Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One Lump, Or Two?

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.


  1. Ha - I prefer tea to coffee and both only piping hot. Once they cool down I find them unpalatable =) High tea with scones, clotted cream, jam and sandwiches is the best though hard to come by outside of the UK. The tea stained fabrics look interesting. Are they then colourfast?

  2. OK. these cups *might* be worth attempting to paper piece. ;-) They are so cute!! I adore your choices of background fabrics, as well as all of the cup details. And of course, your story :-)
    Who would've thought that 1 minute would be enough for dyeing?? Now I'm wondering what I could do to get just the slightest grey cast to some of my whites. hmmm....

    Lets see ~ tea stories. The one that first comes to mind is when my oldest daughter (now 28) was around 13, we attended a series of classes together - sort of a 'what young ladies need to know as they grow up' thing but of course it was billed much more poetically. Anyways, the class, which consisted of around 15-20 girls and their mothers, culminated with a tea party. I was asked to decorate, and true to form - we went a little crazy. In addition to th eparty decor, Lana and I ended up making fancy hats out of crepe paper, ribbons and flowers for all attendees to wear. We made fedoras, wide brim floppy hats, pillbox hats, and even a ballcap style for one mom who was totally not into girly things. Then we made hat stands to display them on, and let everyone choose their hat, before heading to the tea party. Several of the ladies loved their hats so much, they wore them to church on Mothers' Day! Thanks for the walk down memory lane :-)

    I'm more of a coffee drinker, than tea, though I like tea okay. I, too, like both piping hot!! I reheat my morning coffee (which is only a cup, not a huge mug) at least 3 times before finishing it. I had a friend visit a few days after I'd had surgery once, and she went down to the kitchen to make tea. It was like 15 minutes before she came back to my room. "I was waiting for the tea to cool down to the perfect temperature" she explained. I choked it down...
    pinkies up ~ Tracy

  3. Those blocks are darling!
    I drink both and both hot and cold. My preference is to relax and sip at both of them as well. Coffee in the mornings, preferably while catching up on my blog reading, but usually at my desk at work and then tea in the afternoons or evenings. I always wanted to be a fancy tea drinker and I still want to learn how to make a "proper cup". :)

  4. I am loving your choice of colours! Also you view on things. Like you I usually choose saturated colours. I am very new to quilting and the sampler quilt will be my third quilt. I want to thank you for posting your work because I now feel inspired and feel I can tackle different colour choices. Your work is beautiful.

  5. Sweet post Allison! I am most definitely a coffee gal! People tend to turn up their noses tho when I tell em I prefer the gas station variety to Starbucks! My only coffee ritual is the one that I share with my Mother...a midday visit is not complete without a cappacino and a pepperidge farms chocolate chip cookie, shared on the deck, or sunporch, while we visit!

  6. Wow, the fabrics turned a lot darker and that a lot faster than I would have expected! Did you already wash them and see if the color holds?

    I only drink tea and no coffee, but not that much as a "high tea" but as a "I need to drink something tea" and definitely not hot but rather warmish :)

    A tea story? The memory my sister and I both have of a nice "brunch" in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Very high class everything but besides that they helped you pull your chair out (in), they also poured the tea with this nice flourish of lifting the pot :)

  7. Thank you for sharing such a sweet story about your mother-in-law! I love those blocks! I am mainly a coffee drinker, but I love my teas as well! Thank you for sharing! Your blocks caught my eye at Let's Be Social at Sew Fresh Quilts! Thank you for sharing!


Your comments are what makes blogging fun for me!

Related Posts with Thumbnails