Wednesday 28 April 2010

Wonderwool and beyond

I had to come to North Wales after Wonderwool - dental appointments and things to sort still. As it turns out our Fourtrak has a broken clutch cable and is in the garage and I have to stay here until next Tuesday to have stitches out in my mouth!

Plans always seem to have to change at the moment - but we're getting there! I am writing this, just to say sorry I won't be home to post any news over the weekend and how great to see people at Wonderwool! We had a great time and caught up with lots of people we haven't seen in ages. Thanks to everyone that dropped by the stall it was a fun weekend!

We will be heading back to France next Wednesday so hopefully more news after I get back, we are supposed to be at home for all of May, hopefully I'll have the dyehouse and cloth house sorted by the end of the month and will have lots of time to experiment. I may be stuck here, but plans and ideas are forming!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Hanks are ready - not sure about me!

Well the hanks are ready to box, they are all labelled now! I still feel as though there is sooooo much to do - and we catch the ferry today!

Just to add to the event I am now working in Tamworth on Saturday - a Medieval Caligrapher will be my role there, so I will be driving off from the B & B in Builth Wells at about 6am leaving John to run the stall on his own again! At least I will be there on the Sunday to catch up with everyone!

A quick preview then:

Monday 19 April 2010

Getting ready for Wonderwool

I can't believe how quickly all these events are coming up - we were supposed to move in January and have February to get the dyehouse ready for action and start getting stock ready. That all went wrong then!!

But we are getting better nad I am now starting to use the dyehouse. There is cold and hot water via hosepipes and the grass is benefitting from any waste water at the moment - but I am very careful about waste water - anyone that knows my methods knows that I try to never throw a dyebath away, or a mordant bath! It's one of the reasons that I stopped going through the assessment process for becoming Organically Certified, I had to make the choice between being an organic dyer and not putting anything other than organically certified yarn through my dyebaths; or an environmentally conscious one who re - used everything wherever possible and didn't waste water cleaning everything down to start organic dyeing, etc, etc.

The environment won out!

(Sadly I am now very sceptical abou the value of the term organic - other than the traceability of the product, but I do value it for that, hence my organic range of yarns which are of course dyed with the environment in mind!!!!!!)

Anyway I did not mean to get into a rant - this was just to show you that I really am dyeing again - so here's some pretty pictures! Many of these hanks are Organic Merino - aran or DK weight, there's also alpaca sock and linens. Next time you see them they will be in small hanks ready to be sold!

Thursday 15 April 2010


I am not a gardener - I usually kill things off, so steer clear of anything that requires looking after, however having bought this property I feel I have a duty to keep it looking nice!

You may have noticed in the photo yesterday that the Hydrangeas needed dead heading - I don't know the first thing about looking after them, but looking through the gardening books I have here (I used to love Geoff Hamilton and have several of his books) and searching on the internet, it would seem that you have to wait for the first buds to appear and then cut the old heads off at the first bud. Of course I'm a little late, but boy do they look better!

When I bought a house years ago (when I was first married) I was advised that you shouldn't plant things in the first year, you should watch the garden through the seasons to see what is actually there. I am trying to do this, but of course leaving North Wales in January I had no idea whether there would be Snowdrops or Dafodils ..... so thought I should dig some up to bring with me!

I now know that I am in the right house - it was truly meant to be! There has been a beautiful carpet of Snowdrops throughout February and March, now into April there are Primroses and the lovely double headed Dafodils that are my absolute favorites.

Something I have always wanted in a garden is Lily of the Valley - I LOVE it and guess what - there are loads of tiny little buds coming up all round the front garden!

As for dye plants I've already said that the Walnut trees sold the property to me, but there are other things coming up that I recognise - a dyers garden wouldn't be the same without...................................................

What will come up next I wonder?

Tuesday 13 April 2010

A lovely day!

Today has been a lovely day - in more ways than one!

The weather has been gorgeous - lunch was under the Walnut trees in the coutyard, I only needed a T shirt on for most of the afternoon (and my trousers of course!!!) But the big thing was I was working in my dyehouse!
John has done a temporary fix for water and drainage, so I was able to get out and make a start on getting some yarns ready for Wonderwool next week. I know this is very last minute, but we were working in Pontoise (near Paris) over the weekend at an historical market and I need to re - stock!!

Something I'm really excited about here is the walnut trees - I have always had to buy in walnut husks in the past and have never managed to achieve the really good colours I know you can get with them - so I can't wait to get
experimenting! They haven't even got leaves on yet and I'm planning what I want to do!

I wonder if you can dye with hydrangeas?