Natural Dye Retreat with Julia Billings 24th-27th April 2020 - Day Tickets

Notify me when this product is available:

Join horticulturist and plant dyer Julia Billings for a weekend-long intensive on transferring the colours found in natural dyes onto yarn and fabric… Set outside at Gartur Stitch Farm and full of practical skill-building and joyful exploration, it should give you the skills and confidence to develop your own dye practice!

We’ll cover all the steps involved in dyeing; exploring the potential of the flora found in our landscape and our pantries and sourcing exotic, traditional dyestuffs; preparing and mordanting fibre; setting up and working with both a dyebath and an indigo vat; overdyeing to create complex colours; keeping records of dye experiments; safe dyeing practice and other tips for dyeing with plants and other natural materials.

Beginning on Friday, we’ll also begin the weekend’s dyework by exploring fibre selection and preparation and setting up mordant baths to prepare yarn and fabric for dyeing and some of our dyebaths to help release their colours.

On Saturday, we’ll fire up the dyepots and head out to find and collect local dyeplants around the farm. Over the day, we’ll work with numerous dyebaths made from local and imported raw material to dye a range of colours and, using the first and subsequent baths, a range of shades. We’ll also explore overdyeing and the use of modifying agents to expand our set of beautiful colours. On Saturday evening, we’ll enjoy a campfire feast, hopefully under the stars if the Scottish weather allows…

Sunday begins with indigo! We’ll follow the steps involved in creating an indigo vat and then, while it rests, look into the history of this old and venerated dyestuff and explore shibori methods of folding, clamping, binding and stitching fabric to create patterning. We’ll dip our fibres multiple times to achieve good depth of colour and overdye shades dyed on Saturday to make greens, teals, purples and other complex colours. We’ll end the workshop by collating and labelling our yarn and fabric samples and looking at some helpful dye resources.


Friday: 6-8pm(optional - this session covers mordanting)

Saturday: 10am -5pm

Sunday: 10am - 5pm

(you can opt to stay for evening meals, if you would like, additional charges apply)

Level: Beginner 

Skills required: None

Included:  Each participant will take away a minimum of 32 x 10gm miniskeins of British wool sock yarn and samples of fabric dyed in the workshop, as well as comprehensive notes on the everything covered in the workshop. This ticket entitles you to attend all the workshop sessions of the retreat, plus lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Transport to the venue not included.