The Problem with Art and Impatience

I started ice-dyeing last February. How I fell into that is another story, but for this week, I just need to talk about how my character flaws get in the way of my “artistic process.”

I like to be in control of everything. When I’m not in control, I get anxious and moody. Yet, over and over, life reminds me that I really have no control over anything. Slowly (very slowly), I’m starting to accept this. Every now and then though, my ego’s ugly head rears itself once again.

Also, I’m not a patient person. I’m supposed to be…I’m a Capricorn. But I’ve never been a patient person. Thank God for my husband, who is infinitely patient. I have improved a little over the years. For example, you know how they say in knitting, “Always swatch!” Of course I didn’t want to swatch, because I was too impatient to just start knitting the damn project…until I had made so many items that didn’t fit. I finally admitted to myself that yes – it’s worth the time to swatch.

piles of snow. My first attempt at "snow-dying"

Piles of snow. My first attempt at “snow-dyeing”

Last week, I did a little experimenting with snow-dyeing. I thought, “we got a fresh shroud of snow on the ground from the night before, I could save some on ice, and I see other people doing it all the time!” One thing I did not expect is that, unlike the ice, the snow doesn’t just melt…it seems to evaporate faster than melting. I don’t know if it’s because the snow was a day old, or it wasn’t as wet and heavy as some snow can be, or the fact that my house is incredibly dry, but the bottom line is that the dyed snow evaporated before it sank down through the layers of fabric. This is a different reaction from ice melting. When ice melts, it melts slowly, and penetrates all the layers. I guess snow melts slowly, so there’s more chance of it evaporating. In any case, I had to turn my pieces over halfway, get more snow and put more dye on it in order for it to look decent.

Some of the pieces came out nice. However, I thought it would be a money-saver to use snow instead of ice, but if I have to use more dye, then what’s the point? The dye is more expensive than the ice. And as you can see, I went hog wild and snow-dyed five shirts because I had lots of snow. This is where the patience part comes in…I should have tested it. Tests help! So again…lesson learned.

One of the things about ice-dyeing, at least at this early stage of my journey, is that I have very little control over the outcome. I can pick the colors, strategically place them on the ice, tie the fabric the way I want, but other than that, it’s up to the air, chemistry, and time. It’s a lot like life (I have a Depeche Mode song in my head right now). I have no control over the future, and I just have to trust that it’s all going to work out. And it always does. Just like piles of dyed ice. Most of the time, I get unexpected and beautiful results.

Snow-dyed Mens shirt. Available at LSSLusciousKnits


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