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Tie-dye book won’t tie you up in knots

  • McClatchy-Tribune
  • Published Monday, July 8, 2013, at 12 a.m.

When you think of tie-dye, two things likely come to mind. One would be an elementary school track and field day, where one-size-fits-all shirts are dumped into a giant vat, producing tie-dye that is neither pretty nor creative. The other is your grandmother’s tie-dye. You know, from the ’60s. It’s probably best if we just don’t discuss it.

Whether you lack a rudimentary knowledge of tie-dying or you’re an old pro who is looking to tackle a challenging new project, “Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It” by Shabd Simon-Alexander has something for everyone.

The book is divided into five main sections that explain what tie-dye is and its history, the materials you need for a tie-dye project, the types of design decisions you will have to make and how you actually tie-dye. The rest of the book is devoted to tie-dye projects for you to try.

This ease-in to the projects makes the book accessible to everyone, and throughout are sidebars, diagrams and tips. Simon-Alexander makes her vast knowledge of tie-dye apparent as she dissects every aspect of the process from materials to fabrics to techniques to the dyes themselves.

The 22 projects are tiered, with different levels assigned to reflect how difficult each is. The projects use easy-to-follow numbered steps, and Simon-Alexander lists the tools and materials necessary with each entry. If you should get lost at any point, there are helpful sections in the back of the book, including a problem-solving section, measurements and a glossary.

While it’s awesome that Simon-Alexander lists the level, tie and dye methods and the curing time clearly, it’s rather odd that when new techniques are introduced, they aren’t explained until after the project entry. While this is a small point that shouldn’t really inhibit your ability to do the project, it still would have been nice to see the techniques explained before rather than after.

Otherwise, the book is easy to follow and an easy read, chock full of very well-done and colorful photos. Dani Griffiths is the only model to be found in the book, creating a nice familiarity when she appears every few pages.

If you are looking for a definitive tie-dying book, this fits the criteria nicely. You can learn the basics, but you can also learn how to make tie-dye skirts, dresses, socks and more. You can even learn how to tie-dye nonclothing items such as pillows. Simon-Alexander’s passion and knowledge for tie-dying is evident, and it creates an informative book that is accessible to all.

“Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It” (Potter Craft, $22.99) by Shabd Simon-Alexander is available wherever books are sold. For more information on Shabd Simon-Alexander, visit www.shabdismyname.com.

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