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By creating purposefully handmade fiber artwork and goods, I seek to enrich the lives of the people around me with unique and beautiful pieces.


Dyeing with Tea and Turmeric

Dyeing with Tea and Turmeric

One advantage of living alone means I can do projects at any time of the day or night and not worry about them bothering a roommate. For instance, I can try out natural dyeing while simultaneously dancing to some beats - all at some ungodly hour. This dyeing project involved lots of turmeric and tea, and probably smelled terrible, but fun fact: I have a very bad sense of smell, so it doesn't bother me at all. The turmeric is a beautiful yellow spice that, when heated to a simmer, dyes white fabric a gorgeous sunny yellow. Honestly, it's all I could do to keep myself from throwing everything I own that's white into the pot. I used half of one of those tiny canisters of turmeric.

Dyeing with Tea and Turmeric
Dyeing with Tea and Turmeric

The same goes for the black tea. I heated about 8 teabags in probably 7-8 cups of water to a boil, and let that simmer for a bit before throwing in more white pieces. The black tea creates a beautiful neutral shade of antique brown.

My process was very simple - I soaked my pieces in cold water with a splash of vinegar before wringing them out and putting them in the dye pots.

I let my pieces simmer in both pots for about an hour or so, stirring every so often. I will say - I bought a stock pot, big plastic bowl, and wooden spoons at Goodwill just for this project. I didn't want to stain or ruin any of my own things!

After the pieces had simmered, I fished them out and into a bowl of cold water. Do this separately for each color - don't mix them together. I transferred this bowl to the sink and began systematically rinsing and wringing them out. This is kind of a long process, so settle in for a little bit. You want the water to run completely clear before you lay or hang them to dry!

I strung twine above my sink to hang a few of the doilies, and laid out the rest of the fabric on an old beach towel on my floor.

I gave my pieces a good ironing and set them out to admire. Look at the yellow!

I love the beautiful neutrals of the tea stained lace. Soak these in the tea for even longer if you want a darker, richer tone. I preferred the delicate beige. :)

Here is a comparison photo - look how bright the yellow is from the turmeric!

Another comparison photo:

Have fun with your natural dyeing! My next adventure will include black beans and red cabbage - stay tuned!

P.S. I also used this technique to dye a thrifted white cotton T-shirt with turmeric. You can use this technique to get the yellow t-shirt yarn for my April 2017 pattern of the month! Follow this wonderful tutorial from Mollie Makes to make the t-shirt yarn - it's fantastic.

Explore: Harrisville

Explore: Harrisville

My Growing Plant Family

My Growing Plant Family

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