Dyeing with madder

I love the range of pinks, reds and browns you can get with the natural dye madder. While it would be nice to grow my own madder roots, and I may get round to it someday, for the moment I’ve been using the powdered extract. Here are some of the results:

Dyeing with madderOne of the things I’m finding unpredictable about natural dyeing is the way dyes respond to different types of fabric. I’ve tried out several madder dye baths and I’m finding that cotton tends to produce  a more purplish-pink, whereas silk yields a more brown/apricot shade. The central strip of fabric in this picture is silk velvet which dyes beautifully. I really love this shade.

I’ve produced several skeins of thread – cotton, wool and silk. This photo shows some of the silks:

Silk threads dyed with madderAs with the fabrics, silk thread tends to take on a brown/apricot hue. Very attractive, but what if I want to dye cotton the same colour?  I know already that it will come out pink. I suppose my overall aim with natural dyeing is to produce a full spectrum of colours in cotton, silk, linen, wool… I’ll keep posting about my success – or failure – in doing this.

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