Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Any American girl, who grew up watching Jane Austin type classics, can identify with the feeling of awe when watching the exchange of niceties between two well-breed, fine ladies at tea time. The romantic mental image that comes to mind is that of the host asking her perfectly perched guest if she would like a spot of tea? As any proper lady, who is the epitome of utmost decorum would do, follows the previous question with... "would you like one lump or two"?
I remember the very first time that I came to visit Germany. My future mother-in-law had produced the most delightful spread of afternoon treats for the occasion. While it was not the traditional ritual of perfect-picture refinement and etiquette, I felt the inner girl in me beam with delight, when I noticed, sitting there before me was a bowl full of lumps... sugar cubes to be exact, which is something that is not so commonly found on the other side of the pond.
Perhaps it goes without saying that these two paper pieced tea cups remind me of that deeply engraved memory, and why their addition in my Penny Quilt, is just another way that this quilt is continues to tell my own personal story.
If you are familiar with American culture, then you know that tea is not such a deep seeded tradition. Our culture seems to be more about take-it-on-the-go Starbucks coffee, rather than high tea in the afternoon. Perhaps it could stem from, as I learned in one of my history classes long ago, that ever since the British Tea Party, that Americans gradually moved away from tea, and moved towards it's alternative caffeine source of coffee. Since living in Germany, tea has actually become very much a part of my everyday.
Speaking of tea... I had mentioned last week that I was considering tea staining some of my fabrics... don't you think it's quite fitting to talk about it now? Since several of my favorite, go-to low volumes tend towards white, they just don't work for the vintage look that I am going for in this quilt top. So, here's what I've found from my experiments:
You can see the original fabric on the left. I first started with leaving the fabrics in the tea for an hour. Once I pulled them out, they were simply too dark and too reddish for what I wanted. I then changed the type of tea, and tried for only 10 minutes, since I didn't want the fabrics as dark as the first batch. The color was more brownish, which is what I was going for, but still too dark even after 10 minutes. So, I threw the same fabrics back in only for 1 minute, and got the color that I was looking for. I used a Darjeeling tea on the 1 hour batch, which is a very light colored black tea, even in the cup. Even though Ceylon or Assam teas are darker, they gave the the right shade that I was looking for in the 1 minute/10 minute batch. I did notice on the Carolyn Friedlander Ledger fabric (bottom row) that the tea stained the fabric in a mottled look, which can be quite fitting for this use, but may not be desirable for other projects.
What category do you fall into... an on-the-go coffee drinker or do you prefer slowing down for an afternoon tea? Any hot beverage stories?
Linking up this week to Let's Bee Social and Stitched In Color.