Monday, 8 October 2007

Madder again


I believe in the dye gods. My friend Karen says they are dye goddesses. That I can believe most of the time, except when it is obvious that Loki has been up to tricks again. His antics show mainly when I start dyeing with madder. I of course decided to do up a quick madder dye vat ( is there a quick dye vat?) and was going to only do 60 grams of wool to try for that red. I've gotten 240 grams so far, using the exhaust vats and I think if I really wanted more pale pink, I could get another vat or two before it totally exhaust. The first round gave me the dark purple, which was a bright and scary fuchsia before it dried. I realized that my madder vat was on the alkaline side, so I started adding capfuls of vinegar until it tested more neutral. I know that an acidic madder bath will get you orange and I didn't want that. My second try gave me red, albeit a tad on the purple side with successive tries were pink. They are pretty colours and I was thrilled with the results.

After this weekend's rains, I was able to dig some fresh madder. One three year old plant and two year old one. The two year old plant was in a garden bed which was really well prepared. It had larger roots than the three year old plant. I rinsed them well and took off all the new shoots which were surprisingly orangy yellow. Then I soaked them for about 5 minutes and realized that the water was bright yellow. I quickly strained the roots and tossed that first soaking water. I really didn't want lots of yellow pigment. The plastic bucket that I'm using to soak them had a yellow stain where the water reached already. Of course, this is a holiday weekend here and all the stores are closed, so I'm unable to get more distilled water. I wanted to use distilled to get rid of any effect that chlorine might have, since our city water is well chlorinated. Instead I had to boil water which I've been told would remove much of the chlorine and the resulting soaking water is reddish now. Phew... I don't want another orange madder vat!

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