Dyeing with Tea (Sweater Dunking)

My first prototype for the Any Gauge Raglan is finished. I’ve been knitting this pullover for several weeks and calling it the Pepto Bismol sweater.


It’s a bright pink colour which I would never wear or even knit with usually but it was in my stash, and is now discontinued, so was perfect for my first experimental sweater. There was the real possibility that it might not work out at all and then nothing is lost except my time. It’s not that I don’t like pink but I favour a very pale pink colour with lots of white in it and this is not that.

So what should I do when the sweater actually worked out? Once I had the yoke done I figured I should just finish it up since everything was going so well. The whole time I knew I couldn’t wear it. Continuing to call it the Pepto Bismol sweater was probably a clue.

This is where the tea comes in. I had been reading up on home dyeing (without chemical dyes) and the idea of tea was kind of interesting. I put a piece of pink yarn in my tea cup, which I was actually drinking at the time, just to see what would happen. I liked it.

I’m at my camp where I don’t have a proper kitchen but I can handle making tea. I steeped 3 pots of tea with 10 tea bags in each time and poured it into lots of cold water in a rubbermaid bucket. I wet the sweater with the hose and then I dumped it in.


Yup, the whole thing, in it went. I left it outside on the deck for 24 hours. I don’t think it changed colour after about 3 hours but I left it in anyway. Next morning I had to work to get the sweater tea-free but after several dunkings in cold water I thought the water was coming up pretty clear.

The tea took the brightness off. It’s more of a rose colour now I guess. Still pink but not so bright (it’s a little bit more orangey than this photo shows).


I’m happy with the results. I’m really glad I took the chance and did it. This sweater has a story now.

Do you have a sweater that you can’t wear because of the colour?

Share this with your knitting friends. They might have a sweater that could use a tea bath. Thanks for reading,


FOLLOW ME and I’ll send you a Gauge Free hat pattern. It’s a great stash buster.

Cabin Fever patterns on ravelry

Author: debgemmellmods

I'm a Knitter. The capital K means every day, everywhere. I'm co-owner of Cabin Fever with my sister Lyn. We have published over 100 patterns and 11 books. I'm also working on a new set of patterns for Any Gauge knitting. Dive into your stash and cast on for a Top Down sweater that fits, or an accessory to use up those odd balls of yarn.

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