The "Rise and Fall and Rise Again" of my shammy tie-dyeing!!! The process and THE COLLECTIONS"
Updated: Feb 21
Like with everything new, you learn as you go along! And it was a hard and costly learning curve for my shammy adventure!
Although I researched well; found a Chinese manufacturer; saw samples; ordered fabric dyes; etc, I still managed to buy a very substantial quantity of "wrong shammies". I have seen divers use shammies during competitions, but they must have been the gentlest divers ever, as only when I attended the Ulla Klinger Cup in Aachen in November, I had the biggest eye opener of how the shammies are used by European top junior divers! And they pull them, and they bite them, and they suck on them, and they pick them and ... I realised that my poor shammies don't stand a chance of "survival" as they don't have the reinforced mesh in the middle! They weren't any more expensive to buy, I just LIKED the feel of the ones I ended up ordering!!!
So November was a back to the drawing board month of research, looking for new suppliers, ordering, paying, paperwork, customs, waiting for delivery...will they be good quality?! But great relief when the new year brought me the new batch of great quality fully "diver proof" shammies!
Some parents might wonder why shammies are so expensive to buy?! It is not the white product in itself. It is the long hours spent tie-dyeing them and getting them ready to be sold to the customers! After the slow start, trial and error with the first batch, I became slightly more organised and proficient in the process with the new shammies. No matter how many YouTube videos you watch and how many articles you read, it's the hands-on process that is much harder than you think! I am lucky, as I consider myself of having an artistic eye and willing to experiment with colours, otherwise who else in the right mind, would use muddy looking dyes to create an "earthy colours / camo" shammy!
So now the processes have become a bit more organised: Tying (in front of the TV in the evening) 30 pieces or so in one batch; Dyeing early morning for maybe 2-3 hours at a time (on my kitchen tiled floor to keep the place as easy to clean afterwards as possible); the longest probably process that also consumes all my hot water in the tank and also extra electricity: Rinsing and Washing with soap, and Rinsing again until water runs clean; Fixing the colours and rinsing again. Then they all need to be dried and ironed flat (more electricity and time spent) for easy storage and transport to the competitions.
I already have given names to the shammy collections, yet to be loaded on the www.acquawear.com website.
There will be a "Rainbow" collection - which celebrates every diver quest for the pot of gold medals, being Skills Age Groups, Elite, Junior or World and Olympic gold! It doesn't really matter the level, the dream is the same, as powerful for the young Skills diver as for the seasoned Olympic diver!
A "Barbed Wire" collection which recognises the pain that the divers go through: Mental blocks to achieve that particular dive you need for the next level; and Physical pain during the learning process - in the gym, dry boards or the pool, when you hit the water at high speed, the red marks appear followed by the purple and then yellowing massive bruises.
And the "Butterfly Wings" collection which wishes every customer to have the easiest of rides on the wind down to the water in a perfect straight position; as few Barbed Wire events as possible and to find that pot of Gold at the end of the Rainbow!
You wonder maybe what happened to the shammies from the first lot!? I cannot believe how versatile they are!
- I thought to use them for washing the windows. Perfect! Easy to use, no residues left on the windows.
- I needed a new duster! Perfect for that job as well! As they are slightly damp, dust sticks to it leaving a perfectly clean surface behind!
- My daughter ran out of makeup wipes during the Christmas holidays! Perfect job for that as well! A bit of cleanser on the soft spongy cloth takes makeup off perfectly! And they are reusable, so good for the environment! By the way, I gave her a new one, not the duster one!
- I realised after, that the PVA shammy can also be used for sponge body wash for elderly or babies; to maybe put on the baby changing mat to catch any nappy off incidents and for so many other uses.
The shammies are easy to rinse, or wash, even stick them in the washing machine! Just don't use softeners and dryers. Just air dry them!
If anyone wants to try them, these are cheap! £2 each! Plus postage.