch it change colour slowly from ugly snot to beautiful blue! Such a metaphor for life...okay I am not the kind of person who can resist rolling their eyes when such metaphors are made. Here is my fabric oxidizing.

Right about this time mama came around the corner and said "why the hell are you taking pictures of it?" To which I replied " I will post this to my blog-it's for the new PROJECT!" Then she left, muttering something to the effect of "yeah the project, whatever. You're going to wreak that camera." She is always that supportive of the projects.

While I was out there I took a picture of the lilac bushes, they look pretty nice right now-obviously the town has not sprayed their yearly hit of roundup so that the entire east end of town can look like a nice little nuclear waste zone. Usually the lilacs protect the rest of our yard, but they sacrifice themselves along the way. anyway I can't believe that this quarter of our yard only looks kind of crappy as opposed to utter crapaciousness. I planted grass, I hope it can defeat the weeds out there and manage to live. That is mama's superpowerbarbeque under the tarp in the corner there, and of course the picnic table/other all purpose work station.

Here is my fabric after the second dip, I added the elastics before doing that. Again you can see the process of oxidation when I fanned the fabric apart to let the air hit the folds. This is why indigo has proven to be such a fast (and therefore desirable) dye. Once it oxidizes, it is insoluble in water. Hence the need for reduction, stripping away of the oxygen from the dye molecule, or fermentation. Such is the nature of vat dyes.


mem said...

My personal advice is that when you move, you dedicate a substantial portion of your new living quarters to your endeavors. It will be the "messy area" in which you can work and make indigo and india ink spills without repercussions, save fumes and other environmental catastrophe. The other area should be known as "detox."

You do like science, you realize. All sorts of chemistry goes into your dyeing and fermentation and oxidizing. In practice, it seems a lot harder to me than learning the reaction equations, though. I expect you find it exactly the opposite. Or else you refuse to learn the equations out of spite. Ha!

Personally, I don't think dyeing myself would be too bad, unless the dye would poison me. Being permanently blue would just cement my status as awesome. Is this one of those things you can try on some hidden body part, kind of like you try stain removers on clothes. (...In the rereading, that also didn't come out well.)

Okay, so I haven't seen Uncyclopedia. But it is hilarious. The article on Kurosawa (which I found from "Things that might be after you") was pretty flippin funny. "His films are notable for their incredible, painstaking cinematography, as well as their complete lack of nudity, explosions, and computer generated samurai robots with super powers." It attributes the production of the movie "Japan Super Awesome Number One Fun Time Cheerful Radio Pie" to him. Oh my, I'm crying here.

Whew. I thought I mentioned the serfs wouldn't arrive until winter at the earliest. C just finished up her weekend, though, and promised to come up and help wash bums.

I find that annoying people may be easily redirected with body odor, fierce looks, and shots to the baby maker (as appropriate). If any of these apply, feel free to use any of my trademarked moves.

mem said...

Oh, the yard looks nice, btw. I hope the grass keeps. It's another weed, of course, but at least a little more manageable. There's a joke somewhere about how God makes everything pretty that grows, and we kill it all just to plant grass. I think it's the whole victorian garden thing.

Anyway! Carry on.

gwensmom said...

yay beautiful blue fabric! To match your shoes and all.

mem said...

Holy cow that was long. Of course, my comments are anything but short, mostly due to the logorrhea.

Chemistry of necessity is still chemistry. My dad was educated as a chemist. He used to read to use from his textbooks when we had memorized all of our other books. Yes, that probably explains a great deal. Personally, I think your aversion to science has more to do with its messengers than the actual subject matter. I had plenty of bad teachers, but enough good ones, too.

But I never had a teacher who knew who Petra is. :(

The pecking order of scientists usually goes Physicists > Chemists > Biologists > Astronomers. I'm not sure exactly where I would fit in there (as a Computer Scientist), but I'm afraid to ask.

I think my first comment concerning naginata-in-pants was unintentional, but the dyeing one was a little more suspect. That said, now that I know it will potentially cause you more damage than chrome, it might be worth it to see if I can slip things like that in more often. ;)

I hope work is not as terrible as you fear today. Maybe the psych patients will be nice. But I doubt I'll be putting in an appearance, as a little child or otherwise. I'm sure if my socks had been stuffed in my pants you would have fixed that problem post haste, so we may safely assume my slip wasn't showing.

mem said...

Do you know what is completely hilarious about all of your comments? I was going to do EXACTLY the same thing to you when I got in tonight. Imagine my surprise when I checked my email and twelve messages showed up (of which you constituted seven, I think). I just started laughing.

mem said...

Okay, so I recant my earlier remarks. My teachers knew the name. But none of them listened to them, or even particularly liked them I don't think. I did pester my gym teacher, now that I remember it, to make me some Petra posters. Sometime I will scan them, if I can find them amid the hordes of junk and likely rodentia in the basement.

mem said...

Your willingness to write eleventeen comments is insane. The captchas always get me. C's reaction? "FOR CRYING OUT LOUD."

And I think your mind probably works perfectly to be a scientist's. The reason I say this is because most of them are pretty cracked, at least the smart ones. You probably wouldn't have any trouble understanding. I know a couple good chem guys, I'll send them with the slaves.

mem said...

And no, I don't really wear slips. That was a figure of speech. You know, the sort of thing you say when you mean something else? It's a little bit like one of Jesus' parables. You know? Right?

