Birmingham Weavers, Spinners ​and Dyers

Blog for Birmingham & District ​Guild of Weavers, Spinners ​and Dyers


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Textiles from along the Silk Road

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

The April meeting of the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers included a talk by Jim Gaffney, ‘Along the Silk Route – from Khiva to Kashgar‘, about the textiles and textile traditions witnessed by Jim and his wife Diane visiting countries along the historic Silk Road route. Jim and Diane run Textile Traders, selling textiles online and in their store in Bishop’s Castle, South Shropshire. A few examples of textiles Jim displayed during the talk are below.

Embroidery using naturally dyed silk thread from Uzbekistan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Embroidered costume from Uzbekistan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Embroidered cover from Urgut, Uzbekistan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Woven silk from Laos:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Batik silk:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Felted and quilted yurt floor covering from Kyrgyzstan:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk

Embroidered jacket from China:

Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers April 2017 Meeting, Textile Traders Talk


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Dyer’s Picnic

Naturally Dyed Yarn

The Guild’s June 2015 meeting was dedicated to a dyeing day at the home of Sarah, one of the Guild’s members.

During the day we dyed yarn and fleece with both natural and acid dyes. This post contains the results of dyeing with nine different natural dyes, a separate post will cover acid dyeing.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Attendees pre-mordanted fibres for dyeing a few days in advance, with alum and cream of tartar, so that they would take the dyes and be less prone to fading.

In addition to lots of dyeing, everyone that attended the dyeing day brought along something for a shared buffet lunch, so there was endless food, tea and coffee to sustain us.

The dyeing itself took place in Sarah’s garden on three separate camping stoves, and in an assortment of metal bowls.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

There were also some nice things to buy, including vintage knitting patterns and magazines, and hand dyed yarn by Sarah Cage.

Hand dyed yarn by Sarah Cage

The nine natural dyes we tried are listed below, with photos of sample colours obtained.

Dyer’s Coreopsis

Coreopsis typically produces a yellow dye, but we achieved a lovely yellow-brown.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Coreopsis

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Coreopsis

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Coreopsis

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Coreopsis

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Coreopsis

Walnut

Walnut is a substantive dye and produced a pale brown.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Walnut

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Walnut

Brazilwood

We achieved a lovely range of pinks using Brazilwood, and paler pinks with Woodruff.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Brazilwood

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Brazilwood

Woodruff

Woodruff (the roots are the section used for dye) was one of the plants we used for dyeing which was grown in Sarah’s garden, where the dyeing day was held. The plant was growing right alongside where we were stood.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Woodruff

Privet

We achieved bright yellows with privet. The privet we used had just been trimmed off a hedge in Sarah’s garden, so we put the offcuts to good use.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Privet

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Privet

Feverfew

We achieved a paler yellow with fresh feverfew.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Feverfew

Indigo

We achieved a pale blue using indigo extract, due to the volume of extract used and/or number of projects in the pot. The two aran yarns pictured below achieved slightly different shades of blue, as one spent slightly longer in the dye pot at a higher temperature.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Indigo

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Indigo

Lichen

Lichen produced a pale brown. There are ethical issues around using lichen for dyeing as they grow very slowly and may be protected species, so shouldn’t be foraged. However, the dryed lichen we were using had been in the possession of members of the guild for many years.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Lichen

Logwood

Logwood produced a range of purples.

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Dyer's Picnic, Birmingham & District Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Logwood

Yarn Naturally Dyed with Logwood

The dyeing day was a great opportunity to try a range of natural dyes, in good company.

Naturally Dyed Yarn