I’ve been growing madder long enough to have a good big patch now, and so it came to pass before the weather warmed too much, that I dug out an entire kilogramme of fresh madder root (yes, I weighed it once washed clean).
I didn’t dig out the whole patch and I did propagate more plants for the Guild while I was at it… and then came the washing.
It’s pretty exciting to think I can grow red dye in my very own garden!
Next stage, breaking up by hand or with secateurs, and then–
Then the dye bath… my trusty muslin from the ever delivering op shop lets me strain out all that ground up root.
And then… in with some wonderful soft handspun Tasmanian Cormo from the wonderful Kylie Gusset’s Tonne of Wool project.
In the interests of honesty, I confess that I broke all the rules AGAIN and boiled the madder vat AGAIN. And yet, red. My experience suggests that madder is not as fussy as every single dye book suggests. That I am so bad at keeping a dye vat below boiling point that I cannot be trusted. And that with fresh root it is best to dye a small quantity if you want really really red red, and then many exhaust baths will give orange and then coral and then peach if that’s what you’d like to have.
My goal with this–is to knit a beautifully soft and red beanie for one of my special sweethearts. But as knitting is going slowly at present it might be a little while!
There has been a return of my Royal Show entries. I was so unwell when I spun some of them, and had no option but to submit things already dyed rather than dye to purpose, that I was surprised to win any prize at all on these grounds–and then, there are much better spinners than me!
I applied cochineal to some of the Suffolk previously dyed with indigo in places, and to the Ryeland. The hen is a Royal Show reference–and the colour in the photo above and right is a better reflection of the cochineal than the one below…
Some time back, I decided to use up of some fibres that had been purchased years ago with specific uses in mind that no longer seem interesting to me. First, Perendale curls that I had used to create lockspun yarns. After all the sock yarn spinning I’ve done in the last six months, this was massive! I also spun up small quantities of commercially dyed merino roving but don’t seem to have taken pictures of it.
I found I also had some eucalyptus dyed batts and some carded local wool I’d prepared some time ago, and as serious fibre prep has felt beyond me in the last while, I spun them too.
I progressed on through roving in the stash to some oatmeal BFL dyed by The Thylacine and acquired from a destash a few years ago. The braids were so spectacular! I tried to maintain some of the colour changes. And I also discovered I had some Australian grown Cormo from the Tonne of Wool–most of mine went to a fine spinning competition at my Guild, but I found a little bag of odds and ends of Cormo roving and it was buttery, velvety, exquisitely soft. Also, so white I didn’t get a great photo of it!