Monday, November 3, 2008

Is this pink?

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My sister works at Starbucks, where she's become very familiar with with Tazo tea. She gets a fair amount for free. In fact, she was the one who suggested dyeing yarn with Tazo Passion Tea, a deep pink tea. I snagged a few bags from her, and yesterday I gave it a shot.

I read up a little bit before I got started, but basically I winged it. There is a little bit on tea dyeing out there, but not much on herbal tea dying.

Dying Yarn with Passion Tea

I filled a pot with water, and when the water was almost at a boil I put in four of the Passion Tea bags. I clipped it on the side of the pot with a paperclip to make it easier to take out later.

Dying Yarn with Passion Tea

After steeping for about ten minutes, I took out the tea bags. You can see that the color is pretty deep at this point. According to the Tazo website the main ingredient in Passion is Hibiscus, which explains the deep color. There are also rose hips and red poppy, which I imagine are red or pink, but I don't know how much they affect the color.

Dying Yarn with Passion Tea

I added about four or five "glugs" of vinegar to the dye bath. (I think it's supposed to help the dye set.) Then I put in the yarn. I used one skein of KnitPicks Bare Merino Sock.

Dying Yarn with Passion Tea

Here it is after "simmering" for about half an hour. It was still pretty pale, so I decided to let it sit for a while. Overnight, actually.

Dying Yarn with Passion Tea

This is what I had when I came home from work today, nearly 24 hours after I started dying the yarn. It's pretty pale, but from this view it still looks pink.

Is this pink?

This is the first rinse.

Final Rinse

Here is the final rinse with some Eucalan.

Which leaves one question...

Is this pink?

Can I call this pink at all?

When my sister recommended, she talked about a bright pink. When I made myself a cup of tea, I was expecting something not so much bright, but deep. Magenta, sort of. During the dye process, I expected baby pink. But now that it's all rinsed and done, I don't know if I can call this pink at all.

This was sort of a test skein. I was going to sell it at the Fiber Friends Festival. If I liked it, I was going to make a bunch. While this isn't bad, it's barely dyed at all. It looks almost off white. I took several shots with and without flashes to show how different the color looks in different lights. Can I even sell this as dyed yarn? I guess I could always overdye it.

I don't know if there is anything different I can do to get the tea to dye the yarn a deeper color. I could add more tea bags, but after almost 24 hours, the yarn hadn't exhausted the dye bath. Would more tea really help?

I also wonder what would happen with regular Hibiscus tea. The passion tea also has licorice, cinnamon, lemon grass, citric acid and "natural flavors." I don't know if those made a difference. The cinnamon is probably what made it a little on the brown side.

Any advice is welcome and ideas are welcome.


Cayla said...

Isn't wool a booger to dye though? I think it needs pretty stout stuff. Have you tried it on cotton?

Katie said...

Aww, that's disappointing. I got the idea because when I steep a bag of it to drink, the actual bag turns deep magenta. It also stains like a bitch on my white polo shirts (Mom got it out with a bleach pen though). I hope you figure out how to make it come out darker. I'll get you a box to experiment with.

Katie said...

Also, to make a cup of tea, it's one bag to 6-8 oz of water. Maybe you need more bags?

Just a thought.

SpinalCat said...

You're gonna need some kind of mordant for almost all plant (or bug) dyes. Alum is usually considered the least harmful.