Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pokeberry Adventures Continued!

 Pokeberry adventure UPDATE!!

As promised, the picture of the yarn in the pumpkin! The pumpkin yarn is the darker yarn while the redder yarn was the pokeberry in vinegar. The light yellow is the pokeberry with lime.

The color of the pokeberry has been so fascinating to us, that we dipped a few of the reeds used for baskets in the dye. A lovely shade of pinky-red occurred depending on the species of the reed dipped. Then, upon moving a few artifact baskets around, our Curator discovered the same pinky-red, now faded except in the recesses of the insides of two of these baskets!

One is a small round basket that opens in the middle. The color is all over the inside of it, so we are curious, was it totally pink at one time? It has a hole in one end and was likely used to hold a ball of string or yarn. Perhaps even while knitting as in this lovely painting of Mary Isabella Grant:

The second basket is a workbasket with decorative ash curls. Here they are next to a modern piece of ash dyed with the pokeberry:

See how similar the colors are?

 So, were THEY using pokeberries to dye decorative elements of their baskets? The color is remarkably similar, and it has obviously faded over time as we have been warned the pokeberry will do, but is it the same dye-stuff? A mystery is afoot! Does anybody have any clues they can share?


  1. Hello,
    I found your wonderful blog when researching about Pokeberry dye. I am a NY neighbor and would love if you check out 2 of my GCV&M blog posts (with many photos) that I posted from a visit to the Museum this summer!

    Pt 1


    What a great time we had!! I am now your latest follower! ;-D
    Many Blessings Linnie

  2. And pt3 too ;-)

    Hope you enjoy!
    ( All photos by Linnie Nolan)