Friday, 17 August 2012

Dyer's chamomile.

I have previously posted a photo of Dyer's chamomile and would like to tell you some more about it.
It is a perennial plant thet flowers profusely. In fact, last year, the first year that I grew it, I was picking flowers all summer and even throughout much of the winter. I pick flowers as they appear, always leaving some for the insects, and put them in the south facing windowsill to dry. I then use the flowers for dyeing in the following manner: I firstly mordant my threads and fibres usually with Alum and then put a handful of flowers in a flask with some hot water. I then add the fibres and threads to the flask and leave them in it for several days. I have had great success with Merino wool , silk, cashmere and cotton dyed using this method. The colours from the flowers are a strong, vibrant bright yellow.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012


The U3A herb group met today to study a selection of plants, some of them widflowers.

We brought along a good selection of books to help with identification. The first plant was a scented leaf Pelargonium with a citrus smell which led us on to discovering information on the uses of this group as  culinary herbs and in aromatherapy. We also looked into the growing conditions necessary to help them thrive. An old copy of the Herbal review contained some interesting articles especially concerning Culpeper's herbaries.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

ramsey gardeners

The Ramsey Gardening Club kindly asked me back again to do a talk. this time based on natural dyeing. I brought along, as always, many pieces of my dyed felt projects for everyone to look at and feel. It was a very pleasant evening. I had my Rainforest hanging with me and described how it was worked. I did not felt this work but gathered together many plant  dyed wools, this time mostly dyed with ivy and snowberry branches, leaves and berries. I also used chiffons, organza, metallic braids and other fibres which I then tacked down onto a wool fabric background. I had picked up some hanks of dark brown wool thread which I opened up at the top and bottom and spread out to resemble branches and roots. The whole lot was then loosely tacked and then machine stitched with hand stitched embellishments. above is a further detail of Rainforest

Friday, 3 August 2012

raining again

As it has been pouring again I thought I would post some of my cheerful photos from the garden and also some floral embroideries that I have worked. Plants photographed above are Helianthus Vanilla Ice, Courgette and Dyer's chamomile.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


The first meeting of our U3A herb group was held today at my house with very enthusiastic and interesting members.
We had a brainstorming session where we made a list of possible subjects to cover; well over 20 so far. Afterwards I brought a bag of herbs from my garden to look at, some we tasted, others had lovely scents and a few were distributed for people to take cuttings from.
I have been making more jam but have felt rather overwhelmed by it all and mixed the strawberries with the raspberries in the jam pan by mistake. It will be interesting to see how it turns out, I have called it summer berry jam.
All the terrible wet weather we have had this summer reminded me of a piece of work which I enterered for the 2011 Hodgson Loom Gallery competition where I won the prize for the wallhanging category. It was titled Rainforest and some photos of it are shown below.