Thursday 26 February 2009


Missed a few days already - and I will be away from tomorrow til Sunday, so I'll miss a few more, but I'm here now!!!
The weather has been reasonable over the past few days, so we decided it was time to take Vixy out for a spin, this I suppose would be what is considered our hobby now - we're a bit petrol-heady!!!

This is Vixy - isn't she pretty? She's a Vauxhall VX220 turbo, great fun!!! We went up to the Horseshoe Pass and into Llangollen, then back home along the A5 and across the moors. I tried to take some photos as we were travelling :

This was Valle Crusis Abbey as we wizzed by!!!!

Since then I've been busy in the dye house, getting ready for the workshop I'm running this weekend down at Kent Guild of WSD - we're doing the extract dyes, which should be great fun, I've been getting some really intense colours from immersion dyeing with the extracts - I've always found them a bit insipid in the past, but the colours over the last couple of days have been fabulous. I'll post a picture when I get back!

Thursday 19 February 2009


The garden is full of snowdrops! They're everywhere! This is the view of them under the apple trees - aren't they lovely?

I always think they bring lightness and cheer to the gloomy wintertime when they are out.

My aunt tells this story about my father - it was really snowy and icy the day she was born in early February. My father came home from school for his lunch and Grannie said he could go out to play but he mustn't go onto the frozen pond - he did and of course fell in!! Grannie went to the rescue, dried him off and sent him back to school with a flea in his ear - and then produced my Aunt about 20 minutes later! The neighbour who came to help brought snowdrops in for Grannie, so every year on her birthday my Aunt was given snowdrops by her mother.

Sadly she has no snowdrops growing round her house so when I saw her on her birthday I promised to send some photos!

I had to include this photo because Blarty is in it - he's my 10 year old Wensleydale/ Welsh cross. I use his fleece for naturally dyed colour samples and just to fill my basket with lusciousness! Surprisingly there are no birds at the feeders - they are so tame now that they normally just queue on the fence waiting for me to finish!
I have had a not very productive day although I did get out to collect lots of lovely sock wool for the first month of the Dye Club and managed to clear up the dyehouse a little!

Wednesday 18 February 2009

The Dye Club

I'm very excited today! I have been planning The Dye Club since before Christmas - trying to work out how to do it, what's the best things to go in it, how to arrange the lessons as it were, and today I've started to make it public! I've put a section on the online shop (hmm that looks bad - note to self, learn how to do links properly!) What I need to do is go and take some photos - but what do I take a photo of, and then how do I make the picture a useable size? I had though of some fibres with some natural dyes spread around - but it seems a bit twee somehow!I wish I wasn't such a technophobe!!!! Oh and I'm putting it here and I might even put it on Ravelry!

Talking about photos I am going to go out in the morning and take some of the snowdrops around the house - there are so many it's like walking on a white carpet! They're just right at the moment - will start to turn very soon!

I haven't managed to get into the dyehouse yet - but John has been and cut out a medieval overgown ready for me to sew. It's a pure wool cloth (from Whaley's) dyed with Madder. Think I'll line it with undyed linen - mainly because it's a heavy weight cloth so it needs a lightweight lining! There is a link you have to go through the dyehouse and upstairs to get to the workroom! The madder on this piece of cloth is very orange - I used the exhaust from some red pieces I'd done, there is always lots of colour left, it just might not react in the way you want it to!

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Natural Dyes and me!

Natural dyes are my life! My work, my leisure, my reading, my visiting, everything revolves around dyeing and its history in some way.

I thought it time I started sharing with others my passion, it's quite hard to understand sometimes why people walk past the stall and go "I can buy that cheaper at the market" No they can't - at the market it won't have been lovingly hand dyed with natural dyes. Hours spent preparing the fibre, preparing the dyestuff and then putting the two together to come up with beautiful colours that ALL tone together, no matter what they are!!!

The hanks on the line in the picture have been dyed with woad (blue), weld (yellow) and madder (red). The three principle dyes throughout history. A full colour palate can be produced with just these three dyes, but there are also lots of others to add in, so we'll get to those in due time!

It's the time of year where I try out new things and spend as much time in the dyehouse as I can - sometimes it's just hanking up, but lots of work goes on in there, ready for the season starting at Easter.

I'm going to try and keep up the blog, please excuse me if I miss sometimes - we work away lots, but I'll try and let you know where I am and when, so maybe you can come and say "Hello" it we're nearby!