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William Morris Strawberry Thief

26th February 2019

If you browse through our collections, you will see just how many beautiful William Morris designs we license and print for an array of products. Do you have a favourite? One of the things we love the most about Morris’ designs is that they often have a story behind them too. In this blog, we wanted to discuss our favourite stories behind the design.

Strawberry Thief has long been one of our favourite Morris designs. It’s extremely well known today so you might recognise it even if you’ve not looked into Morris designs too closely. First produced in 1883 at Merton Abbey, it was an absolute triumph for Morris. It marked the perfecting of the indigo- dye technique. During the industrial revolution, machines were increasing in popularity and Morris wanted a return to traditional craftsmanship.

Like many of Morris’ designs, Strawberry Thief was inspired by nature. The story goes that it’s inspired by when William Morris was watching the thrushes under the strawberry nets at Kelmscott Manor, stealing his strawberries. May Morris spoke of the design which sparks a wonderful illustration in the mind when you think of it, “You can imagine my Father going out in the early morning and watching the rascally thrushes at work on the fruit beds and telling the fanned who growls ‘I’d like to wring their necks!’ that no bird in the garden must be touched. There were certainly more birds than strawberries in spite of attempts at protection. And the walls of the little dining-room are hung with this note of the June garden and the little lords of it.” What a lovely insight into the Morris family life!

His method of printing in Merton Abbey was one way Morris kept true to his beliefs. Printing using traditional methods, the Indigo Dye method was a complex and laborious process. It took three days to prepare and due to the complex nature of the process, it needed to be really accurate. It was a time consuming way to print but it was a beautiful way to print and created the stunning colours. To begin, the cloth was dyed all over in an indigo vat – this created the uniform blue colour all over the fabric.

Then, it was treated with a bleaching reagent which reduced the blue to the degree wanted to achieve the desired base colour. Next, mordants were applied to the bleached part. The whole cloth was then immersed into a madder vat which gave the proper tint that was necessary for the particular design wanted at that print run.

Excess colour was cleaned off and then the fabric is run through soap at boiling point to set the fabric. Then, the cloth was laid outside in the sun with the white side face up so that the design is purified. It’s clear from this to see why the whole process took three days to complete and why the fabric was so expensive to purchase. Today, all our licensed William Morris designs and exclusive French Floral designs are printed in the United Kingdom using a modern, flat bed printing technique.

Our products are both printed and manufactured in the United Kingdom, and are licensed designs by William Morris, printed both size and colour-wise to our own specifications to best suit our products. We have William Morris Strawberry Thief in both a red and blue colourway.

Which is your favourite story behind a William Morris design?