And lastly, this set of ultra-comments does actually have a good advantage of keeping the subject matter nicely organized.

After writing that paragraph, I thought to myself, "Well, if she doens't really care for organization, in some twisted way she'll probably write out all of her comments at once. Then she'll disassemble them and put them in various comments throughout and make me reassemble it all later."

I hope you don't do that.

Because it would be really difficult.

mem said...

By the way, enjoy the shoes. Haha.

mem said...

Yes, you win this battle.

Even worse would be if you put them in random entries. If they were grammatically interesting (like in a foreign language or something like that), I would probably spend hours trying to figure out what you were saying. But otherwise I would come over here and yell at you, yes. And then go back to try to figure out what you were saying.

I didn't mean "with" the slaves in the way you think I did. So ha.

And I have to wonder, does "figure of speech" actually mean anything to you? "Your slip is showing" is kind of a way of saying, "You just made a Freudian slip." I'm surprised people don't tell you that your slip is showing all the time. You probably say things on accident every day. ... I don't wear slips, let's just leave it there. Haha.

mem said...

Sadly, I don't have a PO box. But if you send me an email (it's; it's not as vain as it sounds, really) I can send along my addy, no troubles.

I'm dreadfully curious, and somewhat afraid, of what might arrive. It's not a slip, is it?

mem said...

Yes, I was not lying. Dad bought the domain and gave us all addresses with our initials; mine just happen to be ME. So it is a vanity address, but I'm not responsible, and certainly not for my own name.

I think his pants look brown because of the lighting and the automatic adjustments made in the camera. The color correction on my monitor is horrible, and it is nearly impossible to fix; I have spent some hours trying, and it just won't work. So now I just leave it as is and drop the brightness to avoid burning out my retinas. And you have no idea how relieved I am to hear that you actually can wear brown and black together without calling down the wrath of God.

And it's funny you should mention spleens, as I think that is the dog's primary diet these days. The children of the neighborhood have been going missing....

And I laughed to hear that your mom was swearing at Boomshine. That's pretty funny. I think I'm going to get a round in

mem said...


What I meant to say was "...a round in before church."


I need more sleep.

mem said...

So, uh, are you calling my name boring? We are going to have to have a long detailed discussion about this. I sent you a response. Don't delete it on account of it being from me. Ha.

I do not have any clothing skills. I am almost as bad at clothes as I am at Goldeneye, a game in which I stare at the ground and blow myself up with rocket launchers. Goldeneye is my arch nemesis; it is what I am worst at in the entire world, and that is not a lie.

mem said...

I am not entirely sure why I go by my middle name, but my parents have always called me by it, and they, in fact, are also called by their middle name. My first name is nothing like Mephistopheles, but your reference to the Faustian character makes me want to pull a Rumpelstilzkin on you.

This would be funnier, but I'm barely awake.

mem said...

I was wondering if you would pounce on my grammatical faux pas (I have been using those words overmuch lately), or if you would avoid straining that particular gnat.

I am about as awake now as I was earlier, so I don't have anything to go with the camel-swallowing that should follow.

The thought of you swallowing a camel, however, is highly amusing and may serve to keep me awake to finish some of the work I need to get done today!

mem said...

The dentist, eh? We actually have an alpaca farm around where I teach. At least I think it's an alpaca farm. They don't have any humps.

I would never sell stories to the Weekly World News. I'm sure that with your Ridiculousness Vortex going that I could simply record the things that happen to you on a day-to-day basis and open up my own newspaper.

Now if you were also possessed of a Reality Distortion Field, I might possibly be able to sell some stories.

But you're not.

(Are you?)

mem said...

I thought you were going to sleep.

If you replace grumpy residents with attention-deficit children and whacking with being punched in the stomach, I think you'd have a pretty good representation of my typical day, too.

You have cameras in the trees by your house?

And why are you going to bed at 7:30, anyway?

mem said...

Ahhhhh, I see. I have not gone to the dentist in a coon's age, as they say.

Not since I accidentally yanked the cap off my front tooth. (My brother whacked me in the face with a hockey stick of sorts. I assume it was accidental. I had to get a root canal.)

Yeah, dental stories are fun (by which I mean blackly humorous and usually pretty disturbing). When M got his wisdom teeth taken out by the OSU dental school, they told him that they had contests to see who could do it the fastest—the record was something like nine minutes, 47 seconds.

I got mine out by someone else.

mem said...

Oh, and I really am going to bed.

mem said...

Okay, so I was JUST about to sleep before I got your last comment. This real-time blog comment stuff is nuts.

But M is not my brother—Elliot is. M is my best friend from college. I guess in a spiritual sense he's a brother, and probably in an intellectual sort, too.

But not by blood or law (at least not yet, but I think Carin is trying to fix that).

mem said...

And Auggh! That's expensive. :( I hope in the end that it is all worth it, and that you don't get punched in the face by your residents any time soon.

Dental work always leaves my mouth sore and sensitive, though it's usually just the cleanings.

For some reason, the dental assistants always seem to want to jab their little pokers into my soft palate, and then they say, "See, you need to floss more—look at how much you're bleeding."

I would normally hurl some sort of invective their way, but at this point, well, it would just be hurling red spit bubbles.


I get carried away when I'm tired. Suck on some ice cubes, that's my advice.