Wednesday, October 22, 2014

wishful Wednesday - pokeweed

in which our plucky heroine contemplates massive pokeweed, taller than my head, covered in pokeberries...
Definitely a Do-Not-Eat (poison), but theoretically the berries make a vivid red dyestuff. From what I have read it works best on wool, and needs mordanted with vinegar. This blog has information about a cold dye process that gave a vivid purple, as well as some data about how fast the dye is.

I am quite tempted to gather some of the berries to try out this process. There are enough large glass jars sitting unused in the lower pantry that one could be reserved for non-food use, and white vinegar is cheap. Some red/purple wool for cardweaving, that uses locally grown dyestuff, would be fun, even though poke is not SCA-period appropriate...

note: There are plenty of things that are used in natural dyeing that are not edible and can be quite toxic. That is why having separate pans and implements is important, as is using good safe protocol. There are plenty of things commonly grown in gardens around here that are just as toxic to humans. (This is by far not the most toxic locally common weed either; Poison Hemlock is very common here)

1 comment:

  1. I have taken the poke berries I gathered and added them to a glass jar of vinegar, and mashed them well using a piece of scrap wood. They now will steep for a month, and then I can try dyeing some small amounts of fingering wool for card weaving. The jar full of magenta liquid has been placed for storage in the paint cupboard and not in the pantry!