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…

Crow: On Corvids, Myth, and Inter-Species Encounters

A couple of months ago I got a commission from my mother-in-common-law, as a gift for her sister. She asked me to make a small brooch: a crow. The specific bird was in reference to the book Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Max Porter’s cycle of poetry-come-novella in which a widower and his sons…

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…

Home and Epiphany

The sixth of January seems like an auspicious day to write a blog post, especially the first of the new year (and the first for many weeks). The prolonged midwinter pause was due to busyness and big changes: buying a house and moving to the countryside! In November we moved to a village at the…

Fallen Leaves of Autumn

It’s a blustery day, the trees are getting barer and the golden and red leaf carpet is getting thicker, Samhainn is approaching. I wrote a couple of posts ago about my recent obsession with knitting and felting leaves with the fibres I had dyed autumnal colours: here’s a selection of the finished products. All available…

Now Available on Etsy!

I have opened an Etsy shop, abounding with autumn wildlife-themed gifts. Do take a look and ‘favourite’ and share.

Autumnal Inspiration

I’m not long back from a week with my family down in Whitstable, Kent. Down in south east England the berries are just starting to ripen and the leaves to turn and fall, but despite these hints of autumn the days are still warm and dry. Up north in Scotland, it has been autumn for a while…

On Scottish Lichen Dyeing

I love dyeing with lichen because there’s plenty of the stuff available here in Scotland, you don’t need to mordant, you get colours other than lemony yellow, and it leaves a beautiful earthy smell on the dyed wool. So far I have dabbled a bit with the ‘boiling water method’, getting lovely autumnal shades from a…

Wonderful Woad

Much as I enjoy dyeing with foraged weeds, since the result is nearly always a variant of yellow it is good to try an alternative colour from time to time. The blues from indigo and woad are exciting because of their vividness, and the magic of the slightly tricky process needed to achieve them. Having…

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…