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My Latest Project… 15, February 2008

Posted by babychaos in Adult Content, Art, careers, General Wittering, Life and living, Light Fluff, Play, Small Scale Disasters.
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My latest project is a T shirt, the orange one with the space hopper on the front but this time on the actual bump.

To make the T shirt, two to be precise one each for me and a friend, I have had to buy two white T shirts and dye them orange then I will stencil or print and iron on (not sure which yet, the jury’s still out) the design.

Ever dyed anything at home? Hmm… well… it can be easy. Yesterday though, it was a bit of a challenge.

I have three things called eco-balls which I use in my washing machine. Basically they’re a ball screwed shut and held shut, for extra peace of mind, with a screw. Inside the ball are minerals which react with the water and basically do exactly what soap powder does, only, without the foam.

Needless to say one of my balls is slightly suspect, the piece of plastic inside holding the peace of mind screw being broken. It came like that but I couldn’t be arsed to send it back and went ahead and used it anyway. You know how I like to live on the edge.

I keep it zipped up inside a small gauze laundry bag – just in case it bursts open as that way, the gravel – er hem sorry mineral nuggets – it contains will stay in the bag rather than infesting the pump, pipework and other Essential Gubbins inside my washing machine which, I have learned the hard way, is a BAD thing (cf my adventure with the fluffy throw).

It has burst several times but only in the era before I started using the gauze bag although on the up side, since it was still new at the time, the particles of gravel were too big to get through any of holes leading to the machine’s Important Bits.

Yesterday, the time comes to dye my two shirts. Surprisingly I elect to actually read the instructions. First I have to wash them, then dye them in the machine, then wash them again, then set the machine to wash itself with nothing in it. My washing machine takes approximately one geological era to complete a cycle so I know it is going to be a long day.

Undaunted, in went the shirts, in order to make them as pure as possible – ie remove any dressings on the new material but also ensure they weren’t impregnated with the wrong kind of soap, I decide to wash them with the eco balls. Once we get to the spin and rinse section I notice the machine was making a decidedly strange – or is that worryingly wrong – noise.

I stop it mid spin and luckily, I notice the water table was decidedly higher than door level before I fling it gaily open and release a torrent into my kitchen (mmm… unusual). Being a washing machine destroyer of veteran character, I know this means something has clogged the pump.

I drain it, which takes a sod of a long time – imagine syphoning several gallons of water through something the width of a drinking straw, also imagine finding that the pump is set so low that no matter what you do, unless you can raise the machine on four blocks, the last thee mugs full will spew out all over the floor when you unscrew the special thing to get into the filter.

Once drained I find four pieces of red gravel in the pump. Bastard! The eco ball must have burst. That would be what the rattling was then. Never mind these were just small bits which had escaped through the gauze, the rest would be in the bag…

Ah… yes they would be in the sodding bag if the zip hadn’t come undone.

How many times have I put that bag with that dodgy ball into the washer without incident? At a rough estimate, I’d guess approximately infinity to the power of one million and three. Even so, the bastard thing has to break now, just because its friend the eco ball has broken too. Half an hour later I have picked all the balls out of the crevices and cracks in the machine and checked the pump.

All clear.


In go the shirts again, with the dye and salt, as per and I set the cycle instructed and go to my studio to finish my current commission. Three hours later I come back.

The washing machine is full of Lucozaide-coloured water.


Mr BC is in today, too. Better get jiggy with the syphon before he comes downstairs to make himself a cup of tea. I check the kettle. Yes, still warm. I should have time.

After another god knows how long syphoning dayglo orange water out of the machine through a drinking straw. I am caught red-handed when Mr BC walks in on me. I am not sure how he is going to react but the answer is, with amusement. Phew! Even better, he knows where the instruction manual is.
Another four pieces of sodding gravel in the pump.

The dying process is complete but I must now wash the shirts on a 40 degree cotton cycle, NOT economy mind… It goes without saying that my machine only has a 40 degree economy cotton cycle. Hmm… is this verboten? Not sure. I stick it on a synthetic non economy 40.

