Dying for some tea (part 1)

When I was a child, I had a cotton sweater I loved to wear.  It was bright white, short sleeved, and every time I wore it, I spilled something on it.  Tea, Coke, orange juice, ketchup, more tea, I never wore the thing for a full day.  We called it the Fated Sweater and Mum bleached it viciously every time I wore it.  But what if you spilled the tea on purpose?

I had a cunning plan to dye some handspun yarn before knitting with it.  The final product would be spun, plied, dyed, and knitted by me.  There happens to be on hand a small skein of handspun greyish-white mohair, a kerchief pattern for the right amount of yarn, and some black tea.  In my house there is always tea.

According to one source, tea is a substantive, or direct dye, and needs no mordant.  According to another, I need to follow the dye-bath with a cold water fixative to make it permanent.  The forums on Knit Picks said to skip the whole fixative and mordant thing but pre-soak in water.  Yet another said to pre-soak in a 4 to 1 mix of cold water and vinegar.  Colour me confused.

Before dying the yarn.

I decided to go for the simple approach: soak the yarn in three cups of cool water with a smidge of Eucalan, brew up a nice bowl of hot tea, add yarn, and walk away.

Part 2 coming soon

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