I use the good parts of old, stained tablecloths to make hanging hand towels - it's good upcycling for something that is otherwise useless.
But look at this tablecloth: it used to be lovely navy and white, but after 11 years of hard use, it was an ugly faded purplish taupe. I couldn't even see using it for its fabric.
But it was a wedding gift from Ten Thousand Villages. . .so I ruminated for a while. . .and hit upon the idea of dying it navy! I talked to Jacinta for ideas because she dyes her clothing with smashing success.
I bought a clearance bottle of royal blue dye ($2), read the directions obsessively and checked Jacinta's advice again, and set to work. I did NOT want a blue sink or blue wood floor.
I filled my black enamelware canner with water and kept it at a low simmer on the stove. Poured in the dye and a cup of salt (why, I don't know - I followed the bottle directions on that). Put on old latex gloves and lowered the tablecloth into the dye bath. I poked and stirred at it with a metal spoon over 45 minutes, not continuously as the bottle instructed, but when I thought of it, as Jacinta advised. Carefully fished out the tablecloth into my stainless steel sink (not the composite laundry sink that could have stained). Rinsed it with cold water until the water was fairly clear. Washed it in the washing machine in cold and dried it in the dryer, all to set the dye.
It came out a beautiful shade of cobalt - I love it! In the middle, there are some lighter patches, so I'm guessing my stirring and poking was not sufficent to evenly distribute the cloth. However, it looks like the play of sunshine and shadows through my windows (I was actually fooled for a few days), so I'm happy.
And now I'm thinking of refreshing some black cotton clothes that have gotten a little grey.