Monday, 11 May 2009

The Importance of Sampling

Thank Goodness I've learned some patience in doing projects. The wool hood is sewn up. The lining is cut and set aside. Now is the time to dye it. Sooooooo, I though that I might try some of the Earthhues Madder pigment that I picked up last summer. But I thought, perhaps I should sample first... novel idea but still... I mordanted a bunch of Shetland wool that was washed last fall and set aside.
I used about 200 grams of fibre and mordanted it with Alum at 10% WOG. I read instructions that suggested 10% WOG madder extract in order to get a nice, deep red. I really was going for a medium reddish colour, even lighter would be great, so I only used 5% madder extract to 100 grams of mordanted fibre.

EGAD! The sample, okay my sample is 100 grams, is bright cherry red! This was cooking it for just over an hour and the pot didn't even get up to 150°F. I've got a second 100 grams of fibre in there and it's almost as brilliantly coloured. I'm so happy I sampled first as it's just not the colour that I wanted.
Why the brilliant red? Does the extraction process get rid of some of the yellows? I've no idea but it is very good to know. I'm amazed at the potency of the extract though. The only madder root I have ready is for a class I'm giving on May 30th and the roots I dug up are still at the farm, drying. The hood isn't going to be madder red but rather I think maybe I'll go for a green. I've got woad powder and yellow dye plants just about ready to harvest. I think that might be a safer bet.

I've noticed a bunch of winter kill in the garden. It looks like 3 lavender plants didn't make it which are easy to replace. Sadly the yellow tree peony didn't survive the winter either. It was a pretty plant, though the blooms were so heavy that sometimes they hid under the leaves. It will be much harder to replace as I've not seen anything other that run of the mill garden peony plants anywhere of late.

1 comment:

Helen said...

Well I am very envious of your red,in my soft water area even the extracts don't give me a red. The extracting process does seem to extract the red part of madder-probably alizarin leaving the yellow behind. The extracts tend to be more stable too.