Hurray for Madder Root!

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After overdye with madder root

What do you get with 4 gallons of water, 112g of alum, and 28g of madder root powder and some fantastic wool? Some lovely dyed yarn!

Well, I think it’s lovely. I do love orange.

Before overdye with madder root

Some weeks ago, I took a botanic dyeing class at Maker’s Mercantile with Rhonda. It was fun and I learned some interesting things about botanic dyes. My yarn didn’t turn out exactly as I would have liked, but it was my first time dyeing so I was happy just to have some color appear on the yarn.  (I kept one “as is” to use in the cowl.)

Fortunately,  my friend Callie had previously gifted me with some madder root and alum.  I finally got around to using it to over dye my lackluster results from the dyeing class.   I am kinda thrilled with the results.

The yarn, some Romney and some Border Leicester from Small Blessings Farm took the dye nicely and I think it will make a fantastic cowl.  Special thanks to the sheep – Primrose, Wooliam, and Black Eyed Susan – for their wool, and to Brenda, who runs the farm.

Cotton dyed with madder root

Since I like to experiment, I also attempted to dye some organic cotton that was wound in a cake.  I had already used up most of the dye on the three skeins of wool so I didn’t expect much.  Mostly, I wondered how the color would be taken up by the yarn while wound as a cake and whether the cotton would take kindly to the use of alum for a mordant.  I left it in the dye bath (room temp) overnight and got a pale, variegated product that I think looks nice.

Of course, I will keep exploring this topic.   My next experiment will involve grass clippings, I think.  After all, my reel mower provides me with plenty of those each week.  🙂  I wonder what colors I will get with grass… I bet it will depend on the ph of my water, the type of mordant, and whether I throw in some copper or iron or…  who knows!

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