Skip to content

making colours

October 13, 2018

once the madder root dried in the sun

I cleaned off the dirt with an old toothbrush

you know it is madder because the root is orange/red inside

chop it up in an old blender – used only for dyestuff

soak it overnight, add 1 tsp. of alum

and set it to simmer

watch the temperature very carefully – I keep mine at a very low simmer

if it gets too hot the colour changes to brown and all your efforts are lost

because I wanted to see if the dye liquid would be good to make ink

the plant material was strained out

sadly, it didn’t show any colour on paper

I added 1/4 tsp. of cochineal and got a lovely pink ink

the small sample in foreground

the other pink is grapeink making is messy

I’m making a couple of envelopes to stitch into a book

 using Arches text wove paper to test the inks

because the madder root took 3 years to get to this point it is too precious to waste

I dyed some handspun wool

and returned the roots to the dyebath – they shake out easily

the orange is madder root and alum

the pink – it is actually more red – has  1 1/2 tsp. of cochineal added

and there is still an exhaust bath  – maybe some silk?

 the winter stole is finished

twisting the fringe while watching the temperature of the dye pot

considering it is several different yarns from the stash

wool and alpaca

 pleased with how it turned out

8 harness advancing twill using a colour blending system

because I put on a longer warp than was needed

the thrums are long enough to weave tapestry

yeah! – now to warp both looms and start all over again



14 Comments leave one →
  1. vdbolyard permalink
    October 15, 2018 6:48 am

    Ink making IS messy. Oh, lord, the turmeric was everywhere…it’s fun, though. Remember the madder I found that was, oh, I don;t even know how old-20 or 30 years or more…dyed beautifully. Anyway, this was a delight to read. All that beautiful color…


    • October 15, 2018 7:44 am

      Velma – I make/drink tumeric tea every night and have had experience with the dyeing/mess it can make! I’ll get around to making ink with it eventually.


  2. October 15, 2018 2:01 am



  3. trl710 permalink
    October 14, 2018 9:21 am

    I love the shawl and your system for blending colors. If you add alum to the madder dyebath, do you still need to mordant your yarn/fiber?


    • October 14, 2018 10:33 am

      Tobie – thank you. Good question, the first plan for the madder was to make ink and that is why I added alum to the bath. When the ink didn’t work I dyed the wool, which had previously been mordanted with alum.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Deborah Pawle permalink
    October 14, 2018 4:20 am

    The stole is beautiful I love the colours. I bought some madder root and cooked it the other day didn’t know about not letting it get to hot, haven’t used it yet but mine looks brown.


    • October 14, 2018 8:01 am

      Deborah – “Wild Color” by Jenny Dean is an excellent first natural dye book. It will save time and frustration. The stole is all natural dyes except for the black.


  5. October 14, 2018 3:39 am

    Ink and dyed wool! You got the best of the madder root! Your stole is gorgeous and it will be warm–such a satisfying project!


  6. emilysuzanna permalink
    October 13, 2018 5:38 pm

    The stole is so lovely! ⭐️


    • October 13, 2018 6:20 pm

      Suzanne – thank you, I’m planning to wrap up in it for the winter. I hope all is well with you.


  7. October 13, 2018 3:32 pm

    I love madder in all its mordanted glory…your shawl is very lovely…


    • October 13, 2018 4:29 pm

      Kjerstin – thank you. I love it too and it’s special when home grown although I’ve never been able to get red with my garden stuff.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: