An Estonian girl who has found a home in Sweden.

Monday, April 12

April 12, 2004 Posted by Vaire

Today's post is dedicated to Ryan, who inspired me to start blogging.

Fun things to do with your friendly neighbourhood birch

Part I

You can dye wool with birch leaves. The leaves need to be collected in spring or early summer when they are fully formed, but still young. I translated the following recipe from a book "Taimedega värvimine" (Dyeing with Plants). Any errors are mine. So's the funny english, it's a straight translation without the benefit of an editor.

10 litres of water + 3 l for mordanting,
1 kilogram of birch leaves,
2 teaspoons copper vitriol,
1 teaspoon alum stone,
150 grams of yarn.

Prepare the mordant: dissolve 1 tsp alum stone in 3 l lukewarm water.
Wet 150 g of yarn*, immerse in mordant and heat at 80° celsius for 1 hour.
Boil birch leaves in 10 l of water (you can chop the leaves first). Boil for 1.5 hours, drain and cool the dye solution.
Add 2 tsp copper vitriol (no heap) and stir carefully.
Lift the yarn from mordant with sticks. Place the mordanted yarn slowly into the dye, so that there are no bubbles. The bubbles will add hydrogen to the dye solution which will worsen the result. Heat the yarn in the dye at 80-90°C for 1 hour.
Rinse and hang to dry.

* In plain water, I suppose, the author doesn't specify.