This is my second time working with Madder. The first time I dyed with this root was in my Level 2 master spinners. I was going to use some locks dyed with madder and blended with some alpaca as my final project. When all was said and done, the alpaca blending mellowed out the red of the madder to a faint pink and I was not happy with the whole yarn and went in another direction. The pinkish yarn ended up in a lace scarf gifted to my husband’s coworker.
Here I am 3 1/2 years later trying my hand again. Because it is the best book I have on the subject, I have relied heavily on Jenny Dean’s instructions. I have another dye book recommended to me coming in the mail. However, I am impatient. So, I followed Dean’s method in trying to get the best reds. Instead of soaking the root overnight, she has you pour boiling water over the roots and steep them for 2 min. You do this twice. Capturing the orange/brown rinse to use as a secondary dye.
Then you check the ph of your dye vat and add something to make it more alkaline. I brought mine up to a ph of 10 with a tiny bit of washing soda. place the sachet of root into your pot and bring to a simmer for 15-20 min. Now I have to tell you…. I have been dyeing for several days straight now. 15-20 min seems a bit short on the simmering of the dye stuff. EVERY other recipe I have followed says to simmer for an hour or two. However, I believe in following recipes until you have a good reason not too. So after my 20 min, I took out the root and put in the fiber…. The fiber turned a VERY light shade. Now it does say to leave it in for a length of time needed to get your desired depth of shade…. however, none of that seemed quite right. So I threw cation to the wind and put the sachet of madder back in the pot and simmered the pot until my fiber was closer to the red I wanted. It was not as RED as I wanted, but it’s nice.
In the mean time… here I am with a bunch of mordanted fiber. Some of which is this light grey Romney, so I tossed an ounce of that Romney into that pot of rinse. HOLY COW!!! That might be my new favorite thing!!!!! So beautiful! So ORANGE. I had no idea that I was a fan of orange. It turns out that I am. Who knew? Anyway, that fiber turned out so nice, I threw in 4 oz of that Corridale I have been dyeing. It was very light. So again, because I kind of went off the reservation already, I scooped up a few jars full from the red pot and poured it into the orange pot. CRAZY, that is what you are thinking. It turned out to be such a nice subtle orange.
Here are the finished fibers.
I can just not get enough of this dye. So yesterday, I reheated the dyestuff in my existing dye bath and added yet another hank of the Corridale top.
It’s an even more intense red. Amazing. This morning I have started the dyestuff simmering yet again and I am trying to overdye some yarn I had dyed a few years ago that was a very wimpy orange from that first madder attempt. I’ll keep you posted, but it’s looking like a beautiful orange/red.