FelinFach is an independent Welsh company based at a 200 year old former flour mill in the Preseli mountain area of Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK. We design and make handmade cushions, throws, bedding and hand-dyed yarns with natural botanical plant based colours and extracts. We also design traditionally woven Welsh blankets which are traditionally woven for us in local mills. We use the fabrics from these local mills to make our handmade Welsh wool crafts. We use wherever possible, wool from quality rare-breed sheep.
For many years, I have used a room in our house (the big mill) for sewing but when it became not big enough for my work, I moved to a renovated studio building in the garden. I had spent ages thinking of a name for the business without anything making sense. Then inspiration - I had always called the studio building in the garden, the little mill and FelinFach means "little mill" in Welsh and from then on the business name became FelinFach. The logo came from the two capital letter F's in our name, toppled over to form mountain peaks, symbolising the Preseli mountains where we live and work.
And because there's only me and a few helpers, our products are created in limited numbers with personal care and attention. No two products will ever be exactly the same even if they have the same design, because they are handmade! But we see that as part of the beauty of an individually handmade product.
My interest in hand dyed yarn and natural dyes stems from not being able to find the right yarn for the project in the right colour, tone or shade. Once you have that colour in your head or ‘ideas’ journal it is hard to let it go. My journey began using acid dyes – not as bad as it sounds, these dyes need an acidic ingredient to bind to the yarn or fabric e.g. vinegar. Out of curiosity I tried the natural dyes and once I had, I was hooked! Whilst the synthetic dyes are easier and definitely less time consuming to use, the colours achieved using natural dye make it so worthwhile. There is a beauty and depth of colour to natural dyes that becomes even more beautiful with age. The difficulty in obtaining consistency between dye baths can be an issue but I think this is a part of the charm in using natural dye - never quite knowing what the results will be and usually being pleasantly surprised!
A natural progression from dyeing yarn was to dye, block and screen print my fabric. This is definitely a labour of love and patience! To convert dye extract into ink or paint at the correct consistency and the patience needed waiting for the fabric to cure before you can see the result is not one of my strong points but for the most part well worth the wait. The Indigo vat is a challenge and process of its own also worthwhile for the results can be stunning and I don’t need to wait too long!
I use the traditional dyes of madder, indigo, cutch, lac,logwood etc. and natural mordants, modifiers and tannins. The yarn is either Welsh fleece from a local farm or British wool from a British spinning mill. Whenever I can I source my supplies from UK companies.
On a personal note, I have been dyeing wool, knitting, sewing and quilting for longer than I care to remember and certainly willing to tell! But the opportunity has now arrived where I can spend more time on my favourite pastime designing and making Welsh wool blankets and throws, handmade quilts, cushions and hand-dyed yarns with natural colours - FelinFach has come to life...
Founder, FelinFach Natural Textiles