dye something! Polyester, to be exact, which is darn difficult to dye when using natural dyes. At least, that’s been my experience. I tried both tea and coffee and found both of them to be sorely lacking in the “stick to it” department. I found some polyester lace…which should be an oxymoron in my book!… and decided they needed some toning down. Frankly, they looked like sunshine on snow which is always a bit hard on the eyes. For my mixed media purposes, I wanted them to look like they had been around a while, aged with a hint of ‘real’ lace or as real as polyester can look.
I found two lace panels at a thrift store and paid, perhaps, a dollar for both of them. Each have ragged edges, perhaps someone had purchased them for another project and, eventually, decided to just toss them in the Goodwill box. Their loss, my gain -smile-.
I tried tea and coffee stains but they both washed out and in a hurry. Tea and coffee work well on natural fibers but can’t hold up to, or on to, polyester. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to try walnut water. This “walnut water” had been sitting around, outside, in a fourteen gallon plastic cat litter box, uncovered all winter and has gone through God alone knows how many freeze/thaw cycles. I put as many walnuts in the bucket as the bucket would hold, filled it with water and let it sit for three or four months. The water is really dark and should stain rather well.
After dunking the lace into the water, I placed a brick on top to hold it all down. The brick looks rather rough because it’s a slave made brick from the 1800’s. It’s still holding up rather well and useful in its own way.
The lace panel will be cut, or ripped, into pieces, as needed, and will provide some visual as well as physical texture.
The second lace panel was dyed in the same bucket, at the same time. Both pieces of lace have mottled coloring which only adds, in my view, to the character. I didn’t want something that looked like it had been dyed “perfectly”; I wanted something that looked like it had been lying around in a trunk for fifty or sixty years and am happy with the results. An additional benefit is the walnut water is still strong enough to dye some skeins of wool yarn!
Blessings ~ inexpensive lace ~ free walnuts ~ cat litter buckets ~ dyed lace ~ brick ~ wool yarn ~ warm and sunny enough to be outside! ~
Thanks for visiting Thistle Cove Farm,