Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

13 December 2007


I am so mad right now I can hardly see straight, so I hope you'll forgive any typos.

The ACU, for those of you lucky enough not to know, is the Army combat uniform, the new pixilated camo one.

The first inkling I got that I was going to hate this new uniform came in the form of a long .PDF file on how to wash it, or more precisely, what not to wash it in.

It turns out that if you wash the ACU in detergent that contains optical brighteners, which is most of them, it becomes weathered-looking. (Boo hoo! I'll bet a lot of our troops are just freakin' devastated! Weathered-looking!)

What kind of an idiot orders fabric for goodness knows how many tens of thousands of uniforms without test-washing it in ordinary laundry detergent first?

Well, I looked at the long list of "Don't Use This"1 detergents, and the very short list of "These are Okay"2 detergents, and told my husband if he wanted his uniforms washed all special, he was welcome to buy his own detergent and do the job, but if he wanted ME to wash his uniforms, they were going in the perfume-and-dye free laundry detergent with the rest of the laundry.

Funny how he didn't jump right in and go shopping for detergent.

The next clue that I wasn't going to like this came the first time I washed it.

The ACU is plastered with velcro. They say turn it inside out. Yeah, like that keeps socks from crawling inside and getting comfy with the velcro. And even if there isn't a sock in the load, the uniform trousers have this cord that comes out and plasters itself to the pocket velcro and does a little tango thing with shirt sleeves, so you pull this big wad of tangled-together laundry out of the washing machine after that looks like octopusseseseseses have been mating in there.

And the worst part, the thing that has got my undies all in a bunch today, is pen slots. The top has about sixty-eleven little pen slots for the guys to forget their black (did I mention BLACK?) ink Government pens in. And guess who did that last night?

And guess whose uniform, all nice pale pixilated camo with no black (except for the name and US Army tags -- those are black), went through the wash with a BLACK government ink pen in one of those stupid slots?

If you're designing uniforms for ninety kabillions troops, here are some tips for you:

  • Test-wash the fabric first in common household laundry detergents. Reject it if it can't be washed without getting all frou-frou and delicate, or heaven forbid, starting to looked "weathered".

  • Velcro in a washing machine is a bad thing. It snags onto anything it can and hangs on through the whole cycle, wringing and twisting stuff up. Don't put it in there.

  • Giving guys who forget one pen eight or ten places to forget a pen is a BAD idea.

  • If you are cleverly going to omit the color black from the uniform, maybe it would be a good idea to omit the black from the pens. B******s

    I hate the ACU. Right now what I wouldn't give for a river and some rocks to bash the dang thing on.

    Dreft Liquid
    Dreft Powder
    Era Liquid (all versions)
    Gain Liquids (all versions)
    Gain Powders (all versions)
    Ivory Snow Liquid
    Ivory Snow Powder
    Tide Liquids (all versions)
    Tide Powders (all versions)
    Tide Tablets (all versions)
    Fab (all versions)
    Dynamo (all versions)
    Ajax (all versions)
    Suavitel Fabric Softener (all versions)
    All laundry products made by Colgate-Palmolive
    Arm & Hammer Liquid (all versions)
    Arm & Hammer FabriCare Powder (all versions)
    Arm & Hammer Fresh ‘n Soft Fabric Softener (all versions)
    Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
    Rain Drops Water Softener and Detergent Booster
    DeliCare Fine Fabric Wash (all versions)
    Wisk (all versions)
    All Liquid (all versions)
    Surf Liquid (all versions)
    Yes (all versions)
    All Dial Laundry Products including:
    Purex Powder (all versions)
    Purex Liquid (all versions)
    Purex Fabric Softener (all versions)
    Purex Baby (all versions)
    20 Mule Team Detergent (all versions)
    Zout (all versions)

    Bold Powder
    Cheer Liquid (all versions)
    Cheer Powder (all versions)
    All Powder (all versions)
    Surf Powder (all versions)
    Spray ‘n Wash (all versions)
    Calgon (all versions)

    Blogger TinkingBell said...

    Designed by men - what morte can I say!! Like the food processor it is impossible to get the bits out of when washing up and the washing machine with a gap which eats socks! And Terry Pratchett - Oh noooooooooo!!! Just finished making money and laughed and now feel like crying - I've been reading his books for 24 years - Get busy busy busy brain people!!!

    5:23 PM  
    Blogger Julie said...

    Ah, you're bringing back memories of the days when the husbeast would crawl through the bilges of submarines, fixing them. And I would make him undress on the front porch, down to the skin, in full view of the neighborhood. Then we'd wash the uniform ten or twenty times.

    They still reeked the next morning.

    I feel your pain. I say screw it, and let the uniforms look weathered.

    7:56 PM  
    Blogger catsmum said...

    stupid uniform!
    and I'm another who is upset by the thought of TP loosing his wonderful whimsical ability with words.
    The fact that what he wrote on Discworld News was so calm and so funny made it hurt worse

    5:21 AM  
    Anonymous Daniel Gutting said...

    The list of safe detergents is all wrong. The best authority is at Atsko.com in tech articles . The first article under "laundry care".
    Hope this helps, Dan

    8:44 PM  

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