Monday, November 1, 2010

World Rural Women's Day.

To celebrate World Rural Women's Day today, Bren and I spent the day at a festival in the grounds of an estate in Smeaton which is about 20 minutes from here.

There were lots of talks about issues facing rural women, and about women in agriculture, and a talk about 'wonderful organic women', WOWS (I thinkI need a t'shirt). There was also a farmers' market where we sold eggs.

The highlight for me was meeting a woman who was spinning some wool that she had dyed using eucalyptus leaves she'd picked on her neighbouring property.

She was just learning and experimenting with all different types of natural dyes and mordants and had skeins and skeins of wool labelled with the fruit/seed/leaf/bark/berry that she had used to dye them with.

Unfortunately for me she wasn't selling her wool because she said she was too attached to it and was so excited by looking at it all together to separate it.

She was really generous with her information though and took my address to post me some photocopies of different dying techniques and different mordant/natural dye combinations.

Here she is with her copper dying with eucalyptus leaves that apparently don't need a mordant at all. That orange jumper was knitted from wool dyed with these same leaves.

Of course there were also some of our woolly friends on display too.

We had to leave early to pick the girls up from school but just before we left Bren heard his name being called for the raffle. Imagine his surprise to have won this lovely work of art. The potato farmer next to us thought it might be the patron saint of chookies.

So happy World Rural Women's Day to you all.
And happy Melbourne Cup Day if you live around here.

Bye now. X


  1. Ahh, your post brings back memories from my childhood.
    I used to get home from school and there would be a delicious aroma wafting thru the house, so I would go & find mum & ask what was cooking for tea - only to discover she was having a dyeing day & the aromas were the wool in the copper!!

  2. Wow - how fantastic - I hope to find some time to experiment and dye with what is in my garden soon.

  3. Great dying... please post more info on your blog once you get the photo copies. That would be fantastic.
    I've been looking into getting a spinning wheel lately as I've found myself a source of free alpaca wool... just got to find a wheel I can afford and find time to spin and dye... won't happen overnight but it will happen ;)

  4. I love the idea of dying with eucalyptus leaves!!! We have so many trees around here (great for husband allergies =D now we might try something new with it he he)

  5. great to meet such an enthusiastic dyer! My mum has done lots in the past and she always comments on the lichen around our place and says that is excellent to dye with.
    great post!

  6. Sounds like a great day! The wool looks fantastic, I can't wait to try dyeing with natural dyes.

  7. That dyeing is amazing! I can see a new friendship forming for you!!
    And Bren's prize is PRICELESS!!

  8. she looks like an interesting girl with all that wool, what a fantastic opportunity for you to get some info. LOVE Bren's artwork, too gorgeous.


  9. wow! love that wool, I hae always wanted to try my hand and dying with more nautural materials. These are gorgeous!

  10. cool going to do some fabric dyeing with weeds and leaves too.... do you know india flint's book Kate? i think you might like it.

  11. My sister does eucalyptus dyeing - it makes the house smell so clean! There's a great book by India Flint about natural dyes that you might want to check out.

  12. I've not been around the blogging world for long but I always like reading your post because, in addition to all the wonderful things you make, it takes me back to my childhood when you show photos of the land in your area. My Dad grew up in Ararat and I grew up with him in Geelong - going out to help him when he classed wool on farms. Just saw your banner for your company - Lempriere - sounded familiar. My Dad was Keith Jackson - of Jackson of Geelong. You may know Ted Wilson? (Landmark) : )

  13. ooh, now I'm even more sad I didn't get to go!!!
    Apart from meeting you of course, Kate, I would have loved to meet that natural dyeing lady!!! I've been reading India Flint's book and scoping out our eucalypts.

    Hope you had a great day!!

  14. Oh wow that looks like a great day out!
    I can totally relate to the not parting with wool or yarn because I'm attached to every ball I own!
    Em xx

  15. That eucalyptus orange is incredible! Looks like a gorgeous day...

  16. What beautiful colours she has created, I love that orange & wouldn't have guessed it would be so vibrant!

    And I can imagine not wanting to part with all those colours.

  17. Wouldn't it be nice if we could put more energy into 'World Rural Women's Day' rather than Melbourne Cup.....just a thought.....

  18. The colours of that wool is just beautiful !

  19. They dying looks great - I wstood and watched a lady dying yarn at the bendigo Wool and Sheep Show a couple of years ago. This year I also saw a lady dying yarn with onion skins - I really need to try it one day.

    Happy World Rural Womens day to you:)

  20. I missed this post.....look at all that lovely wool!!! Please share the information when you get it about natural dyes, that orange (I know you hated it) is gorgeous. That must have been awful all that yummy wool and none for sale....better get spinning :-)

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