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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


 ~ polyester lace panel found at thrift store for pennies ~
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-.
~ walnut water with polyester lace being pushed down using a stick ~
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.
~ polyester lace in walnut water ~
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.
~ polyester lace after two weeks ~
The whole mess sat outside for two weeks, covered with a lid, and this is what it looked like as I was pulling it out of the walnut water. I like this; it looks old, aged, spotty with age even and will do quite nicely for my mixed media work. 
~ polyester lace drying on the line ~
The lace panel will be cut, or ripped, into pieces, as needed, and will provide some visual as well as physical texture.
~ second lace panel ~
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,


  1. Sandra, Awesome idea! I have done the tea/coffee thing. But, it never stays. I have walnut trees galore! Maybe I will put "up a bucket", let it cook and see what I can do with it :)


  2. Great results!! Does look antique! Thanks for sharing!


  3. Neat. I used RIT tan dye and dyed some panels several years ago. I tied them loosely in random places with yarn as I wanted the look you did. Old and mottled. It never washed out and was very easy. But not as cool as your dye bath. You win! :o)

  4. I have been frustrated in my attempts to dye polyesters too, but I don't have an abundant supply of walnuts in the shell , so would have to buy them at great expense around here. Good info Sandra, and I can already think of a lot of creative ideas for dyed lace.

    I read your last post too, what does it take for Verizon to do what is right and fair and the "powers that be" to help?

    What will you do should you need phone service in a true health emergency? Maybe you can let them know that should such an occasion arrive they will be sued? Think they actually would care?

    Hey, maybe Verizon should have one of their CEO's be on "Undercover Boss" to find out just how they are really perceived by employees and the phone calls and complaints they get.





  6. Fantastic! Here's wishing you a wonderful Easter!

  7. Lots of work, dying all that material. Nice to get the outcome you want. Have a great Easter weekend with your loved ones, from Odda, Hooch, and JoLynn - WestSideofStraight.

  8. Nice that you visited and I'll pass the thanks to powerline son --- Happy Easter to you and your family!

  9. Wow! You managed to make polyester look completely soft and appealing. Rayna and I collected black walnuts for my mom last fall and she came home looking far worse than Lynne and I ever did after husking pecans. It had just rained and the hulls were sloshy (and full of maggots... eww).

  10. Hi Misha - walnuts can dye most anything including yarn, fabric, hands, hair, face...grin.

    Hi Nancy - antique is what I wanted so it worked -smile-.

    Hi Angela - free always trumps bought -smile-.

    Hi KathyB - the verizon saga continues and not so good either.

    Hi Ron - blessed Easter to you/yours as well.

    Hi Moo - Happy Easter right back at ya!

    Hi JoLynn and others - hope your Easter was happy.

    Hi Country Girl - power line folks earn their money!

    Hi Eliza - I am so NOT into maggots.


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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