August Garden Colour

When I started out natural dyeing, I depended on dyestuffs that I’d foraged from my local surroundings, or else ordered online. But in the last two years I’ve become increasingly able to grow plants that will yield colour in my own garden. And this last month I’ve achieved a satisfying array of colours from plant…

Produce, Production, and Productivity

The summer months are bit of a funny time for an academic. With the respite from the demands of teaching-related duties also comes conference season and the sense that these weeks are the chance to get done the writing and research you’ve not had time for since September. But summers–especially hot, sunny summers like the…

Spring, finally!

Well it’s been an extremely long winter. Lennoxtown was cited as an example of snowed-in communities in the ‘red zone’ of central Scotland during the snowstorms of early March, and I had certainly never seen anything like that amount of snow in all my life. The dogs enjoyed it rather more than the hens did….

Pinks & Purples from Lichen, Wood and Woad

At different times of the year there are certain visual motifs in nature that I get obsessed with trying to represent in coloured wool. In winter, the silhouettes of bare trees against the milky light of the sky; in spring, the bright yellow of daffodils; in autumn the oranges and golds of the leaves. This…

Wild and Garden Growth

Having a good-sized garden of my own for the first time has been something of an adventure. In the seven to eight months since we moved in, I have been in turns delighted, excited, terrified, bewildered and frustrated by the responsibility and opportunity of this patch of land we call our garden. There is the…

Daffodils

So Easter has been and gone, there are lambs in the fields, enough wild garlic growing along the river that I won’t need buy garlic bulbs for another month at least, and I’m even starting to see the odd bluebell. Bluebells are probably my favourite seasonal ubiquitous wildflower, so I’m delighted about this. But this…

The Coming of Spring

It’s been three weeks since I planned to write this post, and I kept thinking that I’d missed the boat, it would be too late to talk about my wooly celebrations of spring’s tentative arrival. (Such as these madder-dyed Martenitsa in the garden). But no. Spring’s presence still feels rather provisional, and while this was the…

Weeds of Late Summer

Summer doesn’t last long in Scotland, and even by the end of July you start to sense the hints of autumn’s arrival. It was this time of year that I first visited Scotland, and I was struck by the contract between here and the south east of England, where it very much high summer. I was…

Dyeing with Queen Anne’s Lace

One of my first attempts at dyeing with plant matter I had foraged (as opposed to bought or smiled sweetly at my veg box delivery man for) was the leaves of wild carrot, or Queen Anne’s Lace, back in March. I remembered Julia saying that plants of the carrot family yield dye, so when I…