More Natural Dyeing at Meet the Wool

More Natural Dyeing at Meet the Wool

I have been doing more natural dyeing, using up some materials left over from the dyeing and spinning workshop. There were flowers from meadow sweet, chamomile and ragwort which I had picked over the summer and then frozen. Since they had thawed, I decided to make use of them in dye baths. The wool was mordanted first in alum and the dye baths prepared, soaking and then boiling the flowers. The chamomile dyed a pale yellow. For the meadow sweet, I added copper to the dye bath and it produced a golden yellow. The ragwort bath was modified with iron and produced a dark green. During the workshop Clare had chosen Madder root for one of her dye materials and when she was finished, I saved the leftover dye bath for a second dip. This time instead of bright orange/red, I got a paler orange/peach colour. There are so many natural materials available in the countryside and eventually I’ll try most of...
Natural Dyeing and Spinning Wool for Beginners-Workshop 28/29 October

Natural Dyeing and Spinning Wool for Beginners-Workshop 28/29 October

There was lots of activity here at Alder Cottage on Saturday and Sunday as three ladies worked hard at learning to spin and dye wool. Clare, Karen and Susan didn’t hesitate at handling raw natural dye materials and feeding the sheep. After being presented their 2 skeins of wool mordanted with Alum, each lady chose 2 dye materials from an assortment, some of which I had collected in advance from the fields, roadside and my garden. Some of the plants, seeds and bark had to be soaked overnight before being used. The materials which could be used immediately were powdered madder root and powdered henna. We got started right away with these by making a dye bath and heating it to extract the color. Then we dropped in the wool and let it simmer for about an hour. The best part was extracting the wool from the dye baths and seeing the results. It’s hard to imagine getting such lovely, vibrant colors from such dull looking material. While the pots of wool and dyes were bubbling away, we learned the basics of spinning at a wheel. Each lady got their turn at the picker, carders and spinning wheels. There was lots of laughter and also some frustration, too. At the end of day two, everyone was tired but proud and satisfied with what they had accomplished and learned. The final results were surprising as well as lovely and should make for some nice knitting. The materials used for the colors in the featured image above were, from top left corner: ladies mantle flowers, madder overdyed with ladies mantle, henna,...
Dyeing and Spinning Workshop 2017

Dyeing and Spinning Workshop 2017

I will be holding another beginner’s spinning workshop on the 28th and 29th of October. This year, it is two days and will include learning the basics of dyeing with natural materials. I will have it at my studio and students can also meet my sheep and see where it all begins. The first day will consist of choosing dye materials, discussion on mordants and doing a little spinning. The second day we will actually dye a skein of wool and each student will have the finished product to carry home. On the second day we will advance on the spinning wheel. It should be lots of fun and space will be limited to 5 students. If you attend and have your own wheel or access to one, please bring it along. We will break each day for a light lunch (provided). Below are the details on time and cost but if you have any other questions and if you want to attend, you can contact me on this website or on Facebook at Meet the Wool. Hope to see you soon! Where: Alder Cottage, Callura, Ballinruan, Clare When: 28/29 October 10AM – 5PM Fee: €135 includes all materials and lunch each day Name(required) Email(required) Website...
Autumn Workshop for Dyeing and Spinning

Autumn Workshop for Dyeing and Spinning

I’m organizing my third autumn spinning workshop for beginners this year. One day just hasn’t been enough time for students to practice much on the wheel, so this year’s will be held for two days….28th and 29th October. Also this year I’ll be showing how to dye wool using natural materials. On the first day, each student will choose his/her dye material and will prepare the materials. We will also be going over the basics of carding and spinning on the wheel. The second day will be spent dyeing each skein in the chosen material and spending most of the day practicing on the spinning wheels. Should be lots of fun for me as well as the attendees. More details are on my workshop page. In addition to getting organized for the workshop, I’ve been watching the lambs grow up. All three are healthy and already growing nice fleeces for next year. I’ve also been going on long walks in the forest with the dogs. The weather has been pretty good and I get ideas for colours for the yarn. This week I saw an unusual fungus growing along the edge of the path. Haven’t tried to identify it, but the orange colour would be great for yarns in autumnal colours. My new washing/dyeing shed has been busy, too, as I’m trying to get all this year’s fleeces clean and ready for the wheel. My least favourite job, but must be done. So, I’m up to my eyeballs with...
Cragganowen Spinning Day 2017

Cragganowen Spinning Day 2017

Yesterday I attended the 2nd Annual Cragganowen Spinning Day. Craggaunowen is a 16th-century castle and an archaeological open-air museum in County Clare, Ireland so it is a very appropriate venue for the ancient craft of spinning. The day was held inside the castle which provided just the right atmosphere. The women who attended traveled from as far away as Blarney to join in the spinning, sharing, and of course, laughter. We had quite a few interested visitors who were also able to observe weaving on a simple loom. The wool hanging on the wall are all dyed with natural plants. I attended last year and am already looking forward to the 3rd Cragganowen Spinning...