Way back in April and with some trepidation I went along to the Zürich stitch-n-bitch group (planned through meet-up and active-ish on Ravelry). Through the group I met some lovely people and discovered the joys of regular Tuesday night knitting at the Wädenswil brewery.
A couple of the members mentioned that they were signed up for a ‘Natural dying’ course – and with minimum research I also signed up for this weekend just gone.
Travelling on the single track trainline west from Zürich we entered a beautiful part of the country which was completely new to me. We were welcomed at the home of one of course organisers’ parents where in their sprawling garden of local plants they have founded a garden to grow dye plants.
Anna and Juan is a new venture run by a passionate and skilled Swiss/Argentine couple (whose design backgrounds are evident in the best way). They have been researching different plants and processes and now share their learning and great enthusiasm at workshops in a natural and relaxed, yet entirely compelling, way.
The plants we used has such ancient sounding names: madder, weld, woad and Dyer’s broom. We also used Indigo, Hollyhocks and cherry tree bark. We created ‘teas’ from the plant:
As well as dying samples of wool we each had a scarf that once wet we attempted to pattern using Shibori techniques. These included knotting and tieing the scarf using thread and clamps.
I opted for Hollyhocks to dye my scarf (these had been frozen when fresh) and followed the process through to create a unexpected colour.
The info sheets and ‘theory’ presentation were super organised and clear -as well as being really well designed with beautiful, inspiring photographs.
I loved the whole day and the feeling of magic not knowing how colours would pan out. My fellow course mates were diverse (from 6 countries) and added to the fun and enthusiasm throughout the day.
My take home point was that whilst I would love to give this a go at home, there is a certain amount of ‘kit’ required and our flat just does not need that at present!