Purple is a paradox, a contradiction of a colour. Associated since antiquity with regality, luxuriance, and the loftiness of intellectual and spiritual ideals, purple was, for many millennia, chiefly distilled from a dehydrated mucous gland of molluscs that lies just behind the rectum: the bottom of the bottom-feeders. That insalubrious process, undertaken since at least the 16th Century BC (and perhaps first in Phoenicia, a name that means, literally, ‘purple land’), was notoriously malodorous and required an impervious sniffer and a strong stomach. Though purple may have symbolised a higher order, it reeked of a lower ordure.
This is an interview with Margie Statheos, president, Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild of NSW. 2RDJ interviewed Margie during our 70th anniversary year. Karen Severn, a long time member of the Guild, is also in the interview.
Ever wondered what to do with all that hair your pet sheds?
You could give it to Boronia wool spinner Marion Wheatland.
She has been a wool spinner since the early 1990s and even took her craft to Antarctica.
She teaches wool spinning through her business, Fancy Spinning a Yarn.
When one of her clients asked for her poodle’s fur to be turned into a vest, Ms Wheatland knew she was on to something.
Scientists fed graphine to silkworms and now they can spin silk that conducts electricity.
What a time to be alive.
Silk is already well known for its strength, but scientists want to see how far they can take it.
A recent study of textiles in Peru discovered:
- Blue indigo dye commonly used in today’s jeans was used by pre-Hispanic communities in Peru around 6,000 years ago.
- Use of the complex technique involved in creating indigo dye predates its use by ancient Egyptians by about 1,500 years.
The finding, published in Science Advances, is based on the analysis of blue pigment in a 6,000-year-old piece of cotton fabric found at an archaeological site in Huaca Prieta, on the north coast of Peru. The source of the blue pigment was unknown until today’s study, which used highly sensitive equipment known as high-performance liquid chromatography to determine it was a plant-based form of indigo.
We welcome all members of the Guild and all members of our network groups to participate in a tea towel exchange, as part of our 70th year celebrations in June 2017.
All you need to do is:
- weave four (4) tea towels and keep a weaving record of them;
- send in three (3) tea towels, each with a copy of the weaving record by 23rd June 2017 (details of “where” below); and,
- include a $10 entry fee with each set of three towels.
In exchange, you will receive three (3) different tea towels with their weaving records in August 2017. Read More
Peter Clark came to the July general meeting of the Guild to tell us about his father’s role in the establishment of guilds in Sydney in the 1930s. At the end of the article are links to some historic documents.
My Journey into the World of Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing in the 1930s and 40s
Good afternoon Guild members. Thank you Jenny for your kind invitation to address members of the guild today. I have termed the talk as my journey into the world of spinning, weaving and dyeing in the 1930s and 40s.
Thursday was the weekly gathering among the ladies at Hope Foursquare Church in Snohomish, but this is no knitting circle.
Nope. This is a crocheting circle, said Sondra Hirsch.
And you won’t find anyone making tea cozies or pot holders. Nor will you find anyone spinning yarns.
They spin something else.
It’s plarn, said Hirsch, with a warm smile.
Plarn is short for
plastic yarn made out of old grocery bags.
In assembly line fashion, the women cut up the bags and crochet the plarn into soft, waterproof plastic mats for the homeless to sleep on.
It is a labor of love, said Marcia LaBossiere.
A labor that lasts two days.
It takes about 50 hours and 600 bags to make one 3 x 6 foot mat, but the ladies are happy to do it.
Volunteers weaving mats for homeless with plastic bags — KING 5
Fact: Snails fed coloured paper will poop coloured squiggles. Now, silkworms are getting in on the technicolor action: a recent report shows that, after eating mulberry leaves treated with fabric dye, regular larvae will produce fairy-floss-tinted fibres. They’re like biological 3D printers for producing coloured silk.
The findings, published in the ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering journal, point to an effort to find a more sustainable solution to traditional dyeing methods.
Generally, these require lots and lots of water that, in the end, becomes a chemically contaminated toxic hazard, but applying the pigment before consumption requires way less H2O. Out of seven azo dyes tried,
Direct Acid fast red gave the most brilliant result — strong enough to give the wiggly little thangs themselves a rosy blush.
It’s pretty crazy to think of silkworm farms turned into terrestrial rainbows, with both coloured leaves (before) and coloured cocoons (after). Perhaps, with enough training, these little living looms can simply weave coloured scarves and clothing for you.
Silkworms Fed Dyed Mulberry Leaves To Produce Coloured Silk — Gizmodo