Tag Archives: weald and downland museum

Natural Dyeing

I spent a lovely day this week learning about dyeing using plants, flowers – and anything else that came to hand, to be honest!

The course took place at the Weald and Downland Museum, which I seem to write about fairly regularly.  The tutor was Caroline, who has her own website Knitnaks where she sells her handcrafted items, some of which she brought with her:

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We tried using lots of different combinations in our experiments – probably the hardest part of the day was keeping track of the ‘recipes’!  We tried onion skins, rosehips, privet, golden rod as well as more everyday items such as tea and frozen berries.  The Museum’s gardener, Carlotta, provided a tour of some of the gardens and we made good use of some freshly picked flowers.

Having made our dye solution, we all added our yarn/fabric/fibre samples to the pot.  You can see in the photo on the right that despite all going in the same solution for the same amount of time the way the colour came out varied enormously.

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We were constantly surprised and possibly a little over-excited by the end results, as you may be able to tell from this video

By the end of the day we had all built up quite a range of colours – I used some mohair that I had spun which seemed to take the colour quite well:
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Apart from the dyeing, it was lovely to be able to walk around the Museum without having to be responsible for anyone else!  Here’s another collage, just because I had the time to take lots of photos for a change:

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Rare Breeds in the rain

The annual Rare Breeds Show took place yesterday at the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton.  The Museum is a beautiful place and can look like this:

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Thanks to the joys of the British summer, much of the day was spent looking at a view more like this:

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Even the sheep took shelter:

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Although the weather did spoil things somewhat, there were plenty of animals to admire.

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I had the chance to catch up with some of the members of Chichester Spinners, as well as meeting up with a few people I had only previously chatted with online.  I thought there were far fewer fibre/spinning related stalls this year though, which was a shame – I had money in my pocket and most of it stayed where it was, I only bought a Jacob fleece and a tiny pack of dyed silk totalling a whopping £7!

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As well as the displays there were the handspun classes, which filled plenty of tables:

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Hats and Shawls
I had a very pleasant surprise – the mixed colours of Gotland fleece that I entered in the natural coloured skein class won not only first prize but a special award from the judge!

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Rare Breeds Show 2011

My entries for the Rare and Traditional Breeds show at the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton, which takes place tomorrow, are finally all ready to roll.  Most have been ready for a while, they just needed labelling up and skeining nicely.  I was shocked to find how much energy just doing something that simple took, it looks like a very slow journey back to being the old me 😦

Here are some photos of three of the skeins of yarn – the entry form says ‘neatly wound’ but I couldn’t quite figure out how that would apply to tailspun locks!

Rare Breeds Show 2011 - Skeins close up

A really big wheel…

Another day out at the Weald and Downland Museum in Singleton today.  It’s the Ruby Anniversary of the Museum this year, which is worrying as I am older than the museum…  Last night I went to the bonfire party and today there were more special events. 

There seemed to be relatively few people at parts of the weekend I attended, possibly as the Musuem made everyone buy tickets, even members who had already paid for year-round entry – the cost to attend the full weekend would have been more then we paid to become members for a year!  It’s understandable, but also a shame as there were plenty of new things to see and do, including the Red Devils parachuting in this afternoon.

This lovely spinner let me attempt using this wheel.  I’ve never done long draw before, and this enables you to have a really long distance between the fibre and the spindle!  She turned the wheel so I could concentrate on the fibre – it was OK to begin with and I kept backing away from the spindle-tip, and further away, and further away – I was almost in the next county, then the fibre broke.  I had another go trying to spin the wheel myself and nearly took the top of my finger off, and produced a snarly bit of yarn which she kindly plied for me to keep as a souvenir.

I wore my finished Liesl today (which I think gave the game away that I might be a spinner and got me the offer to try out the wheel)!  I found some buttons at www.eternalmaker.com that I thought were just the job:

I think I did quite well to come out of the The Eternal Maker with just these three buttons – it’s too tempting in there sometimes, not good for my purse!

Rare Breeds – Handspun Entries 2010

I’m lucky enough to live near the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum which has a Rare Breeds Show every July.  I’d been regularly, but last year it took on a whole new slant as I had been spinning (spindling?) for … at least six weeks!  I didn’t let that put me off, I entered two items in the novice classes and came away with two rosettes.  I guess I better point out that there aren’t too many novices out there, so the competition was not exactly fierce.  I got prize money too – I think a first and third place earned me about £4.50 (so I made a profit – it was £1.5o for each entry)!

I’ve upped my game this year and am entering three classes – Shawl/Stole/Scarf, Natural Skein and Hat/Gloves/Other.  I’ve just put the tags on and am ready to roll in the morning.

I agonised over how to attach the tags.  Is it bad form to use a safety pin?  Would it be showing off to use more handspun yarn – or should it be co-ordinated with the item?  I hope I can’t hear them sniggering as I leave the display tent…

I’m hoping I will manage to buy some lovely spinny things too.  I have my eye on a spindle from IST crafts and there were quite a few other fibre stalls last year so I’m sure that won’t be all that I come away with.

I bought some buttons today and am about to start frantically sewing them onto my newly felted bag (then adding a lining and some sort of closing device).   I couldn’t find any flower shaped buttons, I had a picture in my head but maybe I saw them at the Lewes Guild show in October, not in the shop I went to?   I want to take the finished bag on its first outing tomorrow to a suitably fitting event, so hopefully I can post a picture of the finished project tomorrow morning before I go.