Willow and its many uses

We are currently working with local Romney Marsh primary schools to make willow baskets, plant supports and stars. We are collecting up the cuttings from the workshops ready to make drawing charcoal…..




important that you peel the willow stubs, just remove the outer layer of the brown willow with a gardening knife…..and then find a tin to put them in, light your wood stove and in goes the tin …making sure you’ve drilled some holes in the lid………Ive used a Harrogate toffee tin…  this can be added to the fire at any time, although I recommend putting it in at the end of the evening and then the process happens overnight…..photo-3



the next morning the tin is cold and amongst the ashes in the wood stove …open the lid and here you have perfect charcoal for drawing …..at no cost!

Please note the holes drilled into the lid – clearly shown in this photo…this is important


Schools exhibition at Block 67 at Folkestone Quarterhouse

Dymchurch school were able to visit their exhibition and then made willow stars after having the chance to admire the wool and willow work. The exhibition was on display for 2 weeks including part of the Easter break so lots of people saw the work. We are now organising for the exhibition to continue at each school to celebrate the children’ s creative skills……


  I think some of the children have evidently been to a private view before…… 
Everyone shout Star!

Our Hop Hub LOOKer Project has been working with schools…..

We have been invited to deliver some willow and wool workshops at two primary schools in Romney Marsh. Brookland C of E primary and Dymchurch primary have both kindly allowed us the chance to engage a class from year 4/5 & 5/6 ‘s in exploring the following

how to make a willow fish

how to make natural dyes using fruit and vegetables

how to make wet felt with Romney Marsh wool

How to dye wool and then make a landscape image from the results

Today’s dyes…..

 This is beetroot which is an intense red as you might expect….however the colour doesn’t hold so we shall see how it copes with the wet felting process on Thursday 
From one bunch of beetroot leaves and roots 

 and this is fresh picked nettles …..yet to find out what colour we get…

Natural dyes for wool

IMG_0555ok so we’ve mordanted our wool

  • 100g scoured wool
  • 8 g alum
  • 7 g cream of tartar
  • 10 litre stainless steel stock pot or saucepan.
  1. Weigh the wool and leave it to soak in water overnight..
  2. Pour boiling water onto the cream of tartar and alum, stirring it well until it has dissolved & add to the saucepan.
  3. Add the pre-soaked scoured wool to the saucepan.
  4. Raise the temperature of the saucepan slowly to a simmer
  5. Leave the wool to cool in the saucepan (it is OK to leave it overnight).
  6. Drain the wool and rinse thoroughly. We use muslin to hang on the line with the wool inside a final dry in an airing cupboard. Now you are ready to add the dye…s


weve made dye from pomegranate, onion skins, sloes, beetroot and cabbage

Wool Adventures continued….

we are currently working with Romney Marsh primary schools to discover the properties of raw Romney Marsh wool.

Firstly, we have to say thank you for the wool donated by local farmer Chris

Secondly, local schools for allowing us to work with their classes year groups 5 & 6

this week we are trying natural dyes made from:photo-1

yes we’ve been boiling up cabbage! not just any old cabbage but Savoy cabbage only the best…..photo

also, the glittering and delicious pomegranate fruit…which smells a whole lot better than the previous batch


these are all going to be logged and recorded by the participating schoolchildren i.e. what we are using  and what colour do we get once the wool has been soaked in each dye.

Follow our blog to find out more…..


Wet Felting Workshop

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on Sunday the 9th of October we held a wet felting workshop at St Georges’ church, Ivychurch. It was great fun for myself and all of the participants and here are some photos and details of my method incase you would like to give it a go yourself!

Step 1 – Prepare your space!

Wet felting is (as the name hints) wet! so set up in a place where it doesn’t matter if water gets on the floor and make sure you have the means to mop anything up if needed.

You will needed….

  1. Bubble wrap (as large as you want your sheet of felt to be)
  2. A sushi mat (same size as above)
  3. Tutu net (as above)
  4. Wool for felting!
  5. Bar of soap
  6. Warm water

So, lay out a towel (optional) on your space and then the sushi mat and then the bubble wrap (bubbles up) on top of that.

Step 2 – Add wool!

Begin to tease bits of wool apart and gently lay three layers of the wool on top of the bubble wrap. First layer with all the wool horizontal, then vertical, then horizontal again. each layer should cover the space but be thin enough to see the surface underneath.


Gently lay your tutu net onto of your woolly layers and drizzle some warm water on top. you want your wool to be fully saturated but not swimming with water. the easiest way to do this is to sprinkle a little on at a time then press the wool down to see how wet it is getting. you want it wet enough that when you press your hand down on it some water comes up between your fingers.

Step 3 – Felt!

Take your soap and rub it over the whole surface of your piece – just once for now! Then take a small scrap of bubble wrap, create a bulb shape with it and with the bubble side facing down start to rub it over your surface in small circles. there should be quite a lot if sudds appearing so if not, add some more of your soap.


now you need to do this for quite a long time. at least 15 mins. every now and then pull the tutu net up and release the fibres of there wool that have attached itself to it as we don’t want that included in the felt!

After the felting is done its at this point you need to decide weather you want your felt thicker/denser; if so then repete the steps of adding the raw wool and rubbing with the soap. if you are happy with the thickness then please read on!

Remove the sushi matt from underneath (gently) and lay it on top of your felt. flip the whole thing over and remove the bubble wrap. roll it all up as tight as you can and roll back and forth for about 30 seconds. this process helps to remove any excess water and to aid the felting process. unroll your work, turn the felt 90 degrees and repeat. Do this again and again until you have done it four times so its been rolled in each direction twice.

Finally! Gently rinse in tepid water if your work is particularly soapy and then lay out to dry!

you will have a lovely piece of felt do do what you wish with – its so versatile you can make a pouch, coasters, book covers…the list is endless!

If you give it a go please let us know how it goes!


Liz xx

A Walk for Foraging

hello one and all!

Today I am writing a little blog about the Foragers walk and talk I went on along with lots of other windswept individuals with the lovely Sarah Watson from WildFeast!

we all me at 2pm at St Mary in the Marsh church ready to learn about what tasty treats await in the hedgerows of the marsh!

Off we went down the appropriately named ‘Pickney Bush Lane’, stopping now and then so Sarah could impart some of her knowledge on us about the wild treats such as nettles, mallow leaves, rose hips, blackberries, sloes and lots more! Here are some lovely snaps of our adventure…


After our walk we returned back to the church, Sarah talked us through our finds and what we could make with them. We sampled some lovely sloe and apple cordial which she very kindly gave us the recipe for! There was also some delectable blackthorne liquire available to sample which was really rather lovely.


What a wonderful Sunday afternoon it was. Coming up this Sunday (the 9th) is a drop in work shop with little old me at St George’s church in Ivychurch. We will be making felt pouches from wool from our very own Romney Marsh sheep! Pop in any time between 1 and 3pm, see you there!

Peace and love,