Friday, 19 September 2008

In Summery

Summer has come and gone. The Metrological Office announced that the arrival of September 1st officially opened the season of Autumn. So, where did summer go? Did we have one? This would mean that officially summer belongs to the months of June, July and August, and workwise these are some of our busiest. Officially, then, I spent the summer working.

So, what does 'working' mean? It means dyeing, selling, teaching, writing.

Dyeing means building up stock for my etsy shop, and also for our mail order and selling venues. During busy times I dye each day I'm home. Unless it's for a wholesale order (here is just one of our suppliers) I dye in small quantities to get as large a range of colours as possible. My Serendipity range is dyed using a technique that I discovered by accident, and which, to my knowledge, no-one else is currently using. It takes about 24 hours plus drying time from start to finish for each batch.

So, on to selling. Apart from the Etsy shop, which only features our Serendipity range, we have an unusual way of getting our stock out to the customers. Our main business is called Winifred Cottage, and the website is here, but painfully under stocked! We actually have HUNDREDS of items that aren't listed, and I just can't seem to find the time to update it on a regular basis. Our main way of selling is to take our stock, by invitation, to Guild branches, mini exhibitions and also into Colleges and Courses. We frequently attend places like Missenden Abbey, Urchfont Manor and West Dean College. All of these offer wonderful residential short courses in a wide variety of subjects and are well worth considering if you are looking for somewhere to learn. The summer is the time for them to offer a Summer School, so each week during this time we will make a visit. At other times of the year we visit at weekend. We also attended the Festival of Quilts, and as this is an international show lasting 4 days it took an awful lot of preparation.

More and more days and dates are taken up with teaching, too. I teach a variety of stitching techniques, but also an easy dyeing technique (no, not the Serendipity technique, yet!) and of course the Embellisher. My textile life changed for ever when I purchased my machine, and then again when I published my first book. I now travel around the country, and also teach a regular once a month course locally.

Finally, writing, I write the occasional article for magazines, but am also preparing my next book. This is a slow process, I'm determined not to jump on the bandwagon and get another out there against all odds, I have a specific goal with this one, and it is well under way.

There were family highlights too. Firstly, in spite of failing health, my mother reached the grand age of 90. We had a family party for her which she thoroughly enjoyed.

DSC02272 90th 1

She loves having the family around her, and this was no exception. June was also the month that our youngest grandson learnt to crawl. You can see him in the arms of our daughter in law in the same photograph, with proud father behind. Our daughter and other grandchildren are also in the photograph, as is my husband, uncle and aunt, brother, sister in law and niece. We had fun.

The end of August should have been a time for holiday, but circumstances caused us to cancel, and no doubt there will be more about that if we have a summary of autumn!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Pick a favorite color, and show it in your work

What a question to put to a dyer. How do I begin to choose!

The truth is, my favourite colour is the one I dyed last.

So, working on that principle here is the last one I dyed:


This is a actually something slightly different from my usual lines of yarn. It is a lovely soft boucle yarn in a viscose wool mix. It is fantastically soft, and I was very tempted to knit myself a scarf with it, but I listed it on Etsy instead. It's here if you want to see more photographs.

Now the truth is that if I were about to stitch I would use much more vibrant colours. Probably something like these:


but then again it could be something like:


I suppose I'd better admit it. I don't work in a favourite colour at all. I work with whatever takes my fancy, and it could be as vibrant as above or as natural as below:


This is a rust dyed fabric, such beautiful markings and colours.

Are you any wiser than you were in the first place? This must be the most confusing post you have ever read........

So much for blog carnivals.............. ;)