I've been playing with madder again! This time I used madder roots from the garden. I cleaned them off and poured water over them. After soaking for a few minutes, I noticed that the water was quite yellow. I poured that water off and put fresh water over it. After a day or two, I noticed that my pail of soaking madder was bubbling. As long as the pail had a bit of a fermenting happening, I was fine. After about two weeks though, it looked like something solid was forming. That was my cue to heat it slowly and buzz it through the blender a bit to make the larger roots into smaller bits. I kept the dye vat temps below 75C and mainly kept it at about 65C ( 150 F or so ). I also checked the PH and popped in a few pinches of baking soda to get the dye vat a tad more alkaline when it started looking brownish/orange. That dragged it back to the red side. The pic shows the carded batts to be a tad pinker than they really are. Still I'm happy with madder red. It is a pretty colour.
So far from madder I've gotten a range of colours including rusts, oranges, salmons, corals, reds, maroons, pinks and plums. Phew! That is a mighty versatile plant root!
Not only that but I've harvested a goodly number of madder seeds this fall that are almost dry and ready to share!