Between pulling together tax paperwork, layering and pin-basting a large quilt, and watching the Super Bowl tonight (while beginning to hand quilt said large quilt), cooking up something warm in the kitchen seemed like the thing to do today. So I pulled six very old tea bags from the cupboard (two organic black tea and four Earl Grey, since that's what was available and too old for human consumption) and heated them in a big soup pot.
First I threw in a strip of organic cotton sateen I had printed through www.Spoonflower.com from a pen-and-ink drawing I'd done as a child. It had a white background that was just too jarring to me:
It steeped for five minutes and was tinted just enough to take the edge off of the white. You can see the subtle difference between the tea-dyed fabric (right) and the fabric without tea (left).
So I immersed the top half of a quilt top I had pieced last summer in the tea for 30 minutes on medium heat. It created a subtle but warmer background for the black line drawings as well as a great aroma in the kitchen. I've included a swatch that wasn't tea-dyed on the left for comparison. It's interesting to see how the purple circle changed too.
Then, since there was still lots of pigment in the pot, I tossed in some cotton fabric I had designed and screen printed almost 30 years ago :). I think it will make really nice window valances for my new studio, which I'm in the midst of painting pale periwinkle and cream. :)
Like everyone else across much of the U.S., I'm very ready for warmer weather. I've got buckets full of hickory nuts in the garage just waiting to be turned into dye, and I recently received some gorgeous merino-silk jersey fabric from Christine Mauersberger's Hank & Spool Shop (http://christinemauersberger.com/hank-spool-shop/) that I can't wait to turn into a garment and dye outdoors in my yard. Christine sells wonderful supplies geared toward eco dyers, and the two different fabrics I've purchased from her shop are both really high quality and ideal for natural dyes. Be sure to check out her site.