“How can I help you?” Millions of people are letting Alexa, Siri and others help them with trivia, homework, how-to instructions and more. What I can’t ask the computer is how I can help you. Dyeing fabric is something I love more than chocolate, but running this business can be a challenge. One fabric has been sitting around for close to 10 years – I think I’ll call it the ‘life lesson’ fabric. That’s more polite than ‘that @^%# ugly thing.’ So rather than take advice from a machine, I need to ask you a couple of quick questions. And I promise not to try to sell you that @^%# ugly thing, or anything else! 😊
If you have a moment to help me out, click below. It should take only about two minutes of your time.
At DippyDyes, we dye a lot of solid fabric. The easiest way to do this is with a washing machine. For three-yard pieces, a table top washer is ideal. The washer does the stirring for you, because if you want solid fabrics, you must stir. A lot. And then stir some more. Up to 90 minutes for the darkest values.
From left: phone timer, washer base with timer, kitchen timer.
Here’s where three timers comes in. There’s a timer built into the washer. That runs, stirring the fabric for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes of being still, it needs to run for another five minutes. So when I start the five minutes on, five minutes off period, I set the washer at five, the kitchen timer at ten minutes and I set my phone timer for 30 minutes. The ten-minute timer reminds me to jump up and restart the washer for another five minutes. The washer does a good job of stirring AND of snarling a three yard piece into a mess, and it just doesn’t have hands. So at the 30 minute mark, it’s time to completely rearrange the fabric. Yes, there’s a little compulsiveness going on here, and thanks to that, I get good solid fabrics. If you’d like to learn more, you can sign up for my email list here: (http://eepurl.com/cHfygr) Thanks! Gotta run – my timer just beeped at me!
Oh, my. Where to start! This 12th century quote is attributed to St. Bernard: “Hell is full of good intentions or desires.” (That’s a hint.) Cheryl Sleboda annually holds a blog hop focused on cleaning our studios. When she announced it, I thought the timing couldn’t be better. I had just acquired this:
That is a full set-up for painting silk, including a whole array of Tinfix dyes. The big beast on the right is as steamer, and I’ve already steamed cotton painted with MX in it – it works great! It will live either in the garage or the basement, because I need to use it outside, not in the studio. And, yes, even I need a step-ladder to use it! My first step was to make sure all the studio stuff was up on the third floor where it needs to live. The before pictures of the storeroom show the existing mess with new goodies added.
Well, it does look a little better in the after picture. The UFO pile at the top behind the door has actually been added to, but for me that’s organized. Here are the views from the door into the storeroom.
Still an improvement. But the dirty secret is that the adjoining room looks no better. That’s where half the junk got relocated. And that’s just the two nice corners of the room. The actual studio space is in about the same condition. So, to make a tedious story shorter, I moved the needle some, but the tank ain’t full! The up side of all this is that I’ve learned a lot of things I shouldn’t do! When you have every weekend in a month already booked; when your income taxes still aren’t done; when the total rework of the website is barely begun, do not, I repeat DO NOT commit to any more time-consuming projects! Look for future posts on studio cleaning, because I am not going to allow myself to play with the silk-painting goodies until taxes, website and studio cleaning are done.
My how the time has flown. This post started three weeks ago when I first installed WordPress. I’m still in the midst of working on the new website, and transferring all my old blog posts over here. Meanwhile, I’ve wiped all my inventory out (again) over on DippyDyes.com, so, to save money, I’m updating all the quantities myself. Then there are pesky things like matching product pictures to product listings on the new site, and adding measurements and weights, etc, etc. You can still shop here!
The short-term goal is to make the new blog live as quickly as possible, and keep plugging on the grubby details of e-commerce. Next, to add some eye candy! And the deadline for all of this is 4/23 (maybe later), when posts begin on Cheryl Sleboda’s blog hop studio cleaning challenge! Since I’ve spent so many days with my nose plastered to the screen, today is a great day to move as much as I can!
