Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tea Dye for Crochet Cotton

Those of you who follow my blog may be familiar with the ongoing saga of my crochet lace veil. I posted some of the samples I made here and here, and I have outlined my progress in photos over here on imgur.

To catch you up on things, I decided to crochet the lace to go around my bridal veil, and I've been working away on this for about a year, if not longer.

Well folks, this past Saturday, I finished the lace! 18.5 FEET of beautiful Sz 20 lace.

Except that the lace is white, and my dress is ivory. So I needed to tea dye it to match my dress.

Now, I had never tea dyed anything before, but I did have a sample of fabric from my dress shop, so that I could at least have a goal color to work off of.

I read about tea staining over on Dahlhart Lane blog, and I decided to use some of my old lace samples to run some tests.

I used 1 teabag for 2 cups of hot water. With the teabags and the lace all in a mason jar, I added the water and shook it all up. For the record, teabags EXPLODE when you shake them in a mason jar. Don't do what I did.

I removed my lace samples after 5, 10, and 15 minutes in the tea bath. Anticipating that they might be darker when wet, I waited for them to dry before comparing them to my dress fabric.



Once I knew the time I needed (5 minutes or less) I washed up my veil lace. I wanted to get rid of any residual oils from my hands, and any incidental dust or dirt. I was SHOCKED at how dark the water got. So GROSS! So I washed and rinsed the lace (using a dab of dish soap) three times total, just to be sure.
Finally it was all nice and clean again!





I prepped my bowl by adding 3 teabags and 6 cups of hot water, but I let the tea steep for a few minutes and then I removed the teabags. I was SO nervous about dunking my lace into the tea! All that hard work! But I set the kitchen timer for 4 minutes and placed it into the tea bath. After 4 minutes, the lace matched my dress sample fabric perfectly. Knowing it would dry a little lighter, I gave it another 30 seconds in the tea bath before I pulled it out and rinsed it. After a thorough rinsing, I washed it with a dab of dishsoap and laid it out to air dry. I chose not to block it at this point because, dear LORD, can you imagine pinning all of that. NO. no no no no no.



Once it was dry, it was a big ugly wad of creamy ivory. I got to work ironing it. This was the most amazing part. Time consuming, but amazing. It was so great pulling this ugly wad of material, pressing it, and having this lovely bit of lace appear on the other side!



So it is crochetted, dyed, pressed, and ready to be sewn onto tulle. I'm going to try and work with some family this weekend to get it completely finished!!!

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