Spot of Tea?

I've been sewing like a maniac to relax and work through everything going on, but also to meet deadlines for the upcoming guild quilt show (so exciting!!).  For our Art Quilt group challenge we made a Quilted Deck of Cards -- yup one mini art quilt for each card.  It's going to be a real treat to see all 52 together. 
I picked the nine of diamonds to make and began by raw stitch appliqueing this arm from a tiny lone star that didn't work out in a previous project.  Once I had it on the white background, I decided the white was too harsh.  Too bright.  So, what's a girl to do?  How about have a cup of tea?

I rummaged through my tea stash and found some very very old tea that I know was at least 5 years old.  It was pomegranate flavored.  I dunked the tea bags in nice hot water and then a test dip on the edges of the piece.  I say test dip, but goodness me, if it didn't work out I would have been left with a piece that had tea on it.  Next time, I will use a scrap to test with.

Luckily, I was excited by the already changing color and decided to dive right in.  So, I did what any girl would do and dunked the whole piece in the bowl with the hot water and tea bags.  Brave or crazy?  I still didn't know.

I got all the fabric in the tea water and put the tea bags on the top and then walked away for a bit to let it marinade.

I checked it here and there and finally pulled it out after about an hour; once it had achieved a nice brown-like antiqued look.  I'm really quite happy with how the whites took the tea dye in a similar way and how the tea accentuated the embroidery on the background fabric!

I rinsed the remaining tea from the fabric until it rinsed clean and then hung it to drip dry.  A quick press and I was ready to sandwich and quilt it.  I had a little fun quilting it with some of the embroidery stitches from my machine in red and pink thread.

And the last step was to add the nine black diamonds.  I used a piece of Styrofoam to make the diamond stamp and dipped it in black fabric paint to add them.

In the end I feel like the tea really worked to get the look I was going for and I can certainly see using tea dye again!!  Have you ever tea dyed fabric?
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