Smoke and Mirrors.

Us theatre folk have a lot of tricks up our sleeves.
Forced perspective, dry ice, the 'Kabuki' drop to name a few...
and tea-dipping.

White is often problematic on stage, whether it's theatre, television or film.
Under the lights it can flare, create 'hot-spots' and in a period piece; just look wrong. If you're doing something that has lots of caps, bonnets, cravats and petticoats, bleached whites not only look anachronistically modern, but often draw focus and appear harsh, especially against skin. Even "TV -white" scenic paint is a mid-grey, but looks white on camera.

During technical rehearsals the world over a legion of wardrobe supervisors frantically scribble notes like "Knock back Petruchio's shirt" or some such..& wardrobe departments' laundries get filled with buckets of cold tea with endless whites soaking in them.

And so it is with this ball of ggh Scarlett cotton.

It's a very soft-textured cotton in almost the right weight for the Top Down Bonnet. In fact it was the closest gauge-wise I could get at Champion Textiles. ( I really want to support small business and local business so I resisted going into Tapestry Craft...especially for only 1 ball!).
Except the colour...
Gleaming, flaring, napisan-fresh, ice-ice-baby icy-white.
Time to delve into the old bag o' tricks and tea-dip.
I haven't done this for a longass time. Not since I gave up doing costumes(I decided I needed a psychology degree as well to keep working with actors) and concentrated on sets.

So, the tea-dipping; It's vey straightforward and is, as the name suggests, simply dipping the prepared item in a cold solution of very weak black tea (finely strained of course). I documented so if anyone's remotely interested I'll do a tutorial in upcoming posts.

You end up with a lovely soft 'antique ivory' hue. It's drying as I type,so hopefully post with the finished colour tomorrow. I impatiently tried to hasten the drying process by putting it in the tumble dryer, then thought to look at the label (der!) which yields nothing more than:

Beanstandungen werden nur bearbeitet wenn alle Einstecker vorliegen.

I'm a quarter german myself but I really only know how to say "see you later", "that's a nice pen" and "Fabulous!" in deutsch, so
babelfish translated it for me into:

" objections only worked on if all in plugs to be present".

Right well, I had better work out what my plugs are.

...But maybe the triangle with the cross though it means no tumble drying...(I could never work out those graphic fabric-care symbols).

Sure enough the yarn had just started to unwind itself, nevermind I'm sure I can twist it back while I'm ball-winding (she thought hopefully to herself).


Blogger Julie said...

This was done among the Amish I grew up with in Ohio, to turn bright-white lace a more acceptable antique beige color. I don't know where I first heard of it, but I always considered it an old-fashioned thing to do, back when beige lace-weight was hard to find. Never realized the theater folks had picked up on it. How funny.

Hope your yarn turns out precisely the shade you want, and smells beautifully of tea.

1 October 2006 at 12:04 am  
Blogger Ashley said...

Isn't the ttriangle no iron? Those labels are impossible. Like visual Esperanto. You feel like you should be able to understand, but really you have no idea whatsoever.

This tea-dyeing thing: I have a couple of white shirts that could use a little antiquing. Hmm...

1 October 2006 at 11:30 pm  
Blogger knitlit kate said...

i can't wait to see the tea-stained ggh!

2 October 2006 at 6:01 am  
Blogger Carson said...

How fascinating about the amish tea-dipping. I wonder why the off-white was considered acceptable? Mabye bleaching is "devils work" ;)

Ashley..of course the triangle is no iron! sometimes I swear I'm the thickest smart person I know. I agree those international symbols are rather open to interpretation. Still..i would advise against tumble-drying this yarn. Hmm..not so practical for babywear..what truly is though?
The colour's turned out quite lovely. Ashley I'd start out with a very very weak solution first go..you can always build the colour up with additional dips. Much harder to wash it out later.

2 October 2006 at 2:07 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home