Isabella Whitworth

probably more than natural and synthetic dyes, wax, resists, and history

Day 4 and madder: sorry about the quilts

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I have been writing Summer School blogs late at night and I am forgetting to include things. Here’s what I forgot yesterday: images of the textiles from the Welsh Quilt Centre at Lampeter. They should have been attached to yesterday’s post.

Today, Turkey Red preparations continued and we started to plan the ordering, labelling and displaying of the various samples dyed on the course. We are working in the art college (Coleg Sir Gar) in a Life Room; it’s part of a larger suite divided by folding screens. The screens are also whiteboards and we can write on them with markers, which makes displaying and explaining samples a bit easier. An exchange visit with students on Helen Melvin’s eco-dyeing course took place this afternoon and they could see the first samples together with their recipes and comments from the groups that had dyed them.

‘If you would dye wool into a perfect red colour..’ begins Gervaise Markham’s 1615 recipe from his book The English Huswife. I am in a group-within-a-group on the course; we excel at producing dispiriting pinks from recipes which boast all manner of ‘perfect reds’ as their outcome.  I think we have even astonished tutor Debbie by our unerring skill in this regard.

From the selection above, guess which yarn is ours after trying Markham’s recipe. No prizes.

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