Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hand-dyeing, continued: Madder


Fall is here. My thoughts turn, as usual, to gray cardigans, but also to yarn and wool in general, and color! This beautiful, burnt, and burnished armful of wooly wonderfulness was all hand-dyed by me right in my kitchen with madder.

I am a complete hand-dyeing novice, but my findings here are that madder is one of the perfect colors. This ancient dye is the source of Alizarin Crimson, the color of Persian rugs, and British Royal Navy uniforms. It gives all sorts of warm pink and red, ranging anywhere from pale peach to deep cherry crimson. Seriously, this color is so lush, I can't even. This is the pink I search for, coral and kind of complicated.

My yarns here are all 100% wool, mordanted with alum and cream of tartar, and then simmered for one hour in my dyepot with madder extract (I used this, because I am a total beginner, and it was sort of foolproof). On the left is 100 grams of wool + 1/2 tsp madder in 12 cups water, and on the right is 100 grams of wool + 1 tsp madder in 16 cups of water.

These are two skeins of single-ply sport weight, slightly different: on the left is 100g of wool + 2 tsp madder in 8 cups of water, and on the right is 100g of wool + 1 tsp madder in 12 cups of water.

I am just kind of experimenting. Everything that comes out of the pot is so pretty. I don't know what to make with any of this yet, but just looking at it is enough for now. (I just imagined a gray pullover with a madderful yoke and cuffs, swoon!) I am mad for madder!

Black Walnut hulls are next, and if that results in nothing but beige, it will be okay, because you know what? There is madder.