The elder berry tree is fruiting and the sight of those little purple bursts of colour proved too much for me to resist. I harvested about two cups of berries and froze them in one of my handy paint bags (inside a silicon container to avoid mess in the freezer). Apparently the freezing process breaks down the cell walls and makes it easier for the colour to leach out. The next day I put them into my solar dye jar with some water and a half cup of home made vinegar. The acidity of the vinegar helps to bind the colour to the yarn.
The jar sat in the sun for two days and on the third morning I suddenly realised that I hadn’t mordanted the yarn before popping it into the dye. So I dumped a tablespoon of alum into the dye bath and plonked the wool back in for another day (I am known for being half-assed).
After three days of soaking (one full day with alum in the dye bath), I rinsed the yarn out and got a rather gorgeous lilac shade. Beautiful and delicate, but not what I was expecting. I wonder if the yarn would take up more dye if I pre mordanted it?
2 thoughts on “Natural dye – Elder berry”
I surmise it would take up more dye — resulting in a darker shade. The results speak for themselves; the last-minute addition of alum gave it a deeper color.
If I may also suggest, maybe leaving it longer in the elderberry dye would do some wonders?
It is possible that more dye would be taken up if I added more had more dye matter in the pot. I am not sure if leaving it longer would make it a darker shade or not, but it is worth a try. I know that there are so many variables to try that I will never get bored with playing with these dyes.