March 20, 2006
Running out of time on my way out the door to London. Mustn’t waste time with gibblegabble. Must convey the essence of my weekend of bleaching denim. (Doesn’t everybody bleach up a batch of denim yarn when they’re spozed to be packing for two weeks away from home?) Pictures say it all, but I will say some of it anyway. Gibblegabble is my destiny.
HOW TO BLEACH DENIM YARN IN YOUR KITCHEN SINK, BY KAY GARDINER
Safety Advisory: Use extreme care if you have children, pets, or whine-prone husbands with highly sensitive noses. Bleach is toxic and stinky. You would be, too, if you took the dye right out of fabric.
1. Random pieces of Failed Denim Projects, prewashed and dried.
2. Clorox bleach. I prefer the splashless version. It stays where you put it.
3. Kids’ paint brush, seems to be natural hair of some kind.
4. Small glass jar.
Method 1: Painting (Note: This Version Is For The Timid)
Place dry denim swatch in dry kitchen sink. Put a bit of bleach in the jar.
Dab the brush into the bleach, which you have very slightly diluted with less than half the volume of water.
Paint onto the surface of the knitting. Do not saturate the fabric. Just keep dabbing.
This is what you get after waiting a minute or two.
Here’s what you get if you lose patience with the dabbing and you pour a little bit right onto the denim, soaking through. Pale blue, although it will turn white if you wait a bit.
Method 2: Dumping (Note: This Version Is More Fun)
Pour the bleach onto the denim fabric in an approximation of stripes. This is how it will look after just a minute.
After another minute.
This is how it looks on the wrong side, because the bleach has soaked clear through.
It started to look kind of greenish.
Time to put it in the washing machine. As you can see, this is a lame-o U.S. toploading washing machine. I washed it on hot with a small amount of detergent. If I were using a European washing machine that heats its own water, I would have used a very moderate warm temperature because I would have been worried about the hot water leaching out more of the blue dye and depositing it on the white stripes, creating pale blue spots where white was intended. This is not a worry with a lame-o U.S. machine; even on the hot setting I can stick my hand in the water, no problem. I rinsed twice in cold water.
Look how crisply white the stripes came out. (Green apple to show utter lack of green in bleached stripes.)
Next comes the unravelling part. If you sewed in your ends, now would be the time for a little cussing, as you learn how nice and tightly denim ends get shrunk into the fabric. But see how nice the yarn is.
Seriously, SEE HOW NICE the yarn is. It’s very soft and not stinky at all.
Here’s how it looked knitted up. I striped it with the yarn that had been painted lightly, to mellow out the space-dyed effect.
There is a wide world of kitchen-sink bleaching methods. For example, there is the Ann HB Patented Baggie Method, the Cristina Oxyclean Wash It 800 Times Method, and the Belinda Dippity-Dye Method. These are all good methods, or you can make up your own.
Or you can just knit up the yarn the way it comes in the ball, like a normal person.
Now I’m off to London.