Rosehip dyed: from white to vintagey beige
I’ve mixed feelings about my rosehip dyeing attempt. I kind of like it as it does look very historical, if a little dingy, but I do have a small voice in my head saying: ‘Perhaps it was better before, when the fabric was all white and new?!’.
Anyway, I’m jotting down the notes for my dyeing diary (even if it’s for a do-it-differently-next-time note):
Soaked the textiles in salt water (1 cup salt, 8 cups water) for about 3 hours.
250grams rosehips*, simmered for about 2 hours, then strained.
Added textiles to pan of dyebath and heated gently for perhaps 20 or 30 mins.
Then transferred the dyebath and textiles to a glass bowl** for 3 days.
Rinsed til water ran clear.
*I’m going to look for the rugby ball shaped hips for another batch, to see what variation there might be.
**My dye pan is a very old enamelled cast iron one, and where the enamel has chipped the iron works as a wonderful mordant (whether you want it to or not!) spotting the fabric!
Did the young lovers meet in a tailor’s shop?
I know that family favourites are a bad idea among the living (quite right too) but when it comes to ancestors then I am a little shameless and anyone with a textile connection is added to my ‘textile team’. So when this marriage certificate popped on my door mat a few weeks ago I was delighted by two treats – the groom’s father was a cloth manufacturer and the bride’s a tailor and draper.
I’ve only been tracking William Tiplady (the tailor and draper) so far, but what an excellent era to have a tailor ancestor. Born 1777 he would have been tailoring right through the years of Beau Brummel and Mr Darcy. How far such flamboyance would have reached late 18th/early 19th century Durham I wasn’t sure. But looking into my William I found that he didn’t die until the 1850s, by which time his Regency fop customers would be truly a thing of the past, and surely his mid-19th century clientele would have included the newly prosperous and very industrious Victorians?
I’ve tracked down his will (not yet arrived), but can’t find his apprenticeship so far – and then of course there are his apprentices too (by 1851 he said he was employing 6 chaps) – and in good time I hope to find answers to all these queries. But there’s one final thing that I’ll never know the answer to…
My 3x great-grandpa Joseph Hallas (the groom on the wedding certificate) was a book-keeper, his father a cloth manufacturer. Meanwhile his future father-in-law was a tailor and draper. Is it too fanciful of me to think that this was how the young lovers met? Young Margaret helping her dad in his tailor’s shop, and young Joseph accompanying his pa on a cloth delivery, and across the bolts of fabric came that other bolt, the one from Cupid, winging through the air?
Assorted textiles gleaned from my home and soaked in elderberry hmm
Berry colours really are unbeatable and having made my elderberry jelly I thought I’d give a spot of elderberry dyeing a whirl. These are textile odds and ends from around my home that I popped in the pan (woe betide anything of a pale complexion loitering round, as I was very tempted to add it to the mix!).
The embroidery cottons were a garish pink that has been ‘civilised’ by the elderberry, and the silk at the bottom of the pile was coral before. The wool was natural creamy, and otherwise the cotton yarn, little mat and cotton fabric swatches were all pure white.
Notes for my dyeing diary:
Soaked the textiles in salt water (2 cups salt, 16 cups water) for about 3 hours.
1kg elderberries off the stalks, simmered for an hour, just covered in water, slightly squashed, then strained.
Added enough water (I think about 3 pints of water) to the elderberry liquid to fill my pan two thirds full.
Added textiles to pan of dyebath and heated very gently for under half an hour.
Then left goodies in the pan for 3 long days (turning the textiles to try to get even colour as there wasn’t much room in the pan).
Rinsed and rinsed til water ran clear.
9 day old flax seeds in the rectangle at the front
9 day flax again
and 9 day flax again…
Until 9 days ago, the last time I’d really thought about flax was when that poor miller’s daughter was locked up in the castle with a room full of the stuff to spin into gold by first thing next morning. Luckily, or unluckily, Rumpelstiltskin came to her aid and you know the rest of the story…
Anyway, having met the magical flaxland.co.uk people at a boat show, the lovely flaxland lady sold me a little bag of flax seeds and explained that I could grow my own flax, and then pick, dry, cosset (I don’t actually know about the mystery middle stage yet) and spin it into flaxen yarn. And in that little bag were enough seeds (1,200 I think) to cover one square metre, which when processed would give enough fibre for 100 grams of yarn (a miniature scarf, dainty bag – or enough bookmarks for the whole family?).
So the very next day (which was 9 days ago) I planted the seeds, and in 100 days time they might have grown into a harvestable crop – it should really have been planted in April or May but I have my fingers crossed that the lateness of summer will be in my favour :). And next year I hope to be planting a whole lot more. I seem to have a heck of a lot of textile-employed ancestors in my tree, so maybe that’s why this bit of home-spun whimsy strikes a chord…
My patchwork sample – never tried hexagons before (the stripey bits were from the maybe-accidentally-stolen shirt).
