Thursday, 1 July 2010
Following the wonderful yarn spinning workshop (see previous post), the obvious next step was to go to the natural and vegetable dyeing workshop, both classes conveniently run by my lovely friend Carol of Beetlefelt here in south Manchester. What a wonderful time we all had. Step back a few centuries and the neighbours would have been collecting dry wood in order to watch us sizzle on ye olde barbecue, as we made like a covern of witches, stirring our potent brews, cackling at the amazing spells that we had managed to put on our yarns and fabrics, and running around Carol's garden squealing with delight at the end results.
We used onion skins to produce the most unnatural looking vibrant mustard colour, with the aid of a tin mordant which helps the yarn to take up the dye but also causes a chemical reaction. We also produced a rather delicious smelling brew from blackcurrants and a salmon pink colour was produced by the madder root, famous for its use in yester year on the bright and not at all camouflaged jackets of the king's army.
The photo above shows my very basic handspun wool after dyeing. I love the fact that you can dye using natural ingredients that can be collected from the kitchen, garden or hedgerow for free, and the colours are unbelievable. Needless to say I am now utterly hooked on the witchy business of stirring cauldrons with bubbling noxious contents, and now that I have my own spinning wheel (oh yay, lucky lucky me!) there ain't no stopping me.