Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Madder dying results, and fun with fire

Here are the results of my latest attempts to dye with madder:

The small skein in between the silk and the wool is from the original, pickle-tainted attempt, to show the differance in color.  It's actually pretty close to how the skeins came out of the dye pot, so I'm thinking the pickle jar ended up not making that big a difference in the end.  I did end up using an iron modifier on the wool, just briefly, as they skeins came out pretty bright and orangy-red to begin with.  The color is a sort of terracotta/rust red now, which is pretty but still not quite what I was going for.  I will be able to wear it as a flat cap though, with a buffer of linen cap, which is the main thing.

So, I am no closer to understanding how to get a true red from madder.  It may be that with alum, you just don't get a true red, more of an orange based red.  Maybe I need to change my mordant?  Possibly it's the water from my tap and I need to check the Ph and/or mineral content there?  Or maybe I'm doing something wrong?  I kept the temperatures low, and according to my book if it had got too high the color would have gone dull, which it certainly did not, so I'm pretty sure that wasn't my problem.  Maybe madder just gives you an orange based red and I need to accept that?

The yarn ended up fulling a bit in the dye pot as well, which is rather to be expected but a major pain to deal with.  Since there are bit of madder root floating around in there too, they got all stuck to the yarn and it's been no fun trying to wind the stuff into balls.  Maybe less stirring next time?  Though if I stir less, I'm not sure I would get such an even color on the yarn.

I was quite surprised by the color I ended up with on the silk - it's a really pretty champagne/orange, which I like but was not at all what I was expecting to get (the silk did not go in the iron modifier).  The silk will probably get used for some tablet woven garters, which will look lovely in that color.  I'm guessing to get red, or even just brighter color on silk, you need to either use a different mordant or leave it in the dye longer.  Or possibly use a different dye altogether.

And as a total random aside, here are my first six attempts are making lampwork beads.  The seventh bead got stuck on the mandrel and had to be smashed with a hammer.  The process is quite exciting, what with the large flame and all, if a little scary.  Hopefully I will get the hang of the technique well enough to make enough beads for my paternoster project.  These will probably end up on a Viking bead swag (or garland as I prefer to call them):

1 comment:

  1. I played with making dye from pecan hulls last autumn, and got so sick of finding pieces of grit on my fabric. I lined a funnel with a coffee filter and ladled the liquid into the strainer setup until the filter needed replacing. Cheesecloth might be an adequate stand-in for coffee filters since you'd be dealing with larger pieces of madder shrapnel.