Saturday, 17 January 2009

Friends, Dye Garden, Mordants , Health and textured yarn

Posted by Helen
Where would we be without friends? My friends have always been very important to me but over the last few weeks I have come to value them all very much. This is what one good fairy friend turned up with the other day. Something to crochet with from her own stash, some are handspun yarns and others are interesting yarns she has picked up. yum! yum! . So I made a hat for her. The turquoise is from the merino 18.5 micron dyed with Saxon blue (indigo sulphonate)I dyed a couple of months ago,and spun last week, but I added in some of the sparkly yarn and then some terracotta and purple. Here is the result although I plan to add a large flower.

The second thing she bought (apart from the cherries which I really enjoyed :)) was " A BOOK" ! This lovely book is full of different ways to create interesting textured yarn. Now it may surprise some people to know that I can spin a smooth even yarn if I have too and if I put my mind to it but I get so bored! I can never resist adding something in, so this book is just up my street. The book is Intertwined,The Art of Handspun Yarn,Modern Patterns and Creative Spinning Lexi Boeger ISBN-13:978-1-59253-374-9 published by is full of interesting textured and innovative yarns with clear instructions on how to spin them (although you do have to know how to spin -it is not a beginners book). There are projects too but I rarely want to follow some one else's projects preferring to invent my own.

The Dye Garden -or rather bits of it in January.The first snowdrops are out.When Enys came three days ago there was no sign of them but today here they are. Here too is some very healthy looking weld and my Chinese Woad.

My health is continuing to improve with some minor setbacks. An investigation has shown no further complications,which is very good news. As the Consultant said I have "just" had pneumonia but she did say this is a serious illness and I can expect it to take three months before I feel like my old self :(
While in recovery from my recent investigation I read more on mordanting and also Brazilwood as Debbie Bamford is running a red dyeing workshop on the Online Guild in March. She wants us to put some into soak now as it improves with age. I haven't done it that yet but I will tomorrow.
Mordanting:I have written 7 pages so far on the history of mordanting, the use of mordants worldwide and on alum .What do I do? Extract some of it for the blog or publish the whole lot.What do you think? How much do you want to read about mordanting?


  1. Speaking as someone with an interest in historical re-enactment, and in the production of textiles and clothign in particular, I say: publish the lot! Here's hoping your health continues to improve, too.

    Alison (from the OLG)

  2. I'll second that!
    Glad you are continuing to improve in health, too.

  3. I think mordants are are very interesting subject, especially as there is a movement towards reducing how much mordant we use, or using none at all. This raises the question then of how did the use of mordants develop and why. What would we be losing if we give them up, is it just tradition?

  4. yep, I'm for publishing too.... it's always nice to have everything together in one lot, I already have bits and pieces everywhere on notes flying about:) good to hear that you're feeling better, too! we have had pretty ugly weather in the last few days - but my snowdrops are in flower since last week and don't care a bit about storm and rain - real survivors:)

  5. Oh my, I didn't realize Debbie had given us homework already. But then, I'm waaay behind in reading guild messages.

    I'm so glad your health is improving. And what a lovely exchange with a friend, yarns with hat.

    I will have to look for that book. That yarn is lovely.

    And speaking of books, I think one on mordanting would be of great interest to natural dyers.

  6. Well thank you for your positive feedback on mordanting.I am still writing it as the more I read and think the more I keep going off on another angle. There are still a couple of books I would like to read but maybe I will have to see it more as a work in progress.

    I am getting better and some parts of being convalescent is nice like having breakfast in bed and indulging in my taste for detective fiction. Thank you for all your good wishes Helen

  7. I am very, very interested in your mordant study. Please publish it so we can have it for handy reference. Meanwhile, rest, rest, rest - it is truly the only way to rid yourself of pneumonia residue. Take care! -- Bjo Trimble, Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts