Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dyeing Wool with Pokeberries

Border Leicester Handspun Yarn Dyed with Pokeberries, just taken out of the dye pot-before the rinse.


I have wanted to dye wool for quite some time. When I was visiting our small town library, the librarian told me she had a new book about dyeing wool, using plants. ( love small town libraries) I checked out the book, Harvesting Color.
I love it-it was the motivation that I needed to get started. The next few weeks were spent collecting up supplies. 

My first choice for a dye project was Pokeweed . I loved the color and we have Pokeweed on our property. I was told that Pokeweed wasn't colorfast, but according to the instruction in this book, it can be, so I decided to trust the book. 

What I learned:
~Pokeberries are messy! 
~It takes a LOT of Pokeberries...
~It doesn't smell all that great-the hot plate, I purchased made it possible to do it in the mill and not in    the house.
~I need a sieve, the strainer I used let some of the seeds stay behind in the dye pot. Something I   discovered  when I was rinsing the yarn.
~It takes a lot of time,  most of it is spent keeping an eye on the temps, in the dye pot.

I am sure using commercial dyes would be less trouble, but I found the whole process satisfying. I enjoy spending time in the woods and fields foraging for plants, I love the natural colors, and I will definitely be doing it again. 

I have some Goldenrod in the dye pot now...



14 comments:

  1. I have used pokeberries before, and this year I have a plant growing near the house, and no use for it. I might pick the berries and freeze them for future dye. I love the color of it too.

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    Replies
    1. We have quite an abundance. I never thought of freezing berries, great idea!

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  2. Oh it was so worth the trouble it is a beautiful shade. I love it. Hug B

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  3. Ooh..aah - it's beautiful. And I too love the natural dyes. It's as though they are easier for the eyes to see, if that makes any sense.

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    1. Thanks!
      The natural dyes have been fun to work with. I do like the colors, a little more muted than other dyes.

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  4. Natural dyes have to have less chemicals in them too...Fabulous color! What are you going to make for yourself with this yarn?

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    1. I would like to make a poncho using my grey Romney and this color as an accent.
      Never made a poncho so that is my knitting challenge this fall :)

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  5. The color is amazing! I can't wait to see what you make with it. Thanks for sharing at Simple Lives Thursday; hope to see you again this week.

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  6. What a beautifully vibrant, yet soft color! Very nice. :)

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  7. Wow, the colors came out gorgeous! It sounds like a messy process, but so interesting!

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    Replies
    1. Caitlin, It has been fun experimenting :)

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  8. I LOVE this! So, so gorgeous!

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