Madder Photo


I pulled these 2 skeins out from the dye bath a week ago. I was not able to get it to rinse clean so I left it out to cure for the week. Today, I put it back in rinse water and color is still coming out. I’ve never had madder to this before. I’m not sure what to do next. I can’t use it as long as the color continues to come out of it.

The above photo isn’t representative of the final color. The color is rather weak when the yarn is dry.

Madder Progress #4

Well, if I hadn’t bricked it before, I certainly have now!

I turned the stove on to warm the bath up while I attended to some guild business online. Needless to say, things took longer than expected and the pot came to a full boil.

I’ll check the color this evening, after it has had a chance to cool off. I’m expecting a nice brick color.

Madder Progress #3


After several days of heating and cooling in the pot, the colors are more saturated but also duller. Did I overheat it? Or is the difference due to the different cameras used to take these pictures. (#2 was taken with my iPhone, this was with my Canon Point & Shoot.) I also did not take the skeins out and squeeze out all the water.

I will be patient. It’s not my best suit, but I am committed to letting this sit in the dye pot for a full week. There is still color in the dye bath.

Madder Progress #2


I’m a little disappointed. The second skein (left) isn’t as vibrant nor as saturated as the first skein (right). I don’t know if it is because the first bath exhausted the most vibrant colors or because I overheated the second bath. The second bath reached 180F. While not a simmer, it was definitely warmer than I wanted it to be.

I’ve put both skeins back in the bath and will let them sit for the remainder of the week, with an occasional warming up. Thankfully, it will be a warm week (80F) and I can let the sun do most of the work for me after the initial warming in the morning.

Madder Progress

Silk/Wool yarn, au naturel
Silk/Wool yarn, au naturel
After 12+ hours at low temperature High of 110F for an hour or two, but left to sit out overnight, off heat.
After 12+ hours at low temperature. High of 110F for an hour or two, but left to sit out overnight, off heat.

Isn’t this a gorgeous color? It reminds me of the Buddhist monk’s robes. That’s the ubiquitous silk square that I put in my dye pots for my notebook.

Second skein in the reheated dye bath.
Second skein in the reheated dye bath.

I didn’t have room for the second skein yesterday so I took out the original skein and exchanged it for the undyed skein. I’ll let it sit for the day to “catch up”. I’ll add the original skein back in tonight and let them sit in the bath together for the remainder of the dye period.

I have added calcium carbonate (CaCO3) to make the water alkaline. At Phyllis’, her tap water was bang on neutral (7.0 pH), whereas my tap water was closer to 5.5. I had to add a lot more CaCO3 to shift it to at least a pH of 8.5 or so. I think I’m going to need to buy more CaCO3.

Edited: After a re-check, I have 6.25 pH from the tap. I think I wasn’t letting the pH strips sit in the water long enough. According to the latest water quality report, my water is supposed to be around 8.5 pH, but I’m definitely not seeing that.

The idea is to keep the water below 160F and alkaline until I get a nice rich red. I will periodically heat up the water to about 120F or so over the course of the next week.