~Why are measurements in metres and inches? When you grow up in Canada in the 1960s, your brain always uses both and is less flexible than it used to be. A metre’s a little longer than a yard, so that’s nice.
~Other stores offer "hand-dyed" or "naturally dyed" ribbon. What's the difference with "plant-dyed?" Hand-dyed refers to a process that isn't industrial in scale or in terms of equipment; actual people use their actual hands to place fabric into dye baths. But it doesn't refer to the dyes used, which may not be natural or plant-based. Naturally dyed usually refers to the use of powdered dyes extracted from plant material, or to the use of dried raw materials both purchased from many fantastic sources. We use the term plant-dyed because our dyes begin as local (mostly-organically grown) plants cooked into small batches of dyes, and used to colour silk placed--by hand--into that bath.
~I ordered 2-in ribbon, but this is more like 2.5-in. That’s okay. We cut ribbon a bit wide to compensate for trimming mishaps or colour variations, or just because we like the look in certain colours. Many pieces are closer to 2.5 in, and most are a little long, too. Cutting on the bias--to get a flexible drape--also makes the fabric stretchy, and cutting can be quite exciting. Organza cutting on the bias is being considered for the next summer Olympics.
~How much do I need? No right answer! Depending on the look you're after--and this depends on style of dress, choice of flowers, theme of wedding, your vision--we typically suggest 1-3 metres for bridesmaid bouquets and 2-5 for the bride. Not all of the ribbon will be looped or tied; pieces can be pinned at the base of the blooms. Styled or editorial shoots are all about fullness and extravagant beauty! Your floral designer will know what's best.
~Can I custom order widths? Please don't hesitate to ask if you'd like a narrower width for event styling.
~I'm on Vancouver Island; can I arrange to pick up my order to save on shipping? Local vendors and brides may arrange pick at the farm. Please select this option at checkout. We also offer free shipping on domestic (Canadian) orders over $150.00.
~Is it possible to backorder colours? When dyeing with plants, batches are never quite the same. Climate, weather, soil make-up, watering, time of season: any or all of these can influence colour. Horsetail, for example, will absorb minerals and metals from soil, so depending on where—or when—we harvest on the farm, the colour varies slightly. So best not to assume supplies will be replenished if you’re counting on it for an event.
~Do you use natural powders for dyeing? We’re committed to using only plants harvested from the farm and nearby roadsides (but we’re tempted!). While we aren’t able to offer all colours in every shade, we think the subtle and moody variations we get are just a little more spiritually connected to a bride’s bouquet. Remember: we grew up on the west coast in the 1960s.
~Can I send a fabric sample to match with ribbon? Who knows why, but when we look at all the ribbon colours produced each year, and look at them as a suite, there isn’t one that doesn’t fit into an overall super-palette. We hope you'll avoid the urge to match, and enjoy the depth and dimensions that happen when colours aren’t quite the same but grew up together.
~What’s with the names of your colours? Ask 10 brides to pick out “blush” and you’ll get 10 different shades, not all of them pink. One woman’s blush is another woman’s champagne. We’ve tried to describe our colours in a helpful way, and photos are taken in natural light against white linen. The names are words we like to say and hear, often associated with the plant matter used in that particular dye. Silica, for example, refers to the cellular make-up of horsetail; Bramble suggests berries were part of the dye; Copper, well that’s copper beech.
~What chemicals do you use? Alum is used as a mordant to make the silk more colourfast (though we like to use an aluminum pot instead); very small amounts of iron may be used to “sadden” or darken a colour after dyeing. (As in life, saddening often results in a deeper beauty...) Many of our dye plants are rich in natural tannins which help colour attach to fabric, so often we use no additives at all. Post-dyeing, we use no starches, sizing, or fabric softener. All of these make our heads go funny, and we think we’re funny enough already.
~What happens if the ribbon gets dirty or wet before my event? Like most of us, silk is tougher than it looks, and we’ve done all we can to make sure your ribbon is colourfast. It can be washed gently in cold water with a mild soap and hung to dry, just be sure you work out the wrinkles first, unless you don’t mind the striping that results if colour accumulates in the folds. Press using a silk setting, or a little higher. You might want to have a handheld steamer on site for your event.