I feel almost ashamed that up until last week I’d never even tried hexagon patchwork. I know, I know – as a self-professed lover of history and stitching, how could I not have(!?) – as it’s got to be the ultimate historical home-sewn design. But anyway, I hadn’t. Now, however, the spell (or should that be hex!) is broken and I am truly fixated.
Patchwork is a craft I’ve been dreaming of doing more of for ages, but particularly since I visited the Framework Knitters’ Museum near Nottingham, when I spied their lovely but simple vintage patchwork bedspreads.
Just step through the gate to the museum and you’re back in the world of an early/mid-19th century framework knitter, where you can explore both their machines and the dear little cottages fitted out with all the long-lost essentials of yesteryear – bedpans, tea caddies, water pitchers and so on, you get the idea. And it’s a world that particularly appealed to me – as one of my great-great-great grandfathers was a framework knitter – so it was spine-tingling to view the cottage interior and get an idea for what his family’s life might have been like back in early Victorian Roxburghshire, Scotland (without my rose-tinted specs, I’d say rather cramped and extremely chilly!).
Well, better get back to my stitching now – and the clothes in my home better be on their guard… My husband saw my little patchwork sample the other day and exclaimed “Hey! That’s my shirt!” Oops!
Ta-da! The Inspiring Blogger Award
Thank you kindly to Su at suzysu.wordpress.com of ‘Shaking the Tree’ for nominating me for the Inspiring Blogger Award – I’m totally delighted – and so here goes with the 7 facts about me?!
- I like my milk poured in first when I have a cup of coffee.
- I have knitted 1,007 metres since January 2013 – not far but further than I have jogged so far this year!
- Family legend had it that my 4x great-grandfather (my mum’s, mum’s, mum’s, mum’s, mum, dad) John Hastings invented the roundabout. Grain of truth? Yes – he put a safety lamp-post outside his saddlery in Liverpool so that the carriages could drive round it not barge into each other and crush pedestrians.
- My grandfather and great-grandfather were both prisoners of war (in Burma and in Anglo-Boer War).
- On my mum’s sitting-room wall there are embroideries going back six generations (including mine) and I think that’s maybe what’s inspired my love of family history and sewing.
- Given the time (one day!) I want to make a tiny model village of all the different dwellings my ancestors (might) have lived in over the past few centuries.
- Wierd – I never realised before I started – but blogging makes me really happy
And here are my 15 nominations for the Inspiring Blogger Award – people that I find make a rummage round WordPress such a treat to read.
- Mom at youwhoineverknew for her totally friendly mother-hen take on her family history and her fellow bloggers.
- Luane at thefamilykalamazoo for her careful, ladylike postings on her ancestors.
- dressesandme for her beautifully constructed and sewn clothing.
- ongrannystrail for being such a thorough, resourceful resource!
- Little tidbits of genealogy for posts about getting family history papers organised.
- relativelyfrank for having a clear project and sticking to it!
- bakewithclaire for tasty baking with a good seasoning of nostalgia.
- blueridgegenealogy for an evocative blend of family history and local history – I can smell the woodsmoke and see the misty mountains when I read these posts.
- thestitchsharer for her really generous spirited posts – free patterns and sound encouraging advice.
- brandyheineman for her writing your family stories guide – detailed, excellent and inspiring.
- purplepincushion for indulgence in vintage dressmaking.
- trericecostumegroup for beautiful embroidery work and costumes.
- dyoselin.kissedmuses.com for being such a DEDICATED knitter.
- ahundredyearsago.com for the chance to travel back in time, to the time of Sheryl’s grandmother, and showing the treasures that diaries and journals are.
- And Su of course of Shaking the Tree at suzysu for her lovely mix of genealogy research journey and her more recent family times too.
To all my nominees, please find the rules for accepting this Award as follows. I hope they make sense (and hope I’ve got them right too!):
- Display the award logo on your blog page.
- Link back to the person who nominated you.
- State 7 facts about yourself.
- Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
- Notify those bloggers of their nomination and the award’s requirements.
words worth remembering Moms … from Kathryn Stockett’s The Help.
You recognise these words, don’t you? From Kathleen Stockett’s The Help. I loved the book, then I loved the film, and I really dearly loved these words – “You is kind, you is smart, you is important”. That lovely, wise Aibileen was spot on in her big-hearted, life-affirming take on childcare – despite the hell and troubles she had to live through.
And it feels to me too, that it’s such a rich and wonderful story about women and our inter-relationships, as mothers, daughters, friends and grannies. So with Mothering Sunday coming along in a few days’ time, I stitched up these words to be the tag on my mum’s Mother’s Day flowers, but I thought I’d share them here too, because, Mums, you are very important, but maybe, like my mum, you might occasionally need reminding. Where would our family (and family trees!) be without us?
PS Apologies for spelling Aibileen wrong in my stitching (but as family historians I guess we might be used to mis-spelt names!)