Here’s a ghoulish way to dye yarn – naturally. This is a perfect experiment for this time of year. Apparently this is not something new. I’ve just never done it before. I absolutely love the results. And what fun to have this sitting out on the porch for Halloween!
Just be sure to keep small children away. This is not an eatable substance.
All you need for this is a couple handfuls of ripe Poke Berries, a Pumpkin and 1 cup of Vinegar. You will also want to use rubber gloves on this one. I have heard of it done without the Vinegar, but I wanted to ensure more colorfastness.
Cut the top off of your Pumpkin and remove the seeds. Place the “guts” back into the Pumpkin.
Now for the fun part. Squish your Poke Berries thoroughly and mush them together into the Pumpkin cavity.
I added about a cup of water to help with the coverage.
Now add in the yarn and kneed with the juice until fully saturated. Place the lid back onto the Pumpkin and leave it for up to 5 days.
Keep your gloves handy so that you can turn over the yarn once a day. You will notice that it gets rather stinky by day 4 or 5. This is the fermentation that acts as mordant to set the dye. I believe this is why some people don’t feel it’s necessary to add the Vinegar, but on day 5 I added it in the morning and let it soak in for about 6 hours, just to be sure. It also seemed to help cut the smell from the fiber.
On day 5 remove the yarn and rinse thoroughly. Carefully pick out any debris and hand to dry. If you still notice a bit of odor, repeat the rinse.
Isn’t it fabulous?! This is some of my hand spun from my sheep “Alex”.
Poke Berry is not extremely light fast and will fade over time. My suggestion would be to make something with the yarn that will not be placed in direct sunlight for extended times. I’m thinking I may make a cowl with mine…
If you are interested in creating some Hand Spun yarn of your own, check out the Kromski products available through The Hillbilly Rabbit!