I love tea so much that I often end up drinking 6-7 large cups a day. Inevitably, I have had some situations where I have accidentally spilled tea and found that it dyes a variety of surfaces fairly easily. Naturally, I had to experiment with it.
Being one of those people who never wants to jump into a situation without background knowledge and a firm plan, I looked at what others have done. After clicking around for a while I found a pretty good tutorial on how to dye yarn with black tea at a blog called tinateaspoon.
I didn't deviate too far from what she did; however, because I am a scientist, I feel obligated to record exactly what I did to allow for repeatability and to share the results of my experiment.
List of Materials Needed for Experiment:
-- 1 skein of non-acrylic yarn
For this experiment I decided to use some unloved Knit Picks Bare Swish DK (100% superwash merino wool) that I had crammed into my closet. Also, for the love of yarn, please skein and secure your yarn properly before dyeing or it will become a huge mess.
-- 3 bags of Lipton black tea
I'm fairly sure that fewer tea bags can be used, as my dye bath was pretty strong. I also do not think that they have to be unused tea bags either. I think that any black tea can be used, but that the Lipton is going to be a cheaper option.
-- Large stainless steel pot and spoon for stirring
As far as I'm concerned, any kitchenware used with food-based dyes can be used for cooking again, but this is really up to you.
1. Soak yarn in warm water for 1 hour.
2. Fill a stainless steel pot with water and bring to a boil.
3. Add tea bags to the pot and steep at a gentle boil for 1 hour.
4. Remove tea bags and gently add pre-soaked yarn to dye bath, ensuring that the yarn is completely submerged in the solution.
5. Keep solution at a gentle boil for 1 hour, stirring very gently (to avoid felting) every 20 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
7. Remove yarn from pot, rinse gently to remove excess dye, carefully squeeze to remove excess water, and then hang to dry.
Beautiful, naturally dyed yarn that you dyed yourself
with a gorgeous color you cannot easily find anywhere else.
Have you ever dyed with tea (or some other plant)? Please share your own experiences!