In all the strange places pokeberries can be growing, I found them in the loft of one of our barns. We don't use this part, as it needs major repairs.
I was walking around the property last week and saw these and thought they would make a nice color to dye yarn with. After doing my research on the wildflowers on our property, I found out that pokeberry juice can be used to write with also. In fact, I was told the Declaration of Independence was possibly written with it. I'm not sure if that's completely true, but found it interesting. Pokeberry is poisonous and I removed a few that had grown near or in my garden this year.
Last week I got out the ladder and had one of the kids help me pick a bag full of these berries. Did you know you can actually freeze these and dye with them later?
I could not locate a local farmer who spins their own wool, so I purchased wool yarn.
I chose to use a safe mordant for my yarn. I mixed a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water. I heated my designated cook pot to a temperature that was just before boiling. I did not boil, as this is wool. I let the pot simmer for about one hour, then let it sit overnight. I did not dry my yarn, and I saved the solution for the dye.
I let the pot sit overnight again, and rinsed it out the next day. I placed the yarn on an old towel to dry. I have read that you should not place this out in the sun to dry, so it dried inside. That particular day it was extremely windy and raining.
I plan to crochet or knit with it, but have not decided on my project yet. I am very excited about the color and cannot wait to try other natural dyes.
I think this farm could use a few sheep to spin wool with.