Dyeing workshop

Last week I had a rare opportunity to leave the girls with our mum and go to a natural dyeing workshop at Croft 7. It was sunny and I enjoyed quiet driving in the countriside. And the Croft is situated in such a lovely corner of the Highlands nature!

Sheila, who is a textile artist and feltmaker,  was teaching how to dye with daffodils and lichens. I already knew something from the books but it was great to see how someone experienced does it. Plus I have learned couple of very important facts:

1. that where I can get some of the material locally. Like e.g. my alum at a chemist (and yes, I just have a new Alum stock from Boots, they didn’t have it but ordered it for me. It was cheaper than from an on-line dyeing supplier plus I didn’t have to pay the postage and had it quickly.)

2. I need to be as gentle as possible whenever wool gets in contact with water. I read it in the books but didn’t pay much attention. I simply presumed that once wool gets wet felting is inevitable. It doesn’t have to be so. So now when I soak the wool or dye it I really try not to move it too much plus to keep the teperatures of different baths similar and not to “shock” the wool. And I have already seen results. The last batch of merino was so soft that I didn’t have to card it and I could easily pull wisps from the sliver. It is a great relief, I was worried I would have to card all the wool I naturally dye…

 

The workspace. On the right different mordants.

 

On the left merino dyed with daffodils. On the right merino in the dyebath made from lichen called “old men’s beard”.

Sheila’s beautiful samplers! Two more pictures here and here . Hopefuly there will be more days like this in the future. If you are from somewhere around check their website for more workshops!

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