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Dyeing with madder.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:28 pm
by Mad Mab
Alright, while it's in my mind. I am intent on making a madder-dyed wool petticoat for my tudor goings-on (Aprox 1570). Have only ever dyed things (on purpose, anyway :oops: ) in the washing machine with dylon so would appreciate any advice anyone can offer on using madder with alum as a mordant (is alum, in fact, the best mordant for this?.)
Have done a little reading around the subject and apparently weather conditions can play a part in the eventual colour, has anyone any experience of this.
The wool in question is some of Stuart Peachey's say (well, not his anymore cause I bought it, but you know what I mean).
My usual approach when dying in the machine, is to make up the item in question first (just because the machine plays havok with the edges, else) but I have a feeling that, if I'm going to do this properly, I should dye the wool before I make it up. Also what sort of pot is good for dyeing in?
Sorry for all the questions ,
mab

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:41 pm
by Sophia
Mab,

Suggest you contact Debs the Mulberry Dyer who posts on here as "Fishwife" or Sally Pointer who posts on here as well as they have done it (I have some fab madder dyed "Norwich Stuff" from Debs)

From wht I know it is definitely a dye before cutting and making job. You will also need a very large Aluminium pot (big enough for all your wool to move around freely in). Standard mordant for this is Alum, though I believe you can also use Tin. You may well have to add other salts if you have soft water up there.

Also Madder is a temperature sensitive dye as well.

Have fun.

Soph :D

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:44 pm
by Mad Mab
Thanks for that Sophia. Will hang on and see if either of the above mentioned come across this thread.
I'm really going to regret trying to do this aren't I :lol:

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:21 pm
by Sophia
Well it does involve a certain sort of cooking :twisted: :wink:

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 3:36 pm
by Mad Mab
Sophia wrote:Well it does involve a certain sort of cooking :twisted: :wink:
:lol:
Hey, I'm doing better at that these days (see, re-enactment is educational). Cooking in a tudor kitchen every so often has done more for my cookery skills than a whole 30 years of having to feed myself :oops:
Of course, it also means if I want to cook in everyday life, I'm going to have to rip out the cooker and install an open fire which I think my landlady may object to just a little bit.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:57 pm
by sally
A lot will depend on the exact shade you want. I do use madder in the washing machine, but only for very pale pinks and peaches on fibres that can take a hot wash, you lose so much dye in a modern front loader. I gather old twintubs are fab for more intense dyeing of large items (do shout if thats what you want though and I'll talk you through what I do) but I think in your position I'd be tempted to go for a long slow, cold dye, so effectively you mordant the fabric first, then steep it for literally days and days in a great big tub (you can get vast plastic tubs in garden centres that might be useful, a bin is good too) with the dyestuff stirring it whenever you go past- more stirring, more even dyeing. Debs is much more widely experienced (in the dye sense of course! :wink: ) than me and may have advice on handling long lengths of fabric in a hot dyebath, but I personally have had best results using a hot bath for small things like skeins or fibre, and a long cool stew for bigger things.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:00 pm
by sally
Mad Mab wrote: Of course, it also means if I want to cook in everyday life, I'm going to have to rip out the cooker and install an open fire which I think my landlady may object to just a little bit.
nah, buy an ex restaraunt solid top cooker with the removable bullseye centre, they weigh about half a tonne, but you can cook directly over the flame or bake whole children in a way that a modern cooker just can't handle. Almost as good as the real thing :wink: 9utterly useless for warming up a tin of something on though)

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:08 pm
by Jenn
Right Mab so you need to take your dyeing to an event (with a container that can be seen) or find a garden
Do you know my landlord wasn't that keen when I suggested a fire pit in my living room so I could cook

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:21 pm
by GinaB
Debs is really the one you want, but from what I've found dyeing small items is be very careful of the pan you are using, as it will affect the colour - and some metals weren't used as mordants until later periods (chrome is one I think), so your colour will look different to the colour for your period. I've been told enamelled pots are best as the metal content is sealed and so won't mess with the dyes.

Sally, thanks for the cold dye idea, I'll try that next time I do some dyeing, I like taking time over things!

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:41 pm
by sally
GinaB wrote: Sally, thanks for the cold dye idea, I'll try that next time I do some dyeing, I like taking time over things!
It works really well for some things, the only issue is storage whilst you do it. Try a trail run in a jamjar with dyestuff and embroidery thread to get a sense of how the dyeprocess develops this way- if you get any mould, just scrape it off and keep going, its amazing how rich a colour you can get over a coupleof weeks with nothing more than steeping.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:55 pm
by fishwife
Hi,
My first comment would be if it's SP's say - don't do it!!!!!! Nooooooo! It will shrink and look like felt - even in a cool wash in the washing machine. It takes the colour beautifully - but it won't look like the cloth you have, it will shrink by at least 30% in every direction and completely full up! If Stuart knows how to do it, get him on the job! Get some nice Whaley's cloth and you can do that - but you must have a VERY large dyebath. Without some specialist equipment it is very difficult to get an even dye on a large piece of cloth, if that doesn't matter drastically, then just go for it.
Basic dyebath for madder is mordant with alum and cream of tartar (appr 10% alum, 5% c of t to dry weight of cloth) Then 50 - 100% madder to dry weight of cloth. Mordant first, rinse out and then prepare madder bath by soaking overnight, heat up to about 70 degs keep there for 1 hour, allow to cool down. Strain off liquid (top up with more water if nec) put in cloth, heat up to about 70 degs keep there for an hour allow to cool and rinse. (remember to move your cloth around a bit so you don't get heat spots)
That is a very basic recipe, there are more methods than you can possibly imagine and lots of people will have pet ones!!!
Hope this helps,
Cheers
Deb

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:59 pm
by Sophia
GinaB wrote:Debs