August 3, 2009

Fun with Tea Dyeing

I'm always on a search for eco-friendly dyeing methods. I recently tried out Tea Dyeing, and it was a delightful process! I brewed up a jar of really strong black tea (which also had some other herbs such as rose petals and lavender in it- I'm not a big fan of rose-tasting anything) and submerged a skein of 100% cotton yarn in it overnight:



I pulled it out the next day and it was stained a lovely antiqued color. Black Tea is naturally high in Tannins, which have been used for thousands of years to tan animal hides to make leather. From all the sources I have read so far, people have done dyeing with teas and their tannins without having to add the toxic mordants that a lot of natural dyeing requires (thus, making it not so natural anymore). From my understanding, this is because tannins have their own built-in mordants (pls correct me if i am wrong here!)

Anyways, one of the projects I have been wanting to make this summer has been sunhats, and I thought cotton would be the perfect fibre for this. So here is the hat I made:

It has a few rows of some other pre-dyed yarn in it as well that I thought mixed nicely with the tea yarn:It is really hard to capture the subtle variations in the yarn on camera.
I listed the hat in my shop the other day, and hope to experiment with some more tea dyeing again!

2 comments:

PrairiePeasant said...

Thanks for the tip! I've overdyed fabric with tea, but never thought of yarn. Your hat turned out beautifully!

laurabucci said...

It's a shame that something natural turns into not so good a thing.

The tea yarn looks very nice -- very natural. It's great!