Saturday, 12 March 2011

Mellow yellow

Yesterday was astonishing.  I sat and watched the BBC news reports from Japan with horror, which got deeper and deeper as time went on.  Waking up today to news of nuclear reactors exploding just seems unreal somehow. 

The footage of that enormous whirlpool way out at sea, with the fishing boat fighting to get out of it was like something out of a disaster movie. 

To try and raise my spirits, I thought I'd try to do something a bit creative today, what with my developing life plan to become a creative dynamo and all. 

The other day as I was performing some unrelenting domestic drudgery, I found a set of bedlinen that looked a bit drab. 

Plain white, a duvet cover and four matching pillowcases, all trimmed with sort of broiderie anglais stuff around the edges.  Pretty in an uninspiring kind of way.  Also, it was looking a bit tired somehow.  Clean, and everything, but just not living the bedlinen dream any more.

Mr WithaY and I had already decided to go to Salisbury this morning, so I thought I'd pick up some fabric dye and attempt to tie-dye it.  The bedlinen, not Salisbury. 

What was I thinking?

We packed away the traditional brunch of Eggs Benedict in Patisserie Valerie, performed a rapid synchronised scoot round several shops to pick up various essentials, and then hey ho to the fabric shop.  Mr WithaY needed to buy some orange fabric to make armbands.

Don't ask.  I promise to take photos when all can be revealed. 

While he was speculatively examining every roll of fabric in the shop, I decided to get some wadding, fabric and ribbon to make a posh notice board out of a scabby old cork board.  That's my plan for tomorrow. If it works I will take gloating photos.

I also decided to get some fabric dye for my tie-dye experiment.  How hard can it be?  Hippies manage it, after all. 

I bought a box of yellow, and a box of vibrant blue. My plan, such as it was, was to tie up the bedding, dye it yellow, undo the ties, re-tie it all slightly differently, dye it blue, and thus end up with a gorgeous mixture of white, yellow, blue and ahahahahahaaaaa GREEN in a random yet stylish pattern all over it. 

The first part went ok.  I spent bloody ages tying multiple bits of string artfully around the pillowcases and the duvet cover, then bunged them in the washing machine with the yellow dye and half a kilo of salt.  I even had to make a special trip over to the garage to buy extra salt.  That's how seriously I was taking this.

Mr WithaY was busily making armbands on the kitchen table, so we both had a cup of tea and watched the bright, bright yellow water in the washing machine. 

The washing machine finished, beeping at me bossily.  I took out the gorgeous yellow bedding.  I untied the string, waiting to see the lovely patterns, and there was nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Fuck all.  The entirety of the fabric was bright yellow.  Mr WithaY squinted helpfully, trying to be encouraging.

"I think there's a sort of paler bit there in the corner." 
"Really?  Where?"

"Right in the bottom corner...oh.  Now you've moved it I can't see it any more.  Is that a circle of white in the middle there, though?"

"Might be...maybe...."

I sighed sadly and put the beautiful blue dye and yet more salt in the washing machine, then spent at least seventeen hours (maybe longer) unpicking the wet string and re-tying it into careful patterns.   I was hoping that where there were some paler white-ish bits, the dye would be blue, and where it was nice and yellow, there would be green, and where the string was, would stay yellow. 

I remember having to spend ages in art at school dicking about with colour wheels and so on.  Yellow and blue make green.  Definitely.

I wasn't very good at art, mind.

I am now the proud owner of a set of khaki bedding, spotted with distressing yellow circles, much like little rings of sickly toadstools here and there on the forest floor.

Fuck it.


Middle Sis said...

I was changing the bed linen the other day when Mr. Middle Sis came in and said " new bed linen? nice". It was bed linen we had purchased just prior to his illness, so thanks to the memory loss he can relive the experience of sleeping in fresh new linen. I also bought a puppy and a new car and told him we had them before he was ill!

Encephalitis has its uses.

A Heron's View said...

My wife say's 'It sounds nice in a strange way' -Though be damned if I understand what she means ???

tpals said...

I remember doing some strange project in school using hot wax to make patterns before the dye stages and ironing it out between stacks of newspaper. It turned out really ugly too.

Curry Queen said...

You should have asked me first. I can achieve that sort of effect by washing white bedlinen a couple of times with some muddy sports kit then letting my pensionable-age, incontinent cat loose in the bedroom for a couple of hours. Hey Presto!

livesbythewoods said...

It looks awful. Honestly. look, there are photos now.

I might try the wax thing sometime - memories of long-ago art lessons come back now you mention that...

But for now, I am chalking it up to experience and trying to move on with my life.