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!


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!