Monday, August 2, 2010


Ok, so I know I just said that Amaranth was my favorite plant, but now it's Elderberry. With medicinal, edible, and dye properties it is a winner!

here are some images from a recent dye experiment. this was with the leftover berries from my sister's Elderberry Cordial.

I put about 2 cups of elderberry mush with water and brought to a boil. I then added a few pieces of handwoven nettle fabric and some silk-wool scraps. I boiled for 1 hour solid. Then, I turned off the heat, covered and let sit over night. In the morning I removed my fabric, rinsed and enjoyed the gorgeous wine-color!!

The slight difference between the elderberry dyed nettle (left) and natural (right)
I loved this two tone effect on the wool silk!


Laura Woltag said...

deepa! one of my best foraging memories is of harvesting elderberries along the moose river, in my grandpa's "secret patch" that he found canoeing + not very many know about. i made jam + jarred them with some wild blueberries. i am no longer home in the fall to harvest cranberries in the bog- but one day. thanks for your dye post -- wow, such a lovely, hearty berry! xo!

DIAN said...

Once again thanks so much for sharing this - I learn so much from this blog.

Gumbootmama said...

So nice to connect thru your blog !

I live in BC and have been into the unplugged, back to basic, skills for many years. It's very humbling.
We need each other..
...each one of us only has a small piece of the 'wisdom' pie.

I last lived on Haida Gwaii, (Queen Charlotte Is.). Now I live on Vancouver Is.

This month I made an usnea tincture and found a great way to make powder out of some yellow, hard as a rock Oregon Grape root....with my Lee Valley ginger grater ! I dug up some comfrey root and wanted to dry it up above the woodstove so I peeled it into thin strips with a carrot peeler and it dried quickly when it was thin like that!

I made an extremely sharp and hard awl for punching leather with a scrap of yew wood.

I am getthing better this week, finally, at learning to make cordage (rope) from dried tule and also sedge (dry first to shrink, then soak before working with it).

Anybody know how to make a pale sea blue-green dye ?

"Happiness is Home-Made" !

"Happiness is Home-Made" !