Monday, 15 June 2009

Woolfest. Panic! What Panic ! EeeeK!

I am totally freaked out by another blog author saying she was ready for Woolfest bar a few bits and pieces. While DH decorates the sitting room following the installation of the wood burner & solar panels, clears a place in the garden for the new summer house, and plants our new Dye Trees ( Birch Betula Pendula....Wig or smoke tree Cotinus Coggrgria. .... Choisya Ternata Mexican Orange blossom .........I potter around with a furrowed brow trying to fit lots of different events together. For the Woolfest I have two major new products. One is my new book "The Colours of the Rainbow, Painting Fibre and Fabric with Extract Dyes." I have been trying to write this for two years and then decided that the only way to do it was to get up early and write every morning. It is not very early only 7.30am but DH is a dormouse in the morning and if he is not working he snoozes peacefully till 9 am. If he is working he does not get home till 10am so one way and another I have managed to write it. As I wrote it I kept identifying gaps in my samples so off I buzzed to the studio to do some dyeing. Mostly what I needed was what I call batch dyeing -dyeing lots of multicoloured fibre and fabrics in one go in a large pan. Well of course this is not only an opportunity to do some nice samples but I need to make more samples for summer school at Lincoln for the National Association for Weavers Spinners and Dyers where I am teaching ( along side extract dyeing) making a fine felt stole from 18.5micron merino So I took the opportunity to dye myself some multicoloured merino and also of course for Woolfest. Into my batch dyeing went fabrics- muslins,. chiffons and organzas-This is because I am involved in a very exciting event next October "The Real Colour Show" . (More soon)
Into my panic stricken brain zips the reminder of my other new product. These are my new Fabric Paints. I had these for the first time at my Open Day on May 30th I did not make many- just five pots of each colours but they all sold and of course I need to make a whole new lot for the WoolFest -phew! This means to make up the paints ,print off the labels and fill and label on the pots. Are you feeling tired reading this! On top of that is making more inks as they are generally selling well and although they did not sell well at the Woolfest last year they might this year. A college wants me to send details of my new course-you guess it-as a matter of urgency please. Someone asks me for a course next year-very gratifying as it means I am now booked up till next June- but they want a variant on my written workshops so I need to write a blurb and work out pack costs.
Why I am writing this blog! I don't know except it clarifies my mind to write it all down.
Back to the book. It needs to be edited,printed and given to DH who will go through it with a fine tooth comb and pick out anything I missed. As he is doing an OU degree in Law it means fitting this in with with what he is doing . Then I need to hand paint the covers, finish the design for labels, print them off and print the book and put together. I am very behind with my accounts Oh woe!
And get ready for the Woolfest
Ready ! You must be joking!

Photos are results of batch dyeing. They are in oranges greens and pinks and lilac and are a homage to Michelle Obama who wore a skirt in these colours while visiting Westminster Abbey. (and two cardigans as it was rather cold! I so admire her style)!


  1. Thanks for your note on the poppies Helen.
    That foto is beautiful. If Michelle sees it she's going to applaude to you.

  2. I hope the next couple of weeks and the event itself go well, you should have a very attractive stand when you get all these lovely products organised.

  3. given the fact that I am a "last-minute" person - I'd be in just as much of a jiffy as you are:) but the dyed lot looks gorgeous - very spring-like? pretty, not too pastel and not too bright - I wonder how the fibres would look in a spun yarn!
    good luck with all your jobs - if you need to type a list for all the things you have to do - you might as well do it on the blog to keep us all impressed:))

  4. Hi Martine Its a nice thought that Michelle might see it but I am not holding my breath! Dorothy I am really find it difficult doing a stall partly because I only do two or three a year! I have a stall designed for the Woolfest so I hope I will make an impact we will just have to see.This time I am opposite Debbie of the Mulberry Dyer she will be demonstrating extract dyes and I will have my new book and textile paints we hope combined we will have a good impact!
    Hi Bettine
    Ima so glad you like the fibres
    Spun I up I think they will be fabulous, especially I think with plain coloured tussah silk. I have 500g of this ready mordanted so I hope I will get it dyed in time. Yes doing a list is a good idea!
    I have time to write this as I have just finished a draft of THE BOOK which Dh is going to edit- he is very severe:( picks me up on grammer -mine being poor, due I always claim to an ill childhood and being off school lots but it could be laziness too!
    Helen having a breather between fulfilling more deadlines!

  5. beautiful beautiful colours
    and the mulberry dyer opposite! I saw myself walking between the stalls, and when I stopped my feet grew roots!
    I am sure it will be great and hope that you will enjoy it too
    with my best wishes over sea and over land

  6. Thank you Manya Lets hope other people feel the same! bw helen