Time for more DIY! Recently I went to my brothers' house. They had damage due to storms a few weeks ago and were having repairs done. I volunteered to stay there while the repairs were being done (both had to work). I ask if they have any coffee or if I should bring some with me. I was told by one of my brothers that he "thought" there was some left in cabinet but was not sure (he is a long distance truck driver and had the coffee in his truck.) Just in case I brought some of the India Balmaadi Estate (http://www.roaste.com/product/Portola/India-Balmaadi-Estate) that we had in the house. I planned to make a pot for the workmen (and of course drink it myself).
I get to my brothers' house and find a box of coffee way back in the cupboard (it had dust on it). I decided not to use it but made "the good stuff" instead. It turns out the box I found was a Christmas gift from five years ago. It was never opened but I was not going to drink it. As the repairs were being done I decided to do an experiment with it. I decided to see if I could use the coffee to dye yarn.
I only had baby yellow yarn so used that. I separated enough into three small balls. One I did not dye. One I put completely in the coffee and the third I put half in/half out (using my crochet hook to hold it halfway). I soaked the yard for six hours. My biggest problem was that I was too impatient to let the yarn air dry so I put it in the dryer with a towel and it took me time to untangle it.
The picture below shows the results of my experiment. The diagonal strand is the yellow yard. The horizontal strand is the coffee dyed strand and the vertical strand is the half dyed (it gives a tie-dyed look).
The yarn smells nice. I have the formula that I used below. I think I will try this again. Just the looks the repairmen were giving me made it worth it!! For the record they enjoyed the India Balmaadi very much.
Steps to use coffee as a dye:
• Dip the fabric in the tea or coffee solution. It takes 20-60 min. to completely saturate the fabric. If the color is not dark enough, return it to the solution.
• Dry a portion to check that the color is correct. If it's not dark enough, re-submerge in the solution. Let air dry; or use a hairdryer - - you need dry only one portion of the fabric to check for color. Generally, the color will dry lighter than it looks wet.
• If the color is ok, return the fabric to same dyebath for 5 min. more, -but- with 1 t alum added to the dye solution (this is for a 13" x 9" cakepan filled with dyebath). The alum is a mordant and sets the color. Vinegar also ok as a mordant, but it smells. Don't use -water- with alum because the water causes the dye to bleed. Buy alum at a drugstore.
• In washing needlework, you will note an apparent discrepancy. You are warned not to let the piece dry with bleeding dye on it. That's because this dye has been set with a mordant during the manufacturing process. If it dries, it's set, and you're stuck. In home-dyeing, however, the color isn't set until you add the mordant to the dye bath. -Now- if the piece dries, you're stuck.
• The dyebath may be reused, but you'll get the same color as for the previous use because there's alum (mordant) in it. Time the first soak if you intend to reuse the dyebath and want the same color.
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