Gifts Today magazine

Knitted kits hit the table

Specialist hand dyed natural yarn company launches Indigo homewares range including knitted tabletop kits

Two sisters who set up a specialist natural yarn company on their Warwickshire farm have launched a new range of homewares knitting kits using hand dyed wool from their own flock.

In The Wool Shed's Indigo range of co-ordinated accessories includes tea and egg cosies, cafetiere covers, table and mug mats, napkin rings, a picnic rug and - for extra comfort at a country feast - welly toppers.

Each product is available as a green and a blue variant - with all colours created from natural indigo - an Asian cabbage-like vegetable which is painstakingly heated to a precise temperature and dyed repeatedly to gain depth and not to be confused with the synthetically produced alternatives generally used these days.

Other natural dyes - cochineal, weld and fustic - are added in various proportions to create greeny or mauve tinges.

The beautifully packaged kits - presented in hand printed cotton bags also created In the Wool Shed - contain needles, pattern and firm, textured yarn from In the Woolshed's own flock of Lleyn sheep all hand dyed on the farm with natural ingredients.

In the Wool Shed is made up of sisters sheep farmer Louise Weetman and fine artist Emma Price and designer and sheep farmer's grand daughter Helen Lambell.
The kits come in various combinations from individual items and "Simply Two" table settings to family variants.

Emma Price, who also runs dye, weaving and spinning workshops on the farm, explained: "We adore using natural dyes and were determined to create something beautiful, tactile and wholesome. Dyeing with plants and insects has been traced back over 5,000 years. The colours are amazing, always surprisingly beautiful and work harmoniously together. The properties of natural dyes mean they simply can't be identical. They even offer minutely changing hues within each skein, in the same way that a natural head of hair offers a medley of colours compared with one which has been badly dyed!

"A love for natural colour, food and lifestyles is growing - witness the increasing popularity of hand pigmented household paints, the return to real food and the love of growing your own. With the increase in environmental awareness, more people are choosing natural fibres and colours. Indeed, the Soil Association will only approve textiles as organic if natural dyes are used."

For information, to order and stockists visit http://www.inthewoolshed.com



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