To Dye For

I made a new Churn Dash block the other day for the quilt I’m currently working on using fabrics from the line called “Cheddar and Indigo” by Penny Rose Studio. Because these fabrics have been out for five years, I don’t have a full set of the line and am lacking light prints for the background. I’ve filled in with cream tone-on-tone prints from my stash.

Imagine my delight when I stopped by an LQS (that’s Local Quilt Shop for you non-quilters) the other day and happened upon two fat quarters of a light print from a different Cheddar and Indigo line, this one by Nancy Gere for Windham Fabrics. A perfect addition, I thought. After making my block I thought it looked just fine . . .


. . . until I put it up on my design wall in the company of some other blocks:

I had thought the new background fabric was creamy but it looked positively snowy white against the other blocks. What to do? I wondered if I could tea-dye the fabric. I’d never done it before but how hard could it be? After a bit of research on the Internet, I approached my task.

First, I found the widest shallowest bowl in my kitchen, one that was big enough for the block to lie almost flat on the bottom:


After removing the block, I plopped one tea bag in the bowl and filled it halfway with boiling water. I let the teabag steep for 90 seconds, then fished it out of the bowl when the water was a nice light brown. In went the block for a timed tea bath of three and a half minutes:


I could have let it steep longer but I wanted just a bit of color. I figured I could always dip the block a second time if it wasn’t dark enough.

After removing it from the bowl I plunged it into a bowl of cold water to which I had added a couple tablespoons of white vinegar (a tip from the Internet, intended to set the dye so it wouldn’t wash out when laundered). When the block was dry I gave it a good pressing . . .

and put it back up on the design wall:

Can you see the difference? It’s very subtle but unmistakably a better match with the other backgrounds.

Here’s a look at the block before and after:

Mission accomplished! Now I just have to tea-dye what’s left of the two fat quarters so I can make some more blocks.

 

 

 

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7 Responses to To Dye For

  1. Diane says:

    Genius!

  2. Vickie Rooks says:

    You are such an engineer! I love how your experiment turned out!

  3. KC says:

    Love the effect on fabric. Not so great to get same result on teeth!

  4. Arden Shelton says:

    Dawn…..using coffee instead of tea creates a warmer tone. I prefer using it…..same process….

  5. Linda Dyer says:

    I love tea dyeing — the subtle changes are perfect.

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