Archives // Quilting

How to Grow Madder From Seed


Young madder, grown from seed, ready to transplant to a permanent outdoor position.

This year I am growing dye plants for the first time. I have fallen in love with making hand dyed, machine pieced, hand quilted quilts with natural fibres and natural dyes. My first natural dye quilt was made with cotton calico and I created colours for it with plants I foraged around the city, including in my favourite woods. You can read more about that quilt here.

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Allotment Crafts |

My Natural Dye Sawtooth Star Quilt is Finished


I finished my natural dye quilt at the weekend and took it to the woods for photographs. I’m so pleased with how it turned out and can’t wait to make another quilt with fabric I dye myself with plants. I have big plans for the coming year on the allotment, and plan to grow madder, woad, indigo, dyers chamomile, dyers coreopsis, black hollyhocks, and a few other things that can be used as dye plants. It’ll be really fun to have a wider range of dyes and colours than those I can find in the wild. I am particularly excited about having rich blues and greens, which are hard to create with wild plants.

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Crafts Sewing |

Making a Linen Quilt | My First Quilt


I’m making my first quilt. It’s a 90cm by 90cm lap quilt, and the quilt top is made with linen remnants I bought as a bundle from an online fabric store for £5. The bundle was made up with scraps and ends of rolls, and it included a mix of colours – indigo, burnt orange, oatmeal, stone and slate. It’s a mix of Irish linen and washed linen, and I still have plenty left over after cutting the squares for this quilt. Some fibres feel coarser than others, but it’s all medium weight. When I bought the linen last autumn I didn’t necessarily have a quilt in mind, but as I was going through my mum’s craft supplies and helping Dad tidy the house shortly before Mum’s hospitalisation and move into dementia nursing care, I found a 90cm by 110cm piece of quilt wadding in her craft box. Without being able to ask her, but knowing she liked natural fibres too, and judging by the look and feel of it, I think it’s cotton. Dad says she had planned to make a quilt for one of my nephews, and the pile of cotton fabric in children’s prints confirmed it. Whilst the children’s prints went to a charity shop, I brought some of Mum’s other fabrics home with me and thought about trying my hand at quilting to make use of the wadding I had found. I’ve never made a quilt before, but I know how to sew.

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Sewing |