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Thursday, 3 November 2011

New Niddy Noddy!

We've got a few new niddy noddy's for sale on our online shop
They are the most beautifully hand made niddy noddy's we've come across and are the creation of Nick Gant in Devon.

The Dam, which takes 1 metre per turn, is priced at £20 and the Lamb, a sample niddy noddy, is £15.  They will both be available from 14 November, so put the date in your diary, ready to order!



Left: The Dam in use.






Left: The Dam, in "flat pack" mode!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - October!

While I was looking through my image collection for this months inspiration I came across this image which was "snapped" in August, when we were exploring out new area.  During a walk we came across an old tree that had been blown over in the wind and in the hole where the roots had been a lot of bracket fungi were growing.

I was really taken with the autumnal colours, even in August, and the fern just set off the browns, yellows and ochres.

These colours are very "tweed" like and I could see this as a coat fabric with the lime green fern colour as an accent with lime green accessories!  

I've been mulling over which dyes I'd use, but thought I'd leave that to you! What do you all think?

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - September!


I'm afraid I missed last month, with our move, I completely forgot to post the palette I'd selected, so here it is now, for September!

The photograph was actually taken way back in March on our annual teaching visit to The Netherlands. The second part of the trip was down in Zeeland near Zierikzee where we had chance to visit the local beach.  It was a beautiful sunny, but blustery day and the beach was glinting in the sun, throwing shades of blue and terracotta between the stark white shells.


This is a lovely palette for natural dyeing, so tell me what dyes or dye extracts you'd use and how you'd get the shades?  Would you use any modifiers or would you go for the pure dyes?  

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Wool Week


Yes, it’s Wool Week, where we celebrate everything wool and the most interesting thing on the new this morning was the increase in the value of wool!
Since foot and mouth in 2001 the number of sheep have declined and as a result the value of the fleece have increased.  Most British wool is sent to the Wool Board and is destined for carpets, which is such a shame, as that leave very little for British craftsmen and designers like me.  I want British wool, we have the greatest and best range of sheep breeds and wool in the world which enables us to use the right wool for the right fabric.
I know someone who breeds a fabulous breed, the Bowmont, in Devon which rivals the best Merino and the whole clip is sold to make fine British base layer clothing for the active industry!  We need more of this fabulous breed here in the UK, so that more fleece is available.
The same person, organised the Exmoor Fleece Fair and I’m told by a textile designer friend that there was the most fabulous Exmoor Horn/Merino cross sheep who’s fleece was to die for and reputed to have a micro count close to 18, although it’s not been tested yet!   The organiser said that farmers where shocked that people were prepared to pay an extremely good premium for a quality fleece…  Yes, there are lots of us out there who want quality British fleece for fashion and interiors fabrics and most of us know quality when we see it!
Wool cushions
If you’re one of those people who believe that wool is coarse and itchy, then you’ve not tried Merino base layer underwear!  Take a look at the Campaign for Wool page and read about the benefits of wool.  The variety of wool is truly amazing from the softest to the coarsest, from the most lustrous to the dullest, and everything in between, there really is the most wonderful variety and you should find a breed or cross breed that is suitable for your needs.  We just need the farmers to produce the wool we want!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

A really interesting way to Spin

This is a really interesting way to spin those mixed fibres that aren't strong enough on their own!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Indigo Film Premiers in Santa Fe

What a pity we're in the UK not the US.  A new film about indigo was premiered there, on 6 July, featuring Hiroyuki Shindo, a contemporary Japaneses textile artist and master of indigo.  The highlight is the filming of the whole process of making and using a fermentation vat.


This lovely little blog give a glimps of what might be expected in the film: http://kyototrip.blogspot.com/2010/10/hiroyuki-shindo-and-little-indigo.html

Friday, 1 July 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - July!


