frenchtown fiber

Chris Mundy and Kate House try to make art while navigating the crap life throws at them.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pokeberries: Don't Bother

I performed my final pokeberry experiment this morning. I had a variety of alum-treated fabrics at hand, a small bucket of pokeberries simmering in an enamel stock pot purchased for this purpose. I put lace, muslin, and cotton prints into the mix and cooked them for a couple of hours with soda ash. The result? A bunch of fabric that looked vaguely dingy. Do yourself a favor and don't waste your time natural dying with pokeberries. They look promising, but you get nothing for your efforts.

I did  have a couple of boxes of good old fashioned RIT dye on hand. I know this stuff isn't great, but it is easy to get your hands on. I cooked up a mess o' that on the stove and put a bunch of fabric in this new dye bath.  I happened to use pink again and I have some very pretty fabric drying on the line right now. It came out very uneven, which I think is a problem with the stove top method, except for me it is exactly what I wanted. I over-dyed some blue and white and black and white checks and they look great. I have brown dye that I plan to use next. Some of it will go over the pink.

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