I couldn’t sleep last night (the result of eating chocolate while making my chocolates – Valrhona packs quite a theobromine kick), so I got up at 3am and spent some time looking at scarf and shawl patterns. I decided I wanted to do one with natural-looking colors (after the riot of color in the last shawl, my eyes need a rest!), and with a subtle pattern, so I decided to do a complex pattern in beige and white, in silk.
However, I wasn’t at all confident in my ability to dye an even beige color using acid dyes – I’ve never tried pastels before – and was thinking about how to handle this when I realized that tea produces a lovely reddish-beige. Aha! So I ran off to the grocery store as soon as it got light out and bought myself a package of teabags.
And it worked! I boiled the entire package of teabags in two or three gallons of water, and threw in the silk. The dye “took” more or less instantly, producing a beautiful beige that is now drying on the back of a chair. After dyeing the first two skeins, I decided that I wanted to do two scarves in the same pattern, one white/beige and one beige/darker brown, so I threw two more skeins into the dyebath. I had forgotten that the first two skeins had partially exhausted the dyebath, so it took considerable soaking to get a nearly matching color, but I managed it in the end. The last two skeins aren’t quite as rosy beige as the other two – a bit more sallow in shade – but they’re about the same value and I’m hoping the difference won’t be too noticeable. With natural dyes, you get more variation than with acid dyes – it’s part of the fun, and hopefully will add to the scarf rather than detracting from it.
I haven’t yet decided how to handle the darker-brown scarf yet. I may dye the brown with acid dyes, and I may decide to go another route and dye it with coffee! At last, a use for instant coffee!
Anyway, that’s the news for today…I’m going back to sleep, then going out on my long bike ride, then have a dinner date in the evening, so probably no more fiber arts stuff for me today. Just as well–it will take a day or two for those skeins to dry, anyway.