Thursday, August 9, 2012

How To Dye Yarn with Tea

Thanks to everyone who has supported TEA+WOOL thus far. As you know, each purchase makes a difference for the shelters in India, and we really appreciate each purchase. Today I want to share my WIP pictures of the tea-dying process.

bare yarn

When the bare yarn came to me from India, it was in quite a state, and took up a full three Ikea-bags. Each big skein of yarn was actually made up of three smaller skeins, each around 100g (you can see the small skeins on top of the pile). There were about 250 skeins waiting to be dyed. 

the crockpot set up

After the yarn was separated, it went into a mordant bath. Mordant is a chemical that helps the yarn absorb the dye. You can use a few different chemicals depending on the fiber, the dye, and your desired results - I used Alum. The Alum and the yarn went into a crock pot and cooked on low for about two hours. 

yarn in the crock pot
Mmmm, looks yummy!

After the mordant, I drained the crock pots, and refilled them with fresh water and tea. Each of the yarns were dyed with their namesake teas (Chamomile, Lemon Grass & Darjeeling). These also cooked on low until it was bed time, at which point I turned off the crock pot and let them cool overnight, still soaking in the tea. 

All this crock pot cooking made my apartment smell like a cooked sheep! Needless to say, we didn't host many parties while I was dyeing. 

Yarn hanging to dry

In the morning the yarn was rinsed in fresh water and hung to dry in the bathroom. Check out that tile! After drying for a day or two, each skein was twisted and put into a fancy W+S label, and that's where you'll find them today

W+S Yarns


  1. I SO have to try this now!! Thanks for sharing the process!

    1. Let me know if you do, I'd love to see the results!

  2. Very cool! Sounds like it would be fun to try!


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