Three cheers for dried madder root!
You may remember that I acquired some through the Guild. I set out by pouring boiling water over it twice, and draining off the resulting liquid. This is a strategy which is usually described as a good idea in order to help separate some of the brown and yellow pigments in the root from those which might produce red. The resulting liquid was very dark brown. I saved it for later experimentation. I’ll get back to that!
Every long term reader of this blog knows I can organise orange dye in a heartbeat, so I was hoping for red from madder. When seen at the workshop I ran at the Guild, it was looking rather orange.
However, time is needed. And gentle heat. This pot produced some light reds at the Guild. Once again, the cold processed alum, long steeped sample gave the most intense colour. Rhubarb (the two samples on the right hand side), not so much.
I didn’t think it was done, however, so I took the whole dyebath home. Happily, no mishaps en route. Since then, I’ve been happily trying to exhaust this madder. I have overdyed grey corriedale. The fleece took up the dye differently in different parts of the locks (the weathered paler tips most of all).
I turned it into roving while I kept dyeing…
When I ran a dye bath with the rinse water… to my surprise it gave a strong red, stronger than the exhaust dyebath by far. Here it is on the left, with the original dye bath on the right for comparison.
I also dyed quite a bit of merino roving I happened to have put by, achieving three different shades. And some more grey corriedale… not bad going from madder root that might have been in those jars for decades.