Tag Archives: home brewing

Dyeing Again

I want the big refrigerator back. My husband is a home brewer and acquired a commercial refrigerator when a restaurant was getting rid of it. It didn’t work when he got it, but he had a friend who knew how to repair such things and was willing to work for beer, so it was soon repaired. Then he started stashing kegs in it. If you poll home brewers about when the activity really became fun, they will tell you it was when they stopped trying to bottle it and started putting it in kegs. This refrigerator held several small kegs with no problem and there were two shelves above the kegs. My husband kept one for bottled beer and let me have one for dyes.

The dyes we use in our tie-dye business are sensitive to heat. Once we mix the powders with water and chemicals, they won’t keep longer than a week without refrigeration. That shelf in the big refrigerator has been a lifesaver since we started storing dyes there. The thing ran fine for years but recently we started having trouble with it. A couple of weeks ago, it stopped cooling completely. My husband had to clean out all the beer and I had to clean out all the dyes. I wasn’t dyeing then because of the weather and other concerns, so there was no way I could use up all the dye that was on that shelf.

Everything had to go. At least I got a completely fresh start when I was ready to dye again. We haven’t been able to get the big refrigerator repaired yet, so I am trying to use a mini-fridge to keep me going until I can finish some long overdue special orders. A mini-fridge does not hold much dye. On that one shelf in the big refrigerator, I could store two caddies with twenty-two eight-ounce bottles of dye in each one, plus a dozen or more quart or half-gallon containers. The mini-fridge holds one caddy and a couple of spare bottles. I might be able to fit a quart container or two in the door, but I can’t get a single half-gallon container in there. This is seriously cramping my style.

It takes about ten minutes to mix up an eight-ounce bottle of dye. In that same ten minutes, I can mix up a half-gallon of dye in a blender. Obviously, it makes sense to do that when I know I can use up a half-gallon before it goes bad. I don’t even have quart containers for the colors that make up our rainbow. I always mix a half-gallon at a time. Now I have to do careful math before I mix anything, to make sure I don’t mix up more than I can use.

Still, it feels good to finally be dyeing again. I finished the first of two special orders this morning and I hope to be able to finish the other one tomorrow. It’s not just a matter of dyeing the items that were ordered. We also have to dye enough other things in each color palette to make a full load when it’s time to rinse and wash these things. Three items in three color palettes add up to three full loads of tie-dye.

And no Zelda. I can’t just play a little bit of Zelda. If I pick it up for a minute, I’ll be lost in it for hours, so I have to quit cold turkey until the dyeing is done. I try to tell myself that iPad games are different, but they’re not. Not for me. I learned something this week and I’ll pass it along: if you tend to get obsessed with video games and you love music and someone offers to download a game called “Magic Piano” to your phone or tablet, you should JUST SAY NO.