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Tea dye samples Tea with iron after mordant L-R: Silk pongee with and without alum pre-mordant, wool with alum pre-mordant, wool, cotton and viscose.


This method of dyeing can give you an evenly coloured piece of fabric.


1. Boil up the tea in water for about an hour. Use a stainless steel or enamel pan that’s only used for dyeing.


2. Meanwhile wash your fibre to remove any dressings/grease. I use a special detergent called synthrapol but you can also use washing liquid. For wool and other protein fibre


53 | ukhandmade | Spring 2012


handwash gently. For cotton and other cellulose fabric you can use a washing machine (fibre/yarn is probably best handwashed too). Leave your fibre damp.


3. Remove the tea bags/leaves from the dye bath (either strain it or fish out the bags). If you’re using wool any big change in temperature can make it felt, so either cool the dyebath down, or slowly dunk the


wool in warmer and warmer water.


4. Immerse your fibre in the dye bath and very slowly bring the lot to a boil (or almost a simmer for silk). Stir regularly and gently until it’s been cooking for around an hour, then turn off the heat and let it soak until cooled (keep stirring occasionally).


5. Wash your fibre with detergent and rinse until the water runs clear,


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