Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pokeberry Yarn

Greetings Dear Friends!

Well, when last I wrote, Miss Hickory and I were "hanging around" our person's spinning wheel waving merrily at her each time she passed by in hopes of having a bit of yarn. We had managed to gather the few remaining pokeberries off our bush growing in the back yard before the birds ate the last of them. We hoped to dye some yarn for lovely fall and winter shawls.

Our person finally took pity on us and provided us with a bit of yarn she had just finished spinning last week. We claimed our prize and set off to dye it. First, we decided to enlist a bit of help with the job. Miss Hickory and I visited our next door neighbors at Ms. Merriweather's Victorian Seminary for Young Ladies to ask for volunteers.

Ms. Merriweather said we could take a helper as long as the lucky girl finished her lunch with us. With it being a fine, brisk fall day, however, we had a bit of difficulty recruiting a helper to stay indoors to dye yarn. At last, Amelia, a little girl who recently arrived at our house...was kind enough to volunteer.
Amelia is a stowaway. When our friend Hitty Prudence attended summer camp in August, Amelia decided to sneak into her luggage and return home with her new found best-friend. The poor dear ended up being stored away with the luggage in our person's craft armoir for several days.

Our person was too busy to help Hitty Prudence unpack when she returned home. So, she simply shoved Hitty Prudence's luggage into the armoire (which is the fate of many things around here....we didn't know there was actually still room in there to stuff anything else...but our person somehow managed). Fortunately, the camp administrator sent out an e-mail informing camp attendees' people that there were a few stowaways who had decided to find new homes. One was still missing. Our person searched Hitty Prudence's luggage...and out tumbled Amelia. We were most glad to have our new girl's help!

So, off the the three of us went to gather up all our supplies.
Our first step was to pre-soak our yarn. The three of us managed to shove it into a bucket of water.
Our next step (literally) was to step on the berries to mash them and release their purple dye. Amelia rather enjoyed that part.
After having a stomping good time, we poured our smashed berries into a pan of water.
As Miss Hickory stirred the berries around, Amelia and I added a bit of white vinegar to help the dye stick to the yarn.
After adding the yarn to the mixture, we had to wait for the water and yarn to boil for 30 minutes. A perfect time to have lunch!
The water had to cool completely before we took out the yarn, which takes awhile. So, after lunch, we returned Amelia back to Miss Merriweather. We promised her a new winter shawl for her assistance. Amelia was delighted!
The yarn finally cooled and our person was kind enough to hang it in the basement to dry. It is more of a rose color than purple, but still perfect for fall! It will take a couple of days to dry completely....and then we will begin to crochet our shawls!