Jonathan: All this talk of seaweed – and foraging generally, has led me to search our bookshelves for our copy of Food for Free. Originally published in 1972, Richard Mabey’s classic, ground-breaking foraging guide has never been out of print since, and has gone through many editions. Mine is a first edition, and would be worth up to £100 – were it not for the gift/owner inscription and the missing dust jacket. However the gift inscription is that of my Dad to my Mum on her birthday, and that’s where the value lies for me. This was my Mum’s book, and has all the character that comes from more than 30 years of familiarity. And now I reckon there’ll be many years more of use in our own time.
Jonathan: Recently Denise was contacted by someone wanting to knit a scarf with natural-dyed wool, sending her a swatch of upholstery fabric as a guide to colours. (I don;t know if there’s a physchological disorder in which a person obsesses about colour co-ordination, but if there is, Channel 4 would surely have made an entire reality TV series about it by now! I think we can safely assume that the weight, material and construction of the fabric were irrelevant, it was just about the colour and visual quality!) Well after a bit of chuffing about with dyed skeins in stock, Denise concluded the best thing was to try a bespoke dyeing, Tansy (on Alum mordant) for the mustardy yellow (the customer did say more mustard than the green-tinged yellow on the swatch), and Logwood (on Copper mordant) for the purple. And, here – right – is the result. What do you think?
Denise got four dye-batches out of the session with Logwood, that on the left in the photo here being done first, and so taking up more colour than the following two batches. The fourth, used in the swatch match, used different techniques and mordant. Which do you like best?
Jonathan: In this island there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth ; its inhabitants shall cover themselves in sackcloth and ashes! Many will come to the Big Garden seeking Lemon Curd, but the season of plenty has passed, there shall henceforth be dearth, for the end is nigh! There remain but five jars and five days!