I stumbled upon some elderbushes. Did I tell you that I really, really like this plant!?!
It’s time for something new, I thought.
Somewhere I’ve read that elderberries were once used for dyeing fabrics. I don’t doubt that. Have you ever handled elderberries in your kitchen? Do you know what I mean? They’re like curcuma, stick to everything …
As it happens, I have – among other things – some old, white undershirts lying around. With fine lace at the collar and arms and fine rip. The ones your granny used to buy you in the late-eighties, you know the ones.
They’re 100% cotton, which is a problem. You see, when dying fabric it’s best to use fibers which are animal based. Like wool, or silk. Plant based fibers don’t absorb the colours not nearly as good as the animal ones. Not to mention the synthetic lace in the collar. But that’s no reason not to try.
I cooked the usual eldersap. (six umbels of elderberries, 1/2 L water, 1teaspoon alum)
Also I cooked the shirt. (100g shirt, 15g alum, 1L water, 1 hour) The german word for this is ‚beizen‘, I’m not sure how to say it in english, Maybe ‚to mordant‘?
After one hour, I let the fabric drip of and then dipped it into the eldersap. I had to add a wee bit of water to cover the shirt completely, but not much.
Funny how the colour beginns to spread over the white fabric …
Now I need to be patient. The shirt has to soak in the sap.
hope think one night is enough …