Monday, 11 February 2013

Born to Dye

Actually, I got that title wrong, but it's the one that has stuck in my brain.  

A while back at the Thursday crafts group we had a guest speaker; not the usual format at all.  

However, our fearless leader has a passion for wool:  spinning, knitting, felting, carding. If you can do it with wool, she does it.   

The correct name for this company is Natural Born Dyers.  

Carding wool with these enormous things was a man's job;
 it will have built muscle, I'm sure.

Our poor speaker was absolutely full of cold so I'm not sure how he got through it all, except that he was really interested in his subject.  

He has some sort of university science background, if I remember correctly, but has got involved in using plants for dying wools, something his partner is also involved with.  

I think this was the angora...heaven!

His lecture included a bit of everything including breeds of Northumberland sheep, ancient carding methods and a few of the dyes he's been experimenting with.

On the table were spread 'bats' of dyed wool ready for spinning or whatever else fate had in store for them. 

 There were delicious colours there, but as I had no idea what to do with it, I just looked briefly before heading over for tea and a biscuit (cookie).  

Little did I know I was going to take one home, having won a drawing I'd not heard of.

I think Lucy made some like these for her nephew-to-be.

We were given baskets of various raw sheep wools to finger, also some angora (easily the nicest).  

Felted house shoes - all the rage in this group.

There were also sticks for spinning on offer, possibly also called 'spurtzleur' but I don't remember what they called them.  

The lady with the speaker was demonstrating and of course she made it look dead simple.  

Gloves and a shawl, I think.

A couple of tries later I knew better.  The thing that really got me about them was that they were labelled with the type of wood they were made from:  yew, acacia, beech, walnut, cedar. 

 It made me think of the wizards' wands in Harry Potter and I wondered if they came with dragon heart strings or phoenix feathers.  I know, that makes me completely Potty.


vintagefrenchchic said...

How educational! I have some friends that are heavy into knitting. I have never taken to it myself. One of my friends (an acquaintance really) was very particular about what yarn she would use so she started buying/dyeing/selling her own. You can check her out at

I adore those little booties!!

Susan Partlan said...

Very interesting. Does this mean you're a knitter too?

I used to knit, but no longer do.

Shelley said...

Heather - Will have to check out your friend. Yes, aren't those booties the living end?

Susan - Well, I knit, but nothing very useful. I'm hoping to change that soon!