Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Third Time's A Charm

Previously, I blogged about my adventures in natural dyeing using goldenrod, turmeric, and tea. Here's a quick refresher. Here are the dyed wool batts.
From top to bottom: tea, turmeric, and goldenrod.
I spun the batts into a heavy worsted weight (not quite bulky) yarn.
Left to right: tea, turmeric, and goldenrod.
Then I became full of myself as the "Mistress of Natural Dyeing" so I moved onto dyeing with berries...pokeweed berries, specifically. I picked and steeped the berries into a beautiful dyebath.

Pokeweed berries in hot water.
I ran out of cheesecloth so I had to improvise and use a colander.
Well, I used washing soda as my first mordant.The wool looked great in the dyebath.
But nothing happened. The color didn't take at all. On my second attempt, I used salt as my mordant. Again, nothing happened. I obviously wasn't using the correct mordant or using the mordant correctly (you know, operator error).

Patience is not one of my virtues; however, I am highly competitive with myself, so I gave it a THIRD try.  This time I used vinegar and had some great results.

The wool on the right is 100% Romney roving. It sat at the bottom of the dyebath. Is that why it's a darker, more purplish color?! I'm not sure. The wool on the left is a 100% Merino batt. It was on the top in the dyebath and turned out a lighter, softer pink.

I love the difference in color and they both spun up into some very lovely yarn.
And here are all of my naturally-dyed yarns together!

Although the process is a bit more time consuming, I want to explore natural dyes a lot more and see what kind of variations I can come up with. As I said, I'm very competitive with myself! :)


  1. The pokeweed berries made an incredible color. Now I feel bad about weeding them out of the flower beds!!! Sort of.

  2. Our yard is loaded with weeds; however, now I have a new perspective...I'm calling it my natural dye garden.

  3. Wow! I love those colours!:-)

  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE those gorgeous colors!!! I always love to see the natural dye colors set together like that. they are just always harmonious and gorgeous. Inspiring!