There's been a lot of dyeing going on around here. Not just the kind on my hair, which I've finally given in to. Just couldn't look at my grey self any more; maybe it's the fact that my clock ticks over another year tomorrow, don't know. I hate the expense, the time it takes, the bother... but my vain self won out, and my son too, who wants me to "...always have dark brown hair." But after all, autumn is the season of change so it's only natural right? Wink, wink.
We took the last of our elderberries to dye some pieces of linen I've been working with to make tiny pieces like these. I experimented with some blackberries a couple of weeks back with great success, until I washed the fabric, oops. We use mild, eco-friendly washing powder, but the colour drained until it was left looking like dirty linen, not luscious purples and mauves. I took the same linen pieces and re-dyed them.
Elderberries are so abundant here so they're perfect to experiment with. They're all through the hedgerows like blackberries, the large basketful above was just what I collected in our own garden. I'd always wanted to use the elderberries for dyeing or wine making, but the dyeing is a much quicker process - I need fast rewards. So I heated up the berries with an equal amount of water and after about
45 mins the colour of the liquid was amazing. I didn't use any chemicals, to prepare the fabric except to simmer it in salt water beforehand then rinsed it and put it in the pot of elderberry dye. I simmered it for about an hour, mixing the pieces up and moving them about to try and get an even colour, then turned off the heat and left the fabric in overnight.
Instead of wringing the fabric and hanging it, I rinsed it in cold water until the water ran clear, then hung it out (above). We were in a foggy cloud most of the day so it's a little less vibrant in these pictures but I really like the way it turned out, it's a light purple/blue/grey.
I'm hoping true blue will be in my dyeing future. I've been trying to find an indigo workshop for ages and finally found one nearby for October, just waiting to hear if they have space. I love the magic of indigo, an altogether more complicated dyeing process, so a one-day course is just what I've been looking for.
This week I also returned to a job of wine label designing, it required a lot of hummingbird sketches, then I found out my scanner is broken, grrrrrrrrrr. Not exactly the words I used, but I did growl too. And I'm really looking forward to seeing old friends on Thursday. I can't wait to share some laughs the way we always do.
Hope your week is a full and happy one too.