Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pokeberry Adventure Part 2

The first step in making dye is to make a very acidic solution. Into the dyeing crockpot went a lot of vinegar-equal parts white vinegar and distilled water to be exact.

 Then it was time to mash, mash, mash. All these tools are dedicated to dyeing. I don't use them to mash potatoes. Ever.

 I was surprised at just how much thick juice I ended up with. It didn't seem like I picked that much. I added more vinegar water to get the last bit off the broken stems.

 Here is where I made a mistake. I should have strained the stuff through a fine sieve. Lots of little seeds went right through the holes but I didn't know it at the time.

See what I mean? There's quite a bit still stuck in the fiber.

 I know I should have soaked those batts before I tried to shove them in the dye but I didn't.  I planned to and forgot. Mistake number two. I heated them on low all day and then left them to cool all night.

The next morning they got rinsed and spun in the salad spinner. They have to dry in the shade. Sunlight is apparently a big no no for natural dyes. Luckily it was a very cloudy day. I still put them in a shady spot that never gets direct sun.

In real life they look better than they look here. My camera doesn't do reds. Three are a rich red/violet and one is a pinkish/salmon color-most likely from being on the top of the heap in crockpot. As soon as they are dry I'm putting them away until the dead of winter when this whole early autumn adventure will be a welcome memory.


  1. Beautiful! I think you will love to spin these up this winter!
    (Remember, cheesecloth is your friend! It is always good to put the dyestuff through a lined sieve for what is now an obvious reason but this was an experiment , remember?! I'd say a highly successful one, too!)

  2. They turned out a beautiful color or should I say, colors! I can't wait to see them spun up.

  3. I love it! Would pre soaking the wool in a weak vinegar solution make any difference? I'm going to Kentucky next week and will gather some poke berries to try.

    1. If I had soaked it would have made it easier to get the dye to all the bunched up places. I have some light spots and even some white spots where there were air pockets.

  4. Those very berry skeins are gorgeous. You did it. In January those pretty yarns will make you smile!

  5. I totally believe you when you say that the wool looks even better in person, but I would be perfectly happy with the colors I see in the photos. But then, I love pinks!

  6. Yay! Thanks for sharing! I think it looks great as is! But whoa, that's some work huh?

  7. Great color! Wish you were around when I did my high school chemistry project on natural dyes, but you probably weren't born yet! LOL

  8. Thanks for posting. Pokeberry has come to Portugal. I thought it was a nasty invasive poisonous weed, but know I will do some dyeing. Thanks.