Saltholme and Red Dye Delights

We’ve had a wonderful summer so far with lots of fibre indulgence that has included our attendance at RSPB Saltholme’s Woolly Weekend on the 7th and 8th July, and a fabulous Dyeing For Red workshop in Durham on the 21st!

The summer is turning out to be a delight in lots of ways – now really looking forward to our Summer Party!!

Saltholme’s Woolly Weekend


The Saltholme event is a regular Durham Guild activity although this year was a little different. As the RSPB had a lecture in the education centre on the Saturday we spent the two days in one of their fields under a gazebo.


It was super-hot and there were lots of visitors but the staff at the centre really kept us comfy with deliveries of water, tea, coffee and very yummy biscuits!

Saltholme site is amazing, beautifully rural in the middle of an industrial landscape. Well work a visit at any time of the year, but Woolly Weekend is our favourite.

This year I was most struck by the enthusiasm of the visitors who were keen to have a try at drop spindle spinning and God’s-Eye weaving. The children had a great time!

We also met the ladies of the Saltholme Knitting group, including Trish who knit up the life size model of Moo the Sheep using the fleece the guild spun from Moo’s shearing last year.

Aimee and Moo

They are currently busy working on the yarn-bombing due to take place later in the year. Such a talented bunch!

Over the two days we met so many great people and gave out lots of goodies, brochures and leaflets. One visitor, who had never worked with fibre before, actually bought three whole fleeces before the end of the weekend, checking with us how to process them! Wow! Brave woman!

Aimee, the organiser has been a spinner previously and was inspired to get back into the swing and  wanted to join the guild!

In fact we had 3 new members for the next guild meeting!

Saltholme hosted some Alpacas this year – if you have never met an alpaca then you really should. Not only are they super cute but they also make the sweetest mewing noise! Their fleeces were for sale too, along with the fleeces of the Saltholme flock. Get in touch with the centre if you want to purchase one as we know there are some left.

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The Dyeing for Red Workshop

The Dyeing for Red Workshop was wonderfully organised and we had great feedback. Thanks to Cia for planning, organising and delivering such a fabulous workshop.

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Vikki Vikki wrote:

“Dyeing for Red: Wow wow wow!!! The room was buzzing with excitement as we began another excellent dyeing workshop from the very talented Cia Bosanquet. The day started with 11 people gathered around the table with 12 beautiful mystery boxes. Cia began the workshop telling us about Lac… We opened the boxes in anticipation and were told to use our imagination to tie, wrap, and manipulate the contents before choosing a dye bath or baths for our pieces.


Each person took time to decide what to do with the various pieces of fabric.


Ann spent some time folding and sewing one piece into what I can only describe as a wonton parcel. This was eventually put in the logwood dye bath…resulting in a beautiful purple tie dye effect piece.

Some people only used one dye bath for their piece of silk, but Sarah over dyed her silk which resulted in a spectacular array of autumnal colour.

Stirring the pots of dye was very therapeutic and mesmerising as the pieces added gently rose to the surface a totally different colour to what they were when they went in.

We were told we would be modifying the dyeing in the afternoon; we were intrigued, what would we be doing? This modification turned out to be adding a glug of citric acid to two dye baths and a glug of alkaline liquid to two others. Dipping a skein of yarn pre dyed using logwood into a modified dye bath of cochineal resulted in an amazing multi-tonal skein of almost black and sunset reds. We had lots of “oohs” and “ahhhs” when we came to look at each person’s work for the day – a wonderful myriad of colour and design. Amazing results when each person began with the same materials.”

One thing is for sure – Durham Guild have some great events and gatherings. Why not come along to the next Guild Day in September where we are having a Weaving Open Day! Every piece of weaving equipment will be out of the cupboard and there will be weavers showing their skills and wares. You would be most welcome!


1 thought on “Saltholme and Red Dye Delights

  1. Mrs Shirley Nickels Jul 26, 2018 — 3:10 pm

    Sounds like a brilliant day was had by all. Some of the dyed colours are just truly stunning. I really liked the red one. They are so unique and nothing like you can buy in the shops. Great work by the Guild, well done to you all.


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