Dye Monkey, That Funky Monkey

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One year in college while in the theatre department, I earned the nickname of “Dye Monkey.” I was the head costumer on Victor/Victoria, and one of the characters was dressed entirely in vomit-inducing pink throughout. One of her costumes was a pin-striped suit, but the fabric they sourced for it was white. I spent days in the tiny laundry room hunched over a hotplate with strips of polyester and various packets of dye trying to find the perfect combination of red, orange, and yellow to make Barbie pink.
Grey was typically used by religious orders, as well as brown and white. While the grey wool with a touch of spandex is perfect for hosen, I preferred black. Black as a dye was more expensive, but I think it would have been just fine for accessories. The problem is predicting how the blend will take the dye.
I have a tiny pot that I use for making soap and other non-food purposes. (Yes, that is my cauldron on the back burner). Popped that on the stove and heated some water and black Rit dye to a light boil. You really don’t need hardly any for test strips. I highly recommend using rubber gloves because dye is related to glitter, being the herpes simplex of the textiles world. I was lazy and didn’t, which in hindsight was playing with fire because I have a job interview on Wednesday. I took the waistband pieces and draped it over the edge into the dye for a couple minutes.
Rinse thoroughly and let dry. A hairdryer can facilitate the process for the impatient. Wait until it is dry before you begin assessing the colour because it will change.
My wool came out more of a charcoal, but I’m fine with that. Natural black dyes, such as from walnut, would easily fade. If I had, had more dye then it would have been darker; see aforementioned impatience.

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