Pokeberry Terror

If you’re wondering what the Dorset is for, I’ve been tasked with turning it into many natural colors. So last week, I pulled out my dye pots, which I didn’t think I’d do while in this apartment.

I had 5 lbs of pokeberries left from last fall’s “harvest”, and it would be split between 1/4 of the Dorset and some lovely white Shetland roving that Jared had got me for Christmas. I put the two pots side by side and mordanted and dyed them identically, but the results were drastically, almost tragically, different.

I’m quite pleased with how the Dorset turned out. Fire Engine Red isn’t quite what I was going for, but it’s a nice color. Meanwhile, the Shetland was a different story entirely:

Let’s say it together folks: EW! It looks like a pokeberry monster like… menstruated on my roving, then did a shoddy job washing it out. It’s a sort of salmony dirty orange with pink spots and fuscia spots and streaked with this weird brown gunk that I’ve never seen before. Ugh.

So the Shetland needs a re-do, which makes me rather sad. I’ll just have to wait for the fall to roll around again, pick more pokeberries and overdye this mess. I know what I did wrong – too much water, shouldn’t have poured it over, let it cook way too hot. At least my first major dyeing monstrosity didn’t happen on anything that I was hoping to make money on, or that belongs to someone else. Sheesh.

2 thoughts on “Pokeberry Terror

  1. So the Dorset you dyed before you carded it….interesting.
    And the Shetland you dyed while braided? Also interesting. I just know nothing about such things. Maybe on the Shetland, it would help to unbraid it, and pull it apart and re-braid it, so the dark parts are distributed throughout?


  2. Yeah, you can dye before carding, in fact i’d recommend it as handcarded rolags or batts would probably fall apart and become a mess through the dyeing process. But I’ve never tried that; I’m just going on instinct. But machine-processed rovings should be able to stand up ok.

    Dyeing the shetland while braided was just a guess; I don’t think I’ll do it again. I think I’ll probably make it into some kind of faux “skein” when I overdye it.


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