Thursday, April 15, 2021

Tea Dyeing Linen--Results Are In

As encouraged by some commenters, a tea dyeing adventure started with me looking up on WikiHow about tea dyeing.  Lots of water, lots of tea bags, and some salt were advised.

Recommended number of tea bags seemed like a lot, but I gathered 13 black tea bags and got a stock pot full of water boiling.  I trimmed a strip off the white Cashell linen yardage and cut it into 3 pieces.

The kitchen smelled great.  I let the tea bags steep for a while--and checked the color strength.

Seemed dark enough, so I took out all the tea bags as directed.  I wet the three strips of linen and put them in the pot.  I checked the color after just a few minutes and pulled the first strip out at about 5-6 minutes as it was getting dark already.  It went in a vinegar and water rinse and then got patted dry in paper towels; the others I let steep longer.  I cut off more strips; one I swiped through the tea bath for about 30 seconds and let it dry.  I let one strip stay in a couple of hours as an experiment.  

This piece was steeped for only a few seconds full strength, and once dry, still was much darker than the cover model.  While  a pretty shade, I wanted more contrast for this project. Upon reflection, the Wiki instructions were for dyeing clothing, which accounted for the many tea bags, and recommendation for steeping overnight. Given the small amount of linen I was dyeing, I then dumped out the pot probably to about 1/4 the original strength, added more water, and heated it back up. The dilution was much better for my desired linen color, closer to the pattern cover. It was a fun experiment.

The floss skeins are lying on top of the original white linen in the photo. It is quite a big piece of linen still. Whether I tea dye the whole piece or not, I am not going to want to start the stitchery on a piece that large.  I need to decide how many inches larger than the design I should cut the linen--the pattern gives the finished stitching size as 8x12 inches.   I'm thinking maybe 5 inches greater all  four sides around?  That should leave plenty of room for mounting, I should think.  Opinions/advice welcome! 


Barb said...

what a great palette of tea dyed pieced.
I like the 30 seconds - maybe even try 45.
happy stitching.

Julierose said...

I really like that one hour piece--kinda like Goldilocks --not too dark not too light--just right ;)))
Hugs for a fun weekend stitching on your linen...hugs, Julierose

Sherrill said...

WOW!! You really had lots of variables in your dyeing so you came up with one that was close. Are you going to dye? I'd think 5" extra on each side might be too big, maybe 3-4 max (unless you want more between stitching and frame).

Janet O. said...

You were very thorough, Annie. I don't think I have ever used that many teabags at once, but you got results much quicker than I did. I lean toward the 30 second one as well, but if you want to match the color of the original, the 10 second 1/4 strength looks good. You do have one floss color that may disappear on it, but if it surrounded by other colors it may be exactly what you want.
Thanks for sharing your results.

Quilter Kathy said...

Very interesting experiment! Like Janet said, you want to have enough contrast with your floss colours so they don't disappear into the background when you stitch with them.

Debbie said...

What a great experiment for trying so many different times to achieve a range of colors. Personally I like the one in the middle. I think that if it is too dark, it will not allow your colors to shine. And they are beautiful. I look forward to seeing progress: such a pretty cross stitch pattern.