Sunday, 14 August 2011

Well, it's a while since I updated this blog because I have been getting some much needed inspiration and education and preparing a major piece of work for Fleece First, an exhibition to be held at Devon Guild of Craftsmen in September, October and November. September is next month.....

First the silkworms. They are all but two in their cocoons now and I won't be raising any more this year as the oak is not good and my privet bushes for the Samia have taken a bit of a hammering and need to regenerate.

I've been on two marvellous courses, one weaving, one dyeing. Weaving first - Jette Vandermain from Canada came to Devon Weavers Workshop to teach a course on Lampas, a structure I had never tried before. It is totally fascinating and has such possibilities. My sample warp is still on the loom and I am longing to finish it, not least because I will be doing a course with Ann Richards in September and already have my high twist yarns and instructions for making the warp......Plus a recents small bequest has enabled the purchase of a mechanical Magic Dobby loom and I'm longing to have a go with it!

The other course was with Michel Garcia, natural dyer extrodinaire. I had been one of the mob surrounding his instant, organic indigo vat at ISEND and was delighted to hear that he would be teaching at the National Quilt Festival at the NEC.

We made vats with bananas and indigo, henna and indigo, indigo balls, metallic vats (not organic, but non-polluting). We made resists, we overdyed with madder, cochineal, weld (found in a field near the NEC!) and an indigo paste we could paint with. Absolute bliss!

The picture shows some of the resist effects: white on blue, and mordant resists with weld and madder

Inbetween all this excitement we had a family wedding in Wales, beautiful bride, handsome groom, lovely countryside - shame about the rain but it was Wales in August!

Now I have a week, nearly, to get ready for FibreFest, so back to the dyepost, spinning wheel and loom and hope to see some of you there!


  1. Hi

    I want to try the banana indigo vat! - approx how many bananas to 10g indigo? Can you keep this vat indefinitely?

  2. Well, you need 30g of banana, and that is pretty much 75% of a UK banana! I'd use one and see how it goes. It is important to get it ripe enough for the sugar in the banana to be released. These vats do go on for a long time and I see no reason why you couldn't keep one going for quite a while - once it starts to lose colour, you could try reviving it with another banana, or if the pH has dropped, with some lime - assuming there is still some indigo l eft, of course!
    Let us know how you get on and good luck!