Easier said than done, since my gentleman friend was still in the bed, and likely to be there awhile given his intense urge to sleep in on weekends.
I also knew I couldn't spend much money on the endeavor, but I was undeterred. I hopped in the car and headed to a thrift store, where I found an off-white, king-sized duvet cover for $9.99. I grabbed a packet of Rit dye, and headed home to transform my new purchase to a lovely shade of pale dove-gray.
At least, that was my goal. I've done enough dyeing to know the odds are slim I'll ever achieve precisely the shade I want.
To me, half the fun of dyeing is not knowing exactly what I'll get in the end. Whenever I clean out my closet, I set aside a few garments I might consider wearing again if only they were a different color. It's a highly experimental process, since many of the fabrics are on the don't-ever-attempt-to-dye-this-you-idiot list on the back of the packet.
|One of my two-tone silk skirts.|
I've also produced plenty of less-than-perfect results. Several times, I've melted elastic beyond repair. I once tried to dye a set of sheets a sunny shade of orange, and ended up with something resembling peach tie-dye.
I usually have a specific end result in mind when I set out to dye something, but I'm often most impressed with the projects that turn out much differently than I expected. Sometimes, they're better.
Six months ago, I decided the pale-gold curtains in my kitchen would look great in purple. In their original form, the curtains had a subtle jacquard pattern you could barely see. Since the jacquard took dye much differently than the background, the end result was a pizazzy design that made the pattern really pop.
|The curtains, before (left) and after I conquered them with Rit dye.|
I think about writing every time I undertake a new dyeing project. How many times have I set out to create something specific, and ended up with a story that bears little resemblance to what I thought I'd be writing? In my early years as a writer, those moments made me panic. Though I still feel twinges of nervousness when a manuscript veers crazily off-course, I've learned to be excited by those deviations. That's often where the best ideas happen.
But back to my bed. The color didn't turn out quite like I expected. Part of it was my fault for using black dye instead of gray, assuming the large amount of fabric in the dye-bath would result in a much paler shade. I was right on that count, but the end result was more of pale charcoal than a light dove-gray.
But I rolled with it. Once I saw the finished color, I scrambled to Target and bought a set of pillowcases featuring charcoal gray and spring green leaves on a white background. The pattern and colors were a great complement to the aqua-blue sheets I already owned and planned to put on the bed just as soon as it became vacant.
My gentleman friend blinked sleepily when he woke to find me waiting vulture-like to remake the bed. "You've been busy," he said.
Oh, and for the record, I tossed a dingy-white bra and a couple pairs of panties in the washer with the duvet cover when I did the final post-dye rinse cycle. The result? A perfect, lovely shade of pale dove-gray.