Last September I took my youngest up to Aberdeen University and we stopped by the Winter Gardens in Duthie Park.  What an amazing afternoon we spent there and I spent most of that time photographing the plants and flowers.
This months inspiration is one of the many beautiful flowers.
I absolutely adore this colour palette and think it might find it’s way into my new fabric collection to be launched in October.  What do you think?
By the way, can any of you identify the flower?
It'll be a challenge to dye with naturals, don't you think, so let me know what dyes you'd use?

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Crochet Artist

At Wonderwool Wales this year the lovely Deborah Allen purchased some of our chunky boucle yarn from the discontinued basket.  We can't get anymore of this divine yarn, it's no longer spun, so Deborah bought the lot!

Since then she's been busy crocheting the yarn into a fabulous jacket and I couldn't resist letting you see her handiwork and the beautiful colours.

Well done, Deborah, your work is truly inspiring.

PS you can get the pattern from Garnstudio

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - June!


I know this is an early spring picture but it's so beautiful I couldn't resist using it for the June colour palette, particularly as one or two people thought the April picture was rather dull for a Spring palette.

In March, three colleagues and I were lucky enough to teach a couple of workshops in The Netherlands and between workshops we went to Delft.  These vivid tulips and anemones were in a flower shop we passed and we couldn't resist buying them.

What I love about this picture is the contrast in colours and the rich depth.  The anemone was slightly more purple than is shown here, but even then it's really gorgeous.

So how would dye these colours?  From right to left: 2% lodhra bark to get the lovely soft peach; 5% dhak (tessu flower) and annatto for the vivid yellow; 5% chaste tree and kamala; 5% acacia gum and cutch; 4 dips of indigo; 5% acacia gum over dyed with a couple of dips in indigo.


What would you do?

How would you use these colours?

Monday, 30 May 2011

Learn your ABC with a Dyer!

B is for......

Books!  I don't know about anyone else, but I can't do without them.  I tend to use them as a resource for trying new techniques, problem solving (there's always an answer somewhere on the bookshelf) and as source of inspiration (often travel, gardening or art books).

I've always got a note book in my bag, as well as a small sketchbook, pen, 2B pencil, rubber, sharpener and very small water colour kit as well as my trusty camera!

Novels are my bedtime reading, not crime, though.  I can happily drift off to sleep mid-paragraph.

How about you?  What's your favourite natural dyeing book?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Learn your ABC with a Dyer!


A is for Anthurium, that waxy flower grown throughout the world and, in particular, Hawaii.
I first discovered them when I was looking for inspiration for my final project at Bradford College in 2004. The resulting designs and products I’ve woven as a result of the anthurium inspiration have brought me continued recognition.
This little colour palette, that I worked for a yarn I designed for Yarnmaker magazine, features one of my favourite colours.
We could use Red Lac, for the red and the pink and Cutch Waste for the khaki green, what would you use?

Friday, 6 May 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - May!

Last month I picked an image of a building in The Hague that made me think of rugs for my colour palette inspiration.  However, one or two people thought it was a bit dull for a Spring palette.

This month I've picked a beautiful cornflower image.  I snapped the cornflowers in Rochfort sur Mar while I was on the Wednesday morning excursion at ISEND.

 When trying to replicate the dye colours I'd try:

Green - kamala over-dyed with indigo.
Blue/green - myrobalan over-dyed with indigo.
Bottle green - kamala with two dips in indigo.
Bright blue - five minutes in indigo.
Pale blue - one minute in indigo.
Red - a mix of red lac and kamala.

I hope you like it.  Let me know what you think, does it work for you?  What dyes would you use?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - April!

Last month Jane Deane, Amanda Hannaford, Helen Melvin and I were in The Hague for a workshop.  It was arranged by Dineke de With, who lives in Leidschendam just north of the city.  We were making our way to catch the tram into The Hague when we came across this building which immediately made Jane and I think "Rug"!

I was tempted to rotate the image of the building 90 degrees, laying it on it's side, more reminiscent of a rug, but resisted.  Would you have rotated it?  I'd be interested to know.