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We hope you’re having a lovely Easter 🐣 Choccy treats galore with some beautiful Morris florals, what more could we want! 🌷🤍
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Morris fan? There’s 15% off our entire collection of licensed William Morris fabrics and products, this Easter weekend only! 🐣 Use code: EASTER15 at checkout, on our website only, until Monday at midnight 🌙 Enjoy this Easter treat from us! 🤍
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We love all the beautiful spring florals this time of year 🌷 We’ve also not been able to resist starting early on the Easter treats! 🐣
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Introducing Daisy, our latest William Morris licensed design 🌿 Daisy was the second wallpaper William Morris designed, but the first to be produced in 1864, so it remains a special design to every Morris fan ✨ It must have been a favourite of Morris himself, as embroideries of Daisy were used to decorate at the stunning Red House, Morris's home in Bexleyheath. 
We hope you love Daisy as much as we do! Available now on our website, in a limited range of products, fabric is coming soon! ☺️
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#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabric#onlinefabricstore #preraphaelite #williammorrisdesign#upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #daisy
A fabric stack of William Morris floral dreams 🤍
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#williammorris #williammorrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #fabrics #floralfabrics #onlinefabrics #onlinefabricshop #upholsteryfabric #upholsteryfabrics #curtainfabric #curtainfabrics #strawberrythief #fabricstack
Spring floral ready with our William Morris Willow Bough table setting 🌿 Do your weekend plans also revolve around tea/coffee and baked goods? 🤍
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Monday done right, laying the table with our beautiful licensed William Morris Willow Bough green tablecloth, completed with a @bettys treat 🥰 
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A little fabric stack of our William Morris florals, waiting to be crafted into a project 🪡 Can you name them all from the little peak? 🌿 
All our fabrics are printed in the UK and are licensed William Morris designs, printed both size and colour wise to our own specification ✨ If you’d like a sample, just send us a message 📬
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Showcasing our licensed William Morris Lily fabric, it’s so light and bright it’s making us excited for Spring! 🌿
Designed by William Morris in 1874, it incorporates the willow background with lilies and wild flowers ✨ The design must have been well loved by Morris himself- it was the wallpaper he used to decorate his bedroom at Kelmscott Manor, his home in Lechlade, Gloucestershire 🌿
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Thrilled with our reupholstered chair, brought back to life with our heavyweight William Morris Willow Bough Green 🌿 It’s amazing what a pop of colour and a floral will do to a room 🤍 If you fancy learning how we did this upcycle, we’ll write a blog on it ☺️ 
& if you’re in the UK and would like a sample of any of our fabrics, please let us know 📮
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#williammorris #morris #williammorrisfabric #morrisfabric #williammorrisfabrics #willowbough #reupholstery #reupholstered #upholsteryfabric #upcycledfurniture
The different weights of fabric 🧵 We have four weights of fabrics; cotton, heavyweight, drill and pvc, all work well for different projects. For a free sample, please feel free to message us and we’ll get them sent out to you 📮
✨ For our 100% cotton, it’s great for quilting, dress making and more, our lightest weight of cotton
✨ Our heavyweight cotton is perfect for curtains and light upholstery, a heavier fabric than our 100% cotton 
✨ Our drill cotton fabric is our heaviest weave fabric, suitable for light upholstery 
✨ Our PVC is our pvc/oilcloth coated cotton fabric, brilliant as a table covering, it’s sold by the half metre and as it won’t fray, is great to put straight on the table 🌿

The cotton, heavyweight and drill cotton are all 152cm wide and the pvc fabric is 140cm wide. All are sold by the half metre 📏
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In January when the Christmas sparkles come down, we’ve got to bring out even more Morris florals to make sure the house still feels sparkly and beautiful ✨ if you’re also looking to revamp any of the home and looking for a licensed William Morris design for a pop of colour, get in touch for any samples so you can choose which works in your home 🤍
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#williammorris #morris #strawberrythief #preraphaelite #onlinefabric #onlinefabricstore #fabrics #williammorrisfabric
Our blue Strawberry Thief oven gloves are back in stock, just in time for Christmas! 🎄 will you be gifting some Morris floral magic this year? Or hope to be receiving some! 🎁 Our matching sets of kitchenware and tableware are very popular this time of year, remember if you’re sending direct to your loved one, you can select for the items to be gift wrapped at checkout on our website! 🌟
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Our Black Friday sale is now live! 🥂 On our website only, use code, BLACKFRIDAY10 all weekend for 10% off your order ☺️ Ends Sunday at midnight 🌙
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Dreaming of the sunshine 💭 This is our smallest size of tote bag, in our licensed William Morris Strawberry Thief, on this bike ride we were pretty happy that it was filled to the brim with snacks to eat on the beach ☀️ On Wintery nights we love to look back on the sunshine! ☁️
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We're so thrilled our new website is now live! 🌿Just in time for Christmas shopping, it's much easier to use, and still full of beautiful licensed William Morris designs on every page! We hope you like the change, especially where lots of you are featured on the new 'inspiration' page! 🌟 We absolutely love that it showcases everyones tablescapes and craft projects, just click on them to see the design and who posted the photo so you can see more of their content ☺️ If you're happy for us to use your photos, just send us a message, we'd love it to be a page we can keep adding to throughout the seasons 🪴
Special thank you to @adigi_agency for creating our website, we love it! 🤍
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A few of our licensed William Morris designs all hanging out, aren’t they iconic! It’s amazing that you can see a Morris print and instantly know it’s his design 🌿
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#williammorris #morris #williammorrisdesign #teatowels #goldenlily #strawberrythief #willowbough #upholsteryfabric #curtainfabric #onlinefabricshop