20 July 2008


Last Saturday (actually it's a few weeks back now - pre Irish break) our guild held a natural dyeing day at one of our members houses. The weather was a little unpredictable so, instead of dyeing and spinning in the garden, we were housed in two barns - one for dyeing and one for spinning, chatting, eating and general conviviality. There was a good turn out and we also had visitors from the Mid Herts guild which was really nice.

We arrived in the morning and got ourselves settled in with tea and coffee and some wonderful home made biscuits - yumm. Then the mordant baths were set up and we all put various bits and pieces into each bath - four mordants were used - alum, chrome, copper and tin. These were then left to work and we went off and spun or knitted or socialised or all three. I had a sock knitting lesson - which was great fun and I may have a new obsession gripping me now!

After lunch various dye baths were brewed including coccineal, cota, bracket fungus (don't know which one) hollyhock, comfrey, coreopsis, dyers chamomile and maybe a few others - actually I wasn't paying proper attention as I picked three dye baths only, and then went back to sock knitting and yattering. I had some super wash merino and silk fleece which I split and put into the coreopsis and cota dye baths and I also had some alpaca, silk and wool fleece which I put into the cochineal dye bath. In the afternoon the tea and coffee came around again - this time with the most amazing cakes - I was briefly sent to heaven with a chocolate muffin stuffed with cream and jam.

I wasn't totally happy with the coreopsis samples, so I've over dyed one piece with some ancient dye bath which I'd had in the garden - I think it may have been madder - it was a little pungent and it came up a warm brown which I was quite pleased with - I'm planning to over dye another couple of bits - hopefully with a very fresh madder dyebath - perhaps next weekend when we get back from Ireland - I'm hoping that I'll get a stronger orange - can only try.

sadly I have no pics of the actual day as my batteries were out of power - lack of planning and forethought there!

I'd hoped to post this earlier but life is a little busy right now - my in-laws have just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary so it's been a very family oriented time with my niece and nephews over from Canada and brother & sister in law over from Paris and the celebrating and general getting together. Then my own father will be visiting later this week, in order to go to the cricket at the oval with my hubby. All of this means that housework needs to take precedence over spinning (and blogging) - how dull!

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