Natural Dyeing with Black Chokeberries, or Aronia Berries

The other day, our family went walking to a Chicago Park District Boat Landing on the Chicago River.  We found bushes and bushes of these:

The Black Chokeberry, or Aronia, turns black in the fall, when it becomes ripe.  We picked some not knowing what they were, or when they became ripe.  As it turned out, they weren’t quite ripe.  So, after making Aronia Syrup, (trying to make) Aronia Jelly, and many smoothies with Aronia berries (which are very high in anti-oxidants) we decided to attempt another use–dyeing with them.

First, you want to simmer the fiber (cottons, silks, or wools) in a 1 to 16 parts salt and water solution for an hour.

Meanwhile, I would simmer your berries in water (1 part berry to 2 parts water) for about an hour, as well.  When the fiber is ready, drain and rinse it.  When the berries are done, strain them out, and keep the syrupy stuff (the dye) simmering.  Then, put the fiber into the dye:

Simmer in the dye for anywhere between 30 minutes and a few hours.  I chose to dye it for only 30 minutes, but depending on what color you want, you can do it for less or more.
After it is done simmering in the dye bath pull it out with tongs (so your fingers don’t look like those of an alien). The color it looks like now, in the case of the Aronia berries, raspberry red, is not what it will look like after you have rinsed it until the water runs clear.

To dry it, I hung it over our shower rod in such a way where the yarn wasn’t crossing itself.  When it was dry, I wrapped it around a cardboard tube:

It was a lot of fun, and a learning experience.  If you are interested in dyeing naturally, this website might be a huge help to you: ♥


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