Friday, November 02, 2007

Orange Madder

Yeah, it’s supposed to be ROSE madder but no matter what I do, I get orange. Luckily orange is my favourite colour it’s a lovely slightly muted shade, not neon at all. I got 4 different values:

The second darkest wool (second from the left) is a bit more red and less orange. It weighed about 1/4 pound. I dyed it with the first soaking water from un-heated roots right after I chopped and hammered them. I brought it slowly up to about 150 degrees F. and kept for an hour and then cooled slightly before rinsing. Here it is in the pot. It looks a lot darker when wet.

The lightest one (far right in the first photo) was dyed with the second soaking water and was never heated at all. It only spent about an hour or so in the room-temp dye and then was rinsed. The second-lightest one (second from right) was the same as the lightest only heated for an hour. The darkest colour was from the actual heat-extraction of the roots. I covered them in water and heated them, poured off the dye, re-covered with water, heated again, etc. several times. By that time I had enough liquid in the dyebath for my half-pound of fibre so I scooped some out and re-covered the roots, heated and poured the extraction back in several more times. The wool was brought to just under a simmer, kept there for an hour and then left overnight in the pot to cool. I was trying to get as much colour out of my roots as possible and there was still colour in the water, but by this time I’d had enough! I had lots of cleaning up to do. See the lovely permanent stain in the bottom of my extraction pot?

It used to be yellow from marigolds. Heh! I really think the problem is that I need to use much more dyestuff to the weight of the fibre to get closer to red. Remember I started with about 1 pound of wet fresh roots to a total of 1 pound of wool (even though it all wasn’t dyed to the same depth of shade). And even though I used lots of ingredients that are supposed to help keep it on the red side (soda ash, calcium supplements, baking powder) it didn’t have much effect. I even tried a small amount of the deepest colour in an ammonia afterbath (a glug of extra-strength ammonia in 2 cups of water). That did shift it slightly more towards rose but I decided not to treat the rest of the wool. Ammonia is stinky and fairly hard on the wool. The most red I got was on some little cellulose samples that I threw in which were leftover from dye experiments from several years ago. (They were mordanted with aluminum acetate and tannin.) However I’m absolutely pleased with how much colour I got out of my little pile of home-grown roots. And there are more still! I’m just really tired of processing them right now. Even the used roots are still giving colour so I put them in a freezer bag, labeled it and stuck it in the big freezer in case I ever get enthused enough to try again. I think the rest of the fresh root is going to go there too after I chop it up. I think freezing is safer than drying since there’s quite a good chance of it moulding before it’s dry.

I’m really happy with the feel of the dyed wool. The sliver held up quite well to all the manipulating, even though I was as careful as possible with it, and it didn’t felt up at all. It’s going to make some pretty yarn. If I can decide what to make out of it! Maybe a vest? I definitely need a vest.

In other news I’m almost finished the second pair of Baby Socks. These are coming out much closer to the right size. Hopefully if I get them finished by Sunday I can put them on my grandson and see for sure if they fit. We’re babysitting while they start the move to their new house. I’d rather lug grandkids than furniture.

What else? Have you seen Nora Gaughan’s new sweater in the Holiday issue of Vogue Knitting?

A cutaway coat made of hexagons and partial hexagons. Totally worth the price of the magazine for this pattern alone. It’s gorgeous and I want one. In handspun. But not until I finish the Hepburn Cardi — and probably the Madder Vest too. (Not that I know what exactly I’m making yet.) Oh, the Samhain issue of AntiCraft went up on the appropriate day. A little late really but we’ll be ready for next year! I love all the spider stuff. And there’s stuff that was left out of their forthcoming book. Link in my sidebar. Well I’d best get some more work done around here. After all, it’s my birthday today!


Anonymous said...


I think you should spend the day in fibrey pursuits!! Have a slug of Feeney's or Bailey's in your tea. LOL
Interesting results from your Madder dye pot. I used to pick & boil & mash all kinds of stuff but have grown lazy & just bought Mother McKenzie's dye kit instead. I want fuchsia & cyan & lavender now.

Silk said...



Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to you!! Wishing your day to be full of family, fibre and fun!.......

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday. I love reading about all your experiences fibre and otherwise.

Dotty said...

Happy Birthday! You have the same birthday as my sister. I hope you had a great day.