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This is my promised follow up diary on the Asheville meetup and what's next for the commemorative shirts. First, a few life lessons learned along the way.

Lesson one: Never attempt a road trip involving numerous art supplies, musical instruments, and a time deadline if said road trip also involves a puppy.

Lesson two: Asheville is not only cooler than Charlotte, it is colder. The feeling of cold is colder when you’re by water. Having grown up on a lake, one would think this would have occurred to me before going to a place called The Bywater.

Lesson three: On arrival at the meetup, do not leave camera in the car. Once among Kossacks it's hard to tear oneself away. Most folks were gone by the time I realized I hadn't taken a single photo. I will have to let Randall, Tony, gulfgal98, alicia, Capt. and Mrs. Sham, and everyone else I met vouch for my existence!

It was a great time, and such a pleasure to meet everyone and put faces with names! Little Jaco did great on his first overnight trip. Here he is with Ilsa, taking a rare break from perpetual motion.

Jaco and Ilsa, BFFs.
Follow me below the map of the 40-240 loop-de-loop through Asheville, if you dare. It only took us three turnarounds to find our hotel this time, which is progress.

Saturday morning began with me oversleeping -- imagine that! SD handled the handful that is Jaco, our 11-week-old Lab mix, while I finished mixing the dyes for the meetup. Did I mention I have a procrastination problem? At last, we got packed and on track for a 2:00 arrival.

My momentary relief turned to panic when I realized Jaco had escaped from the screened porch. We finally found him, chilling on our neighbors' second story deck with their four dogs. How he's still getting his waggy little ass through the fence almost defies physiology.

If these neighbors were normal, nice people, they would have brought him over and we would have laughed. They are not nice. I will defer the gory details and say that there is no way I would set foot on their property uninvited, nor allow them on mine. With a fence, 20 feet, and a flight of stairs between Jaco and me, my only option was talking him down.

After much pleading and offering of treats (the Fancy Feast finally worked,) Jaco was back in custody. He was also serious about claiming all the Fancy Feast, which he chased with his puppy crunchies and a long cold drink of water. What goes into puppies must come out, so we went on a backyard Business Trip before hitting the road. After half an hour, Ilsa was so fed up she went back upstairs to bed.

By the egregiously late hour we finally shoved off, the weather wasn't even on my radar. I'd been chasing a puppy in balmy Charlotte all morning. It felt plenty warm to me and I didn't think to re-check the conditions in Asheville.

Shit got real when we stopped for gas in Mooresville on the way up. I stepped cluelessly from the car in sandals and a tee shirt, caught a lake breeze, and dove behind the dogs for my sweater and socks. Cold fingers and damp fabric aren’t a great combination, and that was only the first problem.

Fiber reactive dyes like to be warm. Low 60's with a breeze is pushing their limits. The items would also need a lot more processing time, which means you don't get to see the results for at least 24 hours, and have to do the rinsing and washing at home instead of seeing the results before you go home. Ideal tie dyeing weather is over 90F, because the shirts are ready in an hour and you get to rinse and enjoy without waiting overnight. Also, no one minds getting wet.

Fear not, for all is not lost for the Asheville inaugural meeting shirts! Randall has graciously entrusted them to me, and I'm working my colorful magic for commemorative release. Here is the original shirt, followed by my first three samples. It turns out working with orange is a challenge on the CMYK color wheel, but I'm getting the hang of it.

Asheville Meetup shirt, like a virgin
1. Simply orange. This isn't actually tie dye, but a technique known as low-water immersion dyeing. The fabric is packed in tight random folds, soaked with unactivated dye, and allowed to set until the pigments spread and set in the folds. Fixer is added at the end, and it's ready to rinse in an hour. I used only one color here, which gives a subtle mottled look not usually associated with tie dye.
Low water immersion method. Nice but a bit too peachy for me. Next time I'll add a little yellow as a base.
2. Vertical stripes. This is a traditional tie dye fold in which dye is applied in vertical "slices." I marked the logo here with red rubber bands so I'd know where to keep the black dye away from the print.
3. DFH special. I've been wanting to try this fold, and it says 4/20 right there on the shirt, which is a sign. Right?
Stay tuned for few sample spiral patterns. If you've already reserved a shirt(s) and see something you like, let me know. The sky's the limit with colors; it doesn't have to be orange. I'm going to keep most of them white until I get a handle on what folks like.

Thanks again to Randall and everyone who made the meetup happen. We had a real good time and are already looking forward to the next gathering!

Originally posted to SteelerGrrl on Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 05:28 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Asheville.

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