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madder

MADDER
I found the process of dying with madder the most exciting of all.  Having seen the colours other people had achieved I thought we would get more subdued shades.  The results were instead completely eye-popping pinks and reds, that I still can't believe came from a plant.  The bad news is you will have to be patient, with the plants taking three to five years to mature, or buy in your madder roots.  This is the method we used on woollen yarn.

You will need an equal weight of dried plant to yarn in this case we used 100g madder and 100g Shetland Wool with 6g of Calcium Carbonate mixed with a little water.

1. Soak the dried madder roots in enough water to cover them for 24hours.

2. Put the madder roots with 7-10 litres of water and the Calcium Carbonate suspension in a large pan and heat for 1-2 hours keep the temperature below 80° C (too much heat will destroy the colour).

3. Leave to cool then strain.

4. Return the resultant dye bath to the heat and add your pre-soaked mordanted yarn.

5. Keep the dye bath warm for an hour or two with the fibre in and leave to soak overnight.

6.  Remove your yarn and leave to dry naturally before washing. 

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