The picture at right relates to the great studio and storeroom cleanup – more on that tomorrow!!!!
You probably won’t ever see this, but if you want to order fabric, go to www.dippydyes.com.
DippyDyes isn’t the only merchant that has been filling your inbox with holiday shopping emails. Yes we have a sale too, and nobody else is apologizing for all the emails. Why do I feel like I need to apologize?
But anyway, this was to be about numbers. Today is the fourth day of the sale and it continues until Friday the second. Total emails sent: 1322. Total unsubscribes: 9. Total orders: 2. Gross profit: $85.16. So now you know why micro-businesses flood your inbox!
Now, borderline whine and gratuitous accounting stats over, here are some recent additions to the website. Click on any of the pictures to be taken to that fabric on the website. (Go ahead – you know you want it!)
The FedEx Ground guy stopped by the house today and delivered my winter’s work. It’s 500 yards each of Pimatex and Kona in PFD bleach white. For comparison, if this was on 15-yard bolts, there’d be 67 of them. The next step – moving them to the storeroom on the third floor. And if you wonder – the three boxes these came in weighed 341 pounds all together. Who needs a gym membership?! PS – praying for snow next!
The third and probably final round of snow-dyes went into the washing machine this morning. This group was all double snow-dyed, and only 9 pieces, 6-7 of which were 4 yards long. Then it was time to clean the floor. I use an old garden sprinkler can that holds three gallons or so. The screens get rinsed along with the floor under them, then it’s squeegee time. More sprinkling, more squeegee, then the mop. That big string mop is a seriously good core muscle workout, with shoulders and triceps thrown in for good measure. Moving the sprinkle can and the occasional 5-gallon bucket of water helps keep up my strength too! On my last post I mentioned that I turn the water heater up to get 140 degree washout temperatures. Well, the furnace guy is coming tomorrow to put in a new aquastat. The current one can’t answer “how high is up?” Right now it’s set at 90 and the pure hot tap water measures 124. When it gets too hot the pressure relief valve does its job – maybe a little too well! The picture below shows the cloud of steam in the cellar when that happens. So I didn’t need the sprinkler can after all. The floor got a good, really hot wash. Now, for your free moment of dye education: to wash out Procion MX type dyes, you really need water at 140 F / 60 C plus detergent. The very hot water breaks any partially bonded dye; the MX dyes are called fiber reactive because the dye molecules bond to the cellulose molecules. That brings me to the free gift for signing up for my newsletter: instructions on washing out fabric dyed with MX. You can click the link in the upper right corner of this blog, or click here to sign up. I’ll send you that PDF – and right now a real human still sends it, not a machine. Thanks!
P.S. I hope to post photos of some of the snow-dyes, but they must be washed and ironed first.
[Skip to the last paragraph to read the most important bits.] Yesterday, in addition to my last post here on the blog, I also got a newsletter out. This morning I checked the report from MailChimp on my phone. I’m incredibly bad about checking the “metrics” and today I just happened to click on the ‘opened’ link and scrolled through the 165 people who had opened it as of 8:30 AM. (Now 11 hours later and it’s up to 198, or 41%, with 23 clicks.) There was one unsubscribe, and that’s OK. The reason was a sad one – that person, who has opened every single newsletter I’ve ever sent – now has an illness that prevents her from using a computer. My heart goes out to her and the caregiver who wrote an explanation when she unsubscribed. The rest of the list of names was a real trip down memory lane. Some people were family – I’m grateful they look even though dyeing and quilting isn’t their thing. I saw names of a couple of my dye teachers and many fellow students, my students, customers and custom-work clients. There were people I met when I worked in the local quilt shop, and many people I’ve met at shows over the years. And below is the current geographic data of where people were when they opened the newsletter. Anyway, I expect this is really kind of dull to most readers. But . . . The Last Paragraph – what I’m trying to get at with this post is how truly grateful I am to everyone who takes the time to read the newsletter, and who has touched my life and has let me into theirs as well. Thank you, so very much.