Saturday, June 21, 2008

Old t-shirts never die, they just get used as rags

I had a flood in my shop last week. For some reason I had woke up at 2am and actually headed to work at 3am. I never do this, but I was drawn to the disaster that was going on. I opened the door and water was 1" deep in the shop and spraying from a nozzel that had broke in the night. I grabbed what I could find, t-shirts, and threw them on the floor. By 5a.m I had done enough to where I could leave and go back to bed hoping somehow that maybe the entire fiasco was a bad dream. It wasn't, but even though the damage was limited I am most impressed that I somehow got up in the middle of the night and found this mess before it got any worse.

I am working on installing a wholesale t-shirt wiki at I plan to use the site as a more definitive place to develop descriptions of all of the different aspects of screen printing and t-shirts. This blog works good, but the organization is linear by date and I need a place to organize the information I need for my customers by subject. Just text editing on a blog is tough, but limited information edited over time should provide useful tips that will be helpful for hundreds of years. Once it is up and running I'll start pasting some of the information about shirts from here on the wiki.

I also need to block the spammers from this wiki. This is the only reason the t-shirt wiki has been postponed. Everytime I start a bulletin board / forum it gets overrun by spammers. the same thing happened as soon as I started a wiki on Then I went to upgrade to a more recent wiki from and I needed php 5.0 to run the database. This required me to try a new server for the database to work on, so I am trying a new company that hopefully has the php5.0 built in to thier database servers. La, La, La. I can only say that if you think screen printing is tricky, you should try networking and running a database. It makes screenprinting fun.

I don't remember if I mentioned this the other day, but I am working on a list of categorized characteristics for the various brands and styles of shirts that are commonly available for wholesale t-shirt printing jobs, hoodies too. There is a wide range of styles for t-shirts, some of which are organic t-shirts, some are ringspun, not printable, cheap, expensive and so on... Well I am going to try an summarize these items for a sort of cheat sheet for people to quickly figure out which type / brand of tshirt they are looking for. A briefing of this list can be found here: Wholesale T-shirts Brand List - work in progress.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My old post was about saving the world, but I digressed

yes, i was going to save the world. My co-worker, Aaron, sent me a PDF of photos with sympathetic sayings about the use of plastic bags and the effects on the environmen. After viewing it I realized that there is no reason to be using said bags in our store since number one, we can print on inexpensive canvas bags and practically give them away for free while advertising simultaneously, duh. Who needs a number two, duh. Ok, I have a number two, its, uh, number two...oh, yeah, paper bags, yes, paper is fine since wood is divine. I rymed, oh yeah. All things break down, but paper breaks down quicker, which makes bags superior. Earlier today I had to cut my entire shower curtain section after hearing that the release of phalaytes from opening a shower curtain is dangerous, hazard to your health. I will admit, those things stink after you open them. Now I'm on a search for an organic shower curtain that won't kill me while bathing. Rayon, Bamboo, Hemp? You would need a very strong rod to be able to sustain a cotton shower curtain. It would need to be water-resistant, flexible and light, like a force-field against water.

Comparing T-shirts for what they are, Cotton fiber knitted together

That's all there is my friend, cotton fiber. Let's throw out the dye and rip them all, if that's all, there is. When I was a young boy I used to fish at the pond by the mill and one day when daddy caught an bright orange fish and said, it's the from "The Mill". I thought to myself is that all there is to mutation? Then one day I was standing around a boat listening to racist talk about things that happened over 100 years ago from three-fingered people when I asked, "what happend to your hand?". The old man called Whitey (because of the lint in his head) said, "The Mill". I though to myself is that all there is to a hand? Then one day I was at a party for 4th of July that was put on by "The Mill" and since I went to the Mill school and lived in "The Mill" house on "The Mill" street I was able to attend. They had some of the best free hot dogs and the people that worked at "The Mill" got two weeks vacation. It was a lot of fun, but I couldn't help but wonder if they should've have to lose their hands, catch glowing fish and eat hot dogs for fun. Now I've worked for 20+ years in the cotton pushing business and although I still have all my fingers I can't help but think when people ask me stupid questions about t-shirts and printing on fabric that they shouldn't think it to be that important. It's not all it's cracked up to be to be in the fashion business, because it is still business. That's all it is.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Old t-shirts never dye, they just become rags

Pardon the pun, but I can't help but try and bee punny when writing on this blog. Who could possibly care this much about t-shirts to follow or not take humor in every nook and cranny of life when it comes to t-shirts. The only reason I've been successful at this is I don't care about being serious, otherwise I would've gotten a real job at the local money making factory. My point here is that I have been spending my afternoons drying old t-shirts that I used to soak up water from a flood I had in my new warehouse. Nothing like the floods that people are suffering through in Iowa and along the Mississippi River, but my own little version of a hose breaking and watering the cement. Luckily I woke up at 2a.m. that day and decided to go to work early, otherwise I could've increase the water-level of my the San Francisco Bay by a couple of inches had I shown up on my normal schedule around noon.

These shirts are still not worthy of being thrown away where they could decompose quietly. No, I'm planning on drying them out and printing on them again, for test prints and for cleaning out old ink. I just can't let them go. They aren't worth much, but what the hey it would cost more to buy rags than t-shirts, so why not. Plus I like the idea of drying clothes in the wind. I hang them all over my truck and then when I have to go somewhere I remember that they are hanging and I pull them all down quickly and toss them in the back, still damp.

Did you know that original photo-chemicals are commonly recognized as being when people dried their clothes in the sun and the light made the colors brighter. Without this type of human-brilliance we never would've had photography. The effect of the sun and air on garments makes them stiffer, but somehow they feel cleaner too. It's as if they fibers got to breath and they are empty of soil that comes from wearing clothes. These shirts aren't exactly clean either, since they have soil caked on them from the ground and from laying in the back of my truck, however, after they have hung for a few hours they seem cleaner, not quite wearable, but cleaner.

This is how I think the American people feel. There is nothing funny about it, but it is coincidental that the last time we elected a new Democratic President there was flooding in the summer in the Iowa region. This indicates that the nation may be going through a cleansing of sorts, baptismal-like, rinsing away the misdirected passions of the past so that we may move forward in the fall with a new approach, a new government. I couldn't help but mention this as something that only being old enough to notice would allow someone to consider the similarity of the times. Sure, there are also paralells between the end of the Nixon era and the begining of the Carter term, but I wasn't paying attention to politics and weather then. This is symbolic and as indicative of events as the Presidential polling.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Water-based short runs

I've been using water-based for my t-shirt samples since I don't have to heat up a dryer and for one-color jobs the inks are similar to plastisol inks. For bigger t-shirt printing runs white t-shirts I've been thinning down the black to make it similar to the water-based and have come to find that I like it a bit more than water-based because it doesn't bleed through to the inside of the shirt. Back and forth, that's how this challenge seems to be going. Water-based inks are good for this bad for that and the same goes for plastisol inks. There has been a lot of discussion lately about phalaytes. I wonder how that effects t-shirt inks. Basically if you are concerned about your carbon footprint then I suggest only white or natural shirts since they must have less coloring in them and require less ink to print.