For a while now I haven’t felt that fire in my belly. Do you know the one I mean? Not heart burn that wouldn’t make a very interesting blog post, no, the one where you get a feeling; an edge of an idea and the compulsive desire to run with it; to tug at it; to make it come to something solid in your hands. This is the way I feel when I get a creative burst. When I come up with a new doll, new dress, new pattern. It rumbles around in my centre for a while from gut to heart and back the longing to do something expressive. And I hadn’t really realised it was missing until I saw the nettles, and then something gently tugged my innards, and I realised that something had been missing.
I have been kinda concentrating on CE tested dolls, but these make you become conscripted. You can only use this material, you can only use this wool, only these paints. Hair must be styled so that babies don’t choke, no adlibbing, no creative interpretations. And all these things are very, very good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not nurturing the artist in me, and the artist in me is why I got into this game in the first place.

How did all this come from seeing the new growth of nettles do I hear you ask?  Well I’m glad you did ask that very important question…..

Dyes, natural dyes, I used to love to take my fabric and dye it with things, but this isn’t on the available list for the CE tested doll. It may well turn out to be incredibly safe for kids to play with and suck on a doll’s dress made beautiful by soaking in tea, but I would need to get each piece of fabric tested for EN71-3, by sending it away for chemical analysis and also test each doll pattern and if it was a one off doll, obviously the actual doll would then need to be fire tested too, did you see my video (one of the blogs above), turn away if you get traumatised. There was no doll left to cuddle afterwards.
So, nettles, well they dye green and also cream/beige colours and I want to use them (also, so I am told, they are good in tea for encouraging hair growth and make a tasty soup).

I also love to use tea, yes, breakfast usually but any brand will do, and one of these days I am going to go into the supermarket and ask for all the onion skins, you know those bits that fall off from around the outside, as I believe they are also great for dye, and the bark of a pear tree will make things purple, this I have got to see.

I follow a few yarn dyers on Instagram and have always loved that style of work, especially if the dye source is something that can be foraged from the road side.

Here is Mia showing the difference between tea dyed and un-dyed material. I think it adds a lovely softness to the colour.
So who would like to see more blogs about my experimenting with natural dyeing? I really feel that this will add to my sense of well being and this shows through in my dolls, I love the thought of being able to source more locally and naturally.
Drop me a comment and let me know if you have tried some unusal items when dyeing, or if there is anything you’d like me to try, and stay tuned, this could get messy…….

 

Ally x