Friday, December 17, 2010

Woad, Weld and Madder

Sounds like a firm of solicitors, but in fact these are three of the dyes a member of the Mid-Essex Guild of Spinners and Weavers used in the making of the gift I received from the Secret Santa.  She had done a demonstration dyeing session at West Stow Anglo Saxon Village and had a pile of small amounts of yarn in interesting colours.  This is what she made of some of it - it's a pot-holder.

The red is madder, the orange turmeric, the blue woad and the green weld overdyed with woad.

At rthe event, the wrapping was meant to be as creative as the gift.  To wrap the cowl I made, I put together a bag made of silk patchwork scraps, with a little pocket of tie silk which happenened to have Christmas trees all over it.  Unfortunately, I did not take a picture before I gifted it.  The parcel I got was tied with green ribbon with this madder-dyed flower attched.

This little group of miniatures were not made by my husband, but by my father.  In his retirement, he derived much pleasure from retreating to his garage where he had a work-bench set up.  Two of these items have huge symbolic meaning. 

The small box is a sailor's "Diddy-box".   In 1939, my father, who had already left Cumbria to work in Northampton, decided to "join up" for seven years.  He chose the Navy because his Uncle Nat had served in the Navy.  He sent my mother a postcard with a drawing of a pair of bell-bottom trousers on it  - she was supposed to work out the significance of this for herself.  They married in 1940, but it was 1947 before they were able to set up home together. 

Soon, they were able to buy the farm of the same Uncle Nat, who was just ready to retire.  They bought it "Lock, stock and barrel", and I don't doubt that a barrow just like the one above was part of the equipment included.  My father certainly "mucked out" with a barrow each morning for many years.  The muck was shifted out to the midden where it stayed until he loaded it by hand onto a cart, and put it out in heaps on the fields.  Then, again by hand, he spread each heap out.  Whenever we do this, as a leisure activity, on our allotment, I think of the toil which went into making a living.  Now, of course, farmers use mechanical scrapers and slurry tanks

1 comment:

Janet said...

Love the colours in those pot holders. And the making of the miniatures - nice family history.