Colorious Results

All summer I have been experimenting with natural dyes from the plants in my yard.  After getting many wonderful yellows,  I was full of anticipation to try pokeberries and get red for a change.  And it worked!

Poke berries in the bucket.  I collected some every few days and kept them in the freezer until I had enough.

Pokeberries, Phytolacca americana.  Don’t forget – these are toxic, so use a container dedicated to non-edibles.

I used Rebecca Burgess’s method from Harvesting Color, which involves vinegar as a mordant and keeping the dye between 160° – 180°.  However, I did not remove the stems – I put the whole stem and berries into a net laundry bag to keep the plant material out of the yarn, and crushed them as best I could in the bag.  Then I left the whole thing in the pot with the yarn.  (Burgess credits the woman who experimented to find this method, which is colorfast, but I have lent out my book and can’t look up her name.)

poke berry red yarn

The small pink skein was mordanted with alum instead of vinegar.

I don’t know what I will use this yarn for, but I am so thrilled with the results.

And now, for some added colorious adorableness, a Green Treefrog I spotted the other day in the pear treel

green treefrog

Green Treefrog, Hyla cinerea. He stayed still while I shifted the leaf above him to get a better shot.

I hope you are as happy with your current project, whatever it may be!