So what colours would I use to dye the yarn for my rug?
From Left to Right:
Golden dock modified with iron.
Golden dock modified with copper.
Myrobalan modified with citric acid.
Myrobalan modified with iron.
Cutch.
Golden dock modified with washing soda.
Pomegranate modified with iron.
Red lac modified with iron.
Don't for get that these colours are with my water, they may vary with the water in your area.
What would you use?

Friday, 4 March 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - March!

I was given this image by Wendy Freebourne, a talented knitware designer from Bath.

The colours are so warm and rich that I couldn't resist using them for this months colour palette.

So what dye extracts would you use for this palette?

I'd give the following extracts a try, from the top:
Black - indigo and an iron modifier.
Khaki green - kamala and a light dip in indigo.
Rust - sappenwood.
Beige - cutch.
Buff - himalayan rhubarb with a copper modifier.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Another Technique to Try!

Ikat and faux Ikat (painted warps) are two techniques that can be used with natural dye extracts and I found an outline of the instructions on HandEye Magazine courtesy of Aviva Leigh, a dyer and weaver from Norfolk.  Take a look and have a go yourself.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - February!

In November I was in Liverpool for a birthday treat.  Obviously a trip to the docks is a must and while there I took this photograph.

Initially it was the shapes that attracted me, but once uploaded to Photoshop the colours caught my eye and following my interest in urban colour I decided to use it for my February colour palette.

How would I recreate the colours in natural dye extracts?

From Left to Right:
Several dips of indigo; a pale yellow, maybe oak gall or 2% kamala with a couple of dips indigo; oak gall or 2% kamala with one light dip of indigo; a very light dip in indigo; two or three dip in indigo; one short dip in indigo and finally a 2% red lac or a mix of red lac and lodhra bark.

How would you recreate the colours?

I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Printing with Natural Dyes

I want to bring you a post from an interesting textile blog I found.  It's aimed at textile students throughout the world and there is a lot of industry information on it, but came across an interesting post about printing with natural dyes.  It's not very detailed, but it will give you enough information for you to work out how to do it!  My Textile Notes is the name of the blog and has lots of interesting information.

Any of the Pure Tinctoria natural mordants are full of tannins, oak gall (on the left) and cutch are the usual ones to use and myrobalan for the mordant printing are all available on the Pure Tinctoria website.

Thickeners such as Agar Agar and Gum Tragacanth are natural and easily obtained on the high street.

Let use know if you have had a go at natural printing or if you are planning to!  We'd love to see your results.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Ways to use Your Dye Extracts

I'm always looking for interesting ways to use my dye extracts and have been painting with the dyes on wool and wool/mix fibres, yarn and silk hankies for quite a while.  I want to bring you lots of different techniques over the next year and to start I've got a blog post from Dionne Swift, a textile artist from Huddersfield, who draws, paints, dyes, prints, stitches and embellishes.

Her latest blog post shows her in her studio drawing with Procion dyes on fabric.  I'm not a lover of Procion dyes, there is a lot of dye residue that washes out of the fabrics which goes down the sink, but we can use natural dye extracts in the same way by thickening the dyes in solution.  If you don't want to use Manutex, as Dionne does, gum tragacanth can be used and is available at cake decorating supplies.

Helen Melvins book, Colours of the Rainbow, shows you how to use natural dye extracts with a thickener on fabric.  All Helens books are very useful and well worth having on your shelf.  Her knowledge of natural dyes and indigo in particular are unsurpassed.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Colour Palette of the Month - January!

This beautiful bouquet was given to me last year by a friend I'd helped through a difficult period in her life.  I found it so inspiring that I used it for January's colour palette.

Good greens are difficult to obtain in natural dyeing, but I think the left one of the two greens, here, would be produced by using dhak and indigo and the second one might be obtained by modifying with iron water.  The yellow is certainly like dhak and the centre cream colour might be the natural fleece colour or oak gall.

What do you think?
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