…is a virtue I clearly haven’t got! Having seen the photos on our Whatsapp group of everyone’s tea-dying, I decided I couldn’t wait any longer!

This was the piece I started at a Deb Cooper workshop at my Skipton Stitchers meeting a couple of weeks ago. The workshop plan was for us to make a strip but she also gave us the option of making a fabric book, which is what I chose to do, I do have a soft spot for textile books.

Just to remind you, this is what the pages looked like before I soaked them in tea…

…one to take note of is the left hand one on the middle row on the left, the gold and copper coloured silk stripe. The idea behind this page is that when overlaid with the round window, it would look a bit like a setting sun. I used three different colours of silk dupion which were left over from my ballgown making days. The middle one is a lovely copper colour shot with crimson, alarm bells didn’t ring at all when I included this silk!

I included a few leaves and flowers from the garden in between the pages, added a sprinkling of iron filings and bound it tightly between two pieces of wood. I soaked it in green tea as it’s meant to give a nice blue/grey colour, rather than the brown of standard tea. I added a drop of white vinegar to the tea too in case it was needed for the dying process. I added my bundle to the mix in a large pan and simmered it for about an hour, I then left it to cool and popped it in a bag, supposedly for a week…

I lasted four days, to be fair I’m not convinced extra time would have changed anything.

When I first started leafing through the wet book, I couldn’t work out where all the pink had come from, then I got to my silk page…

Whilst it has faded a little after rinsing and drying, it’s still pretty pink! For over half the book there are smudges of pink, luckily I like the effect!

Silk does take up (and lose) dye very easily, the embroidered silk in the centre of the book is now a lovely mix of old gold, blues, greens and pinky-purples…

Having allowed the book to dry, I looked through again and felt the later pages didn’t have much colour in them, so I wet those pages and dabbed some silk paints on in greens, blues and purples. I put them on wet fabric and added lots of water until I got a nice gentle blend of colour over the last four pages. I then hung the book on the line to dry.

With the drying process a lot of the silk paint colour seems to have faded, some pages more so than others. The back page has quite a heavy cotton lace, this has taken the colour beautifully, I love it! Whereas two strips of cotton broderie Anglais haven’t taken much at all, so it’s not even the fabric base. Interestingly the strip of gold sari silk took very little colour during the whole process.

The leaves and flowers I added didn’t do much, but I did get some prints. I think the pages had too much texture to get even pressure. The page above had a leaf over the circle, hence the patch, however you can also see the veins of a leaf through the window. I love this one. I’m not sure what kind of leaf it was, possibly purple sage, it has three or four leaves imprinted, together with the stem and veins. This was on a simple linen page with the window opposite, so both pages with not a lot of texture.

The book needed a pretty cover. I’d used some ivory 100% wool felt for the cover when I was stitching the whole book together, this had dyed to a nice warm oatmeal. When I was binding up my book I’d included some scraps of linens and cotton with the idea of maybe using some of it on the cover. I played for ages until I was happy with my arrangement. I embroidered the name of the workshop onto a piece of coarse linen with some variegated thread which nicely picked up colours in the book. I frayed a square of cotton before stitching them onto the felt with simple running stitch, continuing the lines across the cover. The back has a square of eucalyptus fabric so I ended up with a nice criss-cross of lines. The centre needed a little something so I found a tiny scrap of lace which just nicely filled the space.

There’s nine double page spreads altogether so too many to photograph, but I’m wondering about trying to video it so I can put it on instagram, I’ll let you know if I have any success with that!!

I love my little book, I’m not sure how much I’ll dabble in eco-dying but it’s been interesting trying it and at least I know sort of how to do it now! The workshops I attend at my stitch-group are often ones I’d never think to go on on my own, they’re often just not the sort of textile work I’m drawn to, but they push me out of my comfort zone and I always end up really enjoying both the workshop and the piece I’ve created. I really enjoyed this workshop by Deb Cooper, encouraging me to trying lots of new techniques and to create something completely different from my usual style. She’s based up in the North-East of England if anyone fancies going to one of her workshops, I would certainly recommend them. She’s very approachable, she has lots of inspiring samples, she explains stuff simply and takes the mystery out of eco-dying, using common, everyday products!

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
This entry was posted in embroidery, Skipton Stitchers, Textile Books, Workshops and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Patience…

  1. anne54 says:

    Gosh, the embroidered silk page is just lovely! It seems like one of the intriguing things about eco dying is the serendipitous nature of the process, with unexpected results teaching us to go with the flow.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Helen says:

    Looks amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tialys says:

    I’ve used tea to dye linen before but I like the idea of green tea and your floral additions for a more nuanced effect.
    (p.s. you might like to edit the second paragraph after your first photo 🀣)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amo says:

    Well I think it worked fabulously! It’s very delicate like a lot of your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is a beautiful little book. I too have tried and retreated from dyeing


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