Mr BC and I are preparing dinner by this time. Is all well, he wonders as he points to the machine. I’m using half load and normal detergent but there must be something in the dye because above the orange water is a whole drum full of Cresta-like orange foam. Yes it sure is frothy man. It comes to light that Mr BC has begun to regard me as a kind of mad female Emmet Brown. He is never sure what I am going to do next or how it is going to come out. I’m ok with that, he is is still giggling merrily rather than cross.


The machine finishes without mishap, I put it through on 40 with nothing in it but detergent, as the dye manufacturers instruct me and then, just in case, I put it though on 95 with nothing but detergent, as the machine manufacturer suggests I do from time to time.

I hope I have successfully de-oranged it’s innards. Time will tell…

I now have two more commissions – they really are like buses, none for ages and then three come along at the same time. There is an, as yet, unborn and therefore un-named and a George, pending. I have, however, completed the Benjamin, relatively without mishap.

Again, phew!

Finally a little light relief for you.

I saw this notice outside my local church, the other day, it’s a bit of a British Comedy joke but never mind, for those of you in the know.

Worship in a different way with Alan Partridge!  Ah ha!

Ah Ha!

PS. D’you think Glen Ponder plays the organ at this gig?



1. BB - 17, February 2008

Hilarious… orange frothy foam…

I’m thinking Mad Scientist!

2. flyingrowan - 17, February 2008

hmm. i caused our washing machine to spew foam this weekend… after putting in a bath mat saturated with handwash liquid. the carpet {luckily just a free offcut} is a mess and none of the things rinsed properly. i’ve always wondered about those ecoballs… Also, I would worship with Alan.

3. Geldoff - 17, February 2008

Hmm … Alan Partridge. A comedy name you just wouldn’t want to have. You couldn’t reveal your name anywhere in the UK without someone taking the p*ss, which must get soooo grating.

But since we don’t know him … well spotted, BC! Presumably the sermon would be titled “Knowing Me Knowing You. 🙂 Check out the great intro on the ‘dedicated Alan Partridge site’. http://www.alan-partridge.co.uk/

4. babychaos - 18, February 2008

BB mad scientist for deffo! Flying Rowan, I’m glad I’m not alone with dodgy washing machine antics and the eco balls are great for washes under 40 degrees but at 60 or over the cease to be effective. Geldoff… I agree poor bloke but yes, I can’t help laughing… and yes, the intro is impressive and also a bit sad… like the whole show!



5. lea alissa - 19, February 2008

I dyed 2 shirts over the holidays (december 2007) but not in the washer. Here in Manila, we have powder dye that comes in paper sachets. You have to wet the shirt and then boil it in a pot with the dye. After boiling for 15 minutes you add salt and then you boil some more. After that you rinse with running water, wring it and then press with a hot iron while it’s wet.

I’m never dyeing a shirt again.

also, I have a top-load washer because I figured front loads would be a pain to sort out if it clogged up..

I admire Mr.BC for finding this amusing..:) I wonder what the Muffin will be like growing up with you? I can imagine what fun it’ll be to have you as Mum..”my mum does the strangest things with the washer….”

6. Rua MacTírean - 19, February 2008

Aww wow-Alan Partridge! If we got people like that in I might still go to mass, closest thing to a celebrity my church will spring for is boring ol’Padre Pio. I’m tellin ye, the Vatican takes its audience for granted!

7. GeekLady - 20, February 2008

And here I am, wondering why you couldn’t just buy orange shirts. Not that I approve of orange, mind you, but they are still commercially available. In the US, anyway.

8. babychaos - 20, February 2008

Lea, I think that Muffin has absolutely no chance of growing up anything other than eccentric… top loading sounds like a sensible idea and the dye is available here, too but the amount of potential staining involved in my boiling something in a saucepan was too scary to contemplate!

Rua, I’m sure he was more boring than the real one!

Geek lady, the thing is, they’re women’s shirts and they’re maternity shirts. Anything sold for women here is covered in bilious 1960s multicoloured patterns or comes in black or white… very occasionally somebody will sell something in red. So while an orange t shirt is possible an orange t shirt designed for women is, sadly, not. Check out the maternity options on Cafe press – not british I know but a significant demonstration of my point, you can add prints but the come in black, or white.



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