My girl said, “Now, remember; when you have a new hammer, everything looks like a nail.”
Michelle came over with a 5-gallon bucket and an indigo dye kit, and we spent a whole day dunking and shibori-ing everything we could think of. Every single thing in my house that was some shade related to white or off-white seemed like fair game. I considered doing the slipcover on the sofa, but I didn’t think it would fit in the dye bucket. She brought a whole mess of stuff too, and it all went in the pot, and not one thing didn’t turn out gorgeous.
I lost count of it all. We dipped tablecloths and napkins and shirts and scarves and big lengths of linen fabric and still the bucket was full of dye, and I confess I haven’t dumped it out yet, because I keep imagining I’ll think of something else that would look better blue.
Her glove leaked in the first five minutes, which made us shriek, then laugh, then giggle every two seconds all day, every time either of us noticed it again. The freaky blue fingernails were the best part. She thought about doing the other hand too, just to make them even, but then she chickened out.
It all looks so much like a coastal summer; like sunlight reflecting on the lake, or ripples in a swimming pool. It makes me think of steamed lobster and beach glass and an ice cold Corona with a wedge of lime stuck in the neck. Don’t all those beautiful blues make you just want to put together a picnic basket of potato salad and salami and a big hunk of sourdough and a bottle of chilled prosecco? I just love all the varying, surprising ways the different fabrics absorbed the dye.
Every time either of us pulled something new out of the bucket, or took off the resists to see what the design looked like, we went “Oooooh, that’s great!” and “Awwwww, I LOVE that!” and then we kept being amazed, again, as things oxidized from greenish to whatever of the various shades of indigo they eventually became. It was endlessly interesting. It was tie-dye for grownups. I dyed some yarn, and it is exactly the color of the sky. When you have a big pot of blue dye, everything starts to look like it should be blue.
I want to say, too: thank you all so much for your kind words and thoughts about Grandma. She would have been thrilled to pieces. She was a whiz with a sewing needle, a paintbrush, a garden trowel. She made beautiful things, every day she could do it. She was one of us.