My madder vat is on the stove! Yay! After a few of hours of slow simmering, it looks like I'm getting a decent red this time, rather than the orangey color I got the first time I tried dying with madder (the result of soaking my root in a plastic jar which had previously been home to pickles). The silk I threw in for good measure is orange though. Sort of a brownish orange, heading towards salmon, but still orange. I'm not really sad about this, I suspect the silk would take the color differently but I'm surprised. It guess that explains the difference in some of the period dye recipes for silk (duh), many of them add other dyestuffs to get a good red, or don't use madder at all.
I've got the let this first round got for awhile longer yet before I know how good a red I've got on my wool. Depending on the orange tones, I may try a little bit of an iron modifier on the wool. It's destined to be a flat cap and the trim band on a pair of mittens, both of which I hope to be able to wear. Since I will have at least a linen cap on between the flat cap and my face, I can stand a little orange in the red, but the super orange I ended up with last time is really not flattering at all. According to my dye book, I should get a nice tone with the iron and lose most of the orange. We shall see.
I have 12 ounces of oatmeal colored handspun CVM to toss into the exhaust bath once this first round is done. The current plan is to try that with the mordant-and-dye-in-one-go method and see how that works. And use the iron for sure on that, just for fun. I have no particular plans for that fiber, it's been sitting around in my pile of spun wool waiting for something so I figured it might get used if I dyed it.