Saturday, 21 March 2009

For Deborah Bee - books and sources on natural dyeing

I was going to load up pictures of my weaving today, but when I got down to the library today, for some unknown reason their computer won't link to blogger, so no photos today.

Instead, Deborah has asked for some tips on getting a dye garden started, good books etc.

These are my book recommendations for learning about plants you might use and growing them:

Dye Plants and Dyeing, by John & Margaret Cannon, published by A&C Black in association with the The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2003 edition, ISBN 9780713663747, £14.99.

This book focuses on plants (rather than dyeing techniques) and includes some scientific and historical information. Each double page gives a full page painting of the plant and information about using it to dye. However, it is not about planting & growing the plants so you'll want another book for that.

A Dyer's Garden, from plant to pot - growing dyes for natural fibres. By Rita Buchanan, pub. Interweave Press, ISBN 1-883010-07-1, £9.99

Only a small book, but full of useful information and the title describes it well.

A Dyer's Manual, by Jill Goodwin, 2nd edition 2003, pub. by Ashmans Publications, ISBN 0-9544401-0-2, £14.95

A lovely book in which an expert in using natural dyes passes on a lifetime's experience of growing and using dye plants. Includes a useful and extensive lists of plants and the colours they give. Website for this book: Ashmans Publications

There are many other books I like about natural dyes, but these are the best for someone in the UK who wants to grow plants in their garden to use in dyeing.

Then there are the websites and blogs:

Teresinha's website on growing and using woad.
Teresinha on growing and using other dye plants
both these web sites are absolutely excellent, very highly recommended. Yes she does sell dyestuffs, but she also has superb information on growing your own. Yes she is a friend of mine - but I don't think I'm biased, she knows her stuff and is generous with information.

Author of several books on natural dyes, only not recommended as they are not about growing plants, Jenny Dean has a lovely and informative blog. Do take a look.

Another of my friends whose blog I'd like to recommend, Helen Melvin. Do especially take a look at this superb post about mordants for natural dyes - what they are, when, how and why to use them.

Click here for the archive list from this blog of everything I have written about natural dyes.

* * Any other business?

I haven't yet responded to a meme from Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio.

It requires a list of 5 addictions. I'm such a serious sort of person I take the words literally and say, don't think I'm actually addicted to anything - but I'd struggle without the drops for my dry eyes when I sit too long at the computer... o.k., that's boring. I'll list 5 important habits:

1) daydreaming (always been good at this, surprising how many mentions it gets in my old school reports)
2) looking out of the window (not the same thing as daydreaming, we've got wonderful views and birds and clouds and trees and plants out there)
3) reading
4) spending time in the garden, or out in the Derbyshire hills
5) making and doing things (spinning, weaving, dyeing, sewing, breadmaking, knitting, making music (I play a few musical instruments), pictures, repairing things - motorbikes, broken umbrellas, patches for my boyfriend's jeans - whatever).

Only 5 leaves no space for mentioning cats, I'm definitely a bit obsessed, very important to me. Lots of cats. Our cats, the other cats that live on the road, the feral cat whose sleeping in our greenhouse and runs off when I go to put food out for her... I've always been fond of cats.

I'm not passing this on, lots of you are tagged already.


Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Thank you so much for posting about your 'addictions'! ....also for the natural dye information as well:)

Life Looms Large said...

Thanks for the scoop on all of that dyeing. So far I've resisted the urge to take on that task, but these websites and books make me reconsider!

One of the most memorable moments from a natural dyeing seminar I attended was the teacher holding up a paper grocery bag full of lichen. She said that it required about that quantity to dye something like 1-3 pounds of cloth/yarn/fleece. I couldn't imagine collecting that much lichen - although if you could plant a dye garden, it would be easier to get large enough quantities.

It's great that you can repair things. I'm so bad at that....I basically panic and then find some one who can figure things out. I'm much better with figuring things out in my head and then bringing them into physical reality - than starting with a physical thing and transforming it.

I'm apparently super chatty today! Ooops!


Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
Interesting to read about you and your addictions. I'm also a compulsive creator and am always on the lookout for inspiration. The views from your window sound lovely
At one time I always used natural dyes. It felt a bit like cheating to use chemical. I've been somewhat converted lately- perhaps I should say I've become a bit lazy !

deborahbee said...

very gratful for the book list and blog links about dye plants. It is lovely to have these blog contacts and to share experiences.I will enjoy reading all this (to me) new information.I have dug over a patch ready for the dye plants which I will now try to buy.

Magic Stix said...

a little something to make you smile here go all the way to the bottom of post.

Leigh said...

Yours is the first daydreaming addiction I've seen!

I appreciate the book recommendations too. I may have to add Jill Goodwin's to my collection.

Anonymous said...

You have been nominated for a Kreativ Blogger award. You can pick it up on my blog!!!