Seed to Seam Update

Seed to Seam Update

I’m a bit anxious about our attempt to grow a garment.  There is no lack of interest or enthusiasm but there is a lack of good quality flax.  It’s been growing OK but there are many hazards involved in raising plants in public spaces – dogs, foxes, people, weather and weeds. Even though the flax grows quickly, unless someone is on hand to look after it, it can get swallowed up by (in a recent case) bindweed.  This weakens and stunts the plant and I’m kicking myself for not checking the plots and making sure they were weeded.  Last weekend I went to Daubeney Fields to pull up the crop there.  Once again, it was a bright day in a beautiful spot by the river.  It took us about an hour to pull the crop up, but it was a bit thin.  Other harvests (notably at Saint Elizabeth’s School in Bethnal Green) have been great, so I can hope that our growers out there have been more careful nurturers than me.  I have learnt my lesson.

The good news is that, via Twitter and a recent dye workshop, we have recruited some spinners – both experienced and novice.  We have also been offered a spinning wheel by a very kind donor so we’ll just have to do it again next year.

photo (3) photo (2) photo photo (4) St Elizabethharvest Harvesting at Cordwainers Garden20140716-214244-78164376.jpg

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Natural dyeing workshop with Cordwainers Garden

This great (well, I would say that, wouldn’t I?) blog from Flextiles means I don’t have to write anything about our workshop yesterday!

Flextiles

I’m still finding my feet with this eco printing lark. Results are slowly improving – here’s a cotton bag, mordanted with aluminium acetate, bundled with peony leaves, coreopsis flowers (only two – the slugs ate all the rest!), eucalyptus leaves and some sycamore “helicopter” seeds, and put into an onion skin dye bath.

peony bag1

I dipped the peony leaves and sycamore seeds into an iron mordant before bundling. The sycamore seeds didn’t show up at all, but the peony leaves worked quite well. The first picture below shows peony leaves with the head of a coreopsis flower in the foreground (damn those slugs!).

peony bag2peony bag3

So off I headed to a workshop on natural dyeing run by Kate Poland of Cordwainers Garden, a community garden set up on a disused piece of land belonging to the London College of Fashion in Hackney. As well as growing fruit, vegetables and dye plants, they are also…

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