…And your father smelled of elderberries

I’ve wanted to dye with berries for a long time. Why? They are rarely in plant dyeing books, so I wanted to see if they are as inept for dyeing as people say.
Elderberries come in the edible kind and the kind that I’ve heard is ”poisonous”. I believe that both kinds can be used for dyeing. Anyhow I’ve got a tree right outside the house and on the other side of the house is the freeway E4. That means my neighbours won’t use the berries for jam.

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The tree and my helper

Picking the berries is best done in a bucket. A basket will get stained.

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Trying to only get the berries in the pot

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I always forget to use gloves. I looked like this for a couple of days, mostly my lefty hand got stained…

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A normal kitchen utensil is very helpful; here I used a potato masher.

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The eldeberry ”porridge” was separated to remove the possibilities to get stains from the berries.

At this time it was very late at night and I went to sleep. The juice ended up in the bucket for 2-3 days. Coming home from work, wondering why my flat smelled like a winery, I suddenly realised that the juice hade started to ferment, on its own. It was time to dye.

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Yeast bubbles!

First I needed to prepare the yarn. Washing is essential! And then I used alum as a mordant, 15%.

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I also had some white woollen clothes that my son have already stained quite badly so I tried to dye them too. The top was 100% natural, no mordant. The trousers I had prepared with alum. I know that these clothes will be washed plenty of times. If the dye stays on these, it’s a dye to count on.

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Here’s the top after being washed 2 times. A bit more brown/grey/purple than the yarn. Sixten is holding the wool detergent that I always use when washing wool in machine. It’s called Sonett. You can get at http://www.ekotextil.se.

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What will I use the yarn for? It might become a bit of a blanket.
Once again – I’m sorry for the phone blogging. It’s really ugly, bare with me.
/Maria

5 reaktioner på ”…And your father smelled of elderberries

  1. Ping: Maria dyes with elderberries | Albrechts Bössor

  2. I’m surprised you got such a bright colour out of the berries. I’d be very interested to see how the dye fares with washing and also with sun bleaching. Perhaps you could tape a small piece to some cardboard, cover half of it with light-proof cardboard/paper and leave the whole thing on a windowsill. Then you could see how it fades and compare it to the original colour.

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