Mid Winter Flaxifying

In that no-man’s-land between Christmas and New Year, we managed to winkle a good handful of people from the warmth of their homes into the cold mid-winter to try to reduce our still large pile of flax to thread (where IS Rumplestiltskin when you need him?).  Two people, Moira and Catherine, came from afar (Woking and somewhere further than Richmond) in spite of the bus strike.  Moira is now an expert as she’s been to three workshops and is even starting to develop her own tools.  Catherine was a novice but keen to learn about natural fibre and dyes.  We were also very happy to see Charlotte and Doug (formerly of this parish) who’ve been working on organic farms in Britain and Spain.

It was cold but bright and we spun 56 metres – mostly using the hand drill method.  Doug made a lovely fire (don’t tell) and we drank lots of tea and HopCord, the beer made by the People’s Park Tavern with our hops.  Yum.

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Pop-up London Fields Dye Workshop

Pop-up London Fields Dye Workshop

A busy weekend started at the top of Broadway Market.  We’d harvested some flowers from the meadow (with the support of the Council and Parks) as they were fading a few weeks ago and wanted to show how to prolong their lives by turning them into dyes.  Debbie managed to roll a table all the way from Wilton, an achievement in itself.  A stunning sharp, bright day meant streams of people were walking through the park.  We persuaded some of them to stop.

We set up shop at the top of Broadway Market.
We set up shop at the top of Broadway Market.
Natural dye bunting.
Natural dye bunting.
Flowers from the Field.
Flowers from the Field.

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Our dyebath-cum-steamer.
Our dyebath-cum-steamer.

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Dyed silk squares drying on the line.
Dyed silk squares drying on the line.
Silk dyed with zinnia, marigold and coreopsis from the meadow.
Silk dyed with zinnia, marigold and coreopsis from the meadow.

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Rolling flowers into silk squares to steam.
Rolling flowers into silk squares to steam.
A very pleased workshopper made this.  She was going to give it as a Christmas present but had to keep it for herself.
A very pleased workshopper made this. She was going to give it as a Christmas present but had to keep it for herself.

Winter Garden Volunteer Day

Winter Garden Volunteer Day
Despite a few blustery showers to begin with, we were lucky with another sunny day for garden volunteering down at Cordwainers Garden. Teams of people got stuck in with various tasks including bagging up soil, clearing and planting a new bed, cutting kindling with a newly sharpened axe, weeding rogue areas, planting bulbs, collecting leaves for leaf mould, patching up the shed and clearing out and re-arranging the composting corner. Fuelled by an almost continuous supply of tea from the storm-kettle (powered by wood) and a delicious spread from Cafe Morningside we got a huge amount done. We even dug up and relocated an enormous Callas Lily which had planted itself rather annoyingly in the dye bed.  It was great to have a mix of old and new faces at the garden, to share some of the heavy lifting and chat about Star Wars and the merits of science fiction over lunch. Thanks to all our hardworking volunteers, the garden has been given a new lease of life as it braces itself for the cold months ahead.

This Winter Garden Volunteer Day was organised by Cordwainers Grow as part of our Speed Greening project supported by Team London. 

We've edged this bit of the garden with sturdy herbs - rosemary, lavender, artemesia and mullein.  Fingers crossed they survive the dogs and drunks.
We’ve edged this bit of the garden with sturdy herbs – rosemary, lavender, artemesia and mullein. Fingers crossed they survive the dogs and drunks.


Delicious spread provided by Cafe Morningside - made from restaurant and shop surplus.
Delicious spread provided by Cafe Morningside – made from restaurant and shop surplus.
The storm kettle, fuelled by small bits of wood kept us tanked up with tea all day.
The storm kettle, fuelled by small bits of wood kept us tanked up with tea all day.
Lunch!
Lunch!
The worms are thriving in their home of kitchen waste.
The worms are thriving in their home of kitchen waste.
One of the most important jobs - sorting the compost and wormery so we have nutrients to add to the soil in the growing season.
One of the most important jobs – sorting the compost and wormery so we have nutrients to add to the soil in the growing season.
Adding a bit of weather proofing to the shed - old bee frames and plastic sheeting.  Just need to plug two drips now.
Adding a bit of weather proofing to the shed – old bee frames and plastic sheeting. Just need to plug two drips now.