Friday, December 5, 2014

it's to dye for... which our plucky heroine sees red...

Back in October, the Great Pokeberry Experiment began. Berries were gathered, and steeped in vinegar for a month. Then vinegar-mordanted wool was added to the cold solution and steeped for a week.

This is what my yarn looked like after soaking in the pokeberry-and-vinegar cold dye bath for a week... it isn't pink, or the purple I expected, but a deep "red wine" sort of color. The color of the wool is quite changeable, looks one way (deep crimson) in the sunlight, another (dark red wine) in shadow, and different (dark brown/red) yet under artificial lighting; in the sunlight, the poke-dyed wool turns out to be a deep crimson red color, slightly darker and warmer than this photo... pretty chuffed about this project I am !!

December SMART goal challenge
1 red-dyed wool,
from pokeberries
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  1. Praise the Pokeberries!!! That color is beautiful!! Did you know that the "pantone color of the year" is a deep maroon, they call it Marsala. Could it be that you and the pokeberries are ahead of the trend! (Yes, I say).

  2. Oh Claire, that is too funny! The color of the dyed yarn actually does look a little like Port wine, when the sunlight shines through it... who knew that my little experiments with natural dyestuff would end up so contemporary!

  3. What a beautiful colour! On my computer screen, it reminds me of beets.

  4. Thank you Pearl... I wish that the splendid colors of beets were actually useable as a dyestuff, but they are entirely fugitive. Though, until someone tried using a vinegar mordant on poke berries that was what common knowledge was about them, so it might be interesting to try... hmmm... but then, beets are too tasty to use as dye and not eat them... maybe the brine left from pickling them?

  5. That is a truly fantastic colour, very current this Autumn/Winter in the sores and would go fabulously with my Beautiful Burgundy Collection! I wonder what you will knit with it?

  6. Ruthie - it would be pretty difficult to knit much of anything my size with the yarn in the photo, as it was a sample skein of fingering weight wool, maybe enough to knit a tiny Christmas ornament! My plan is to use it in my tablet weaving, where is will be a splendid accent color. While pokeberries are only found in the New World, and hence are not historically correct for my Viking Age clothing that I use for my hobby of historic re-creation, the color is similar to some of the red color that can be derived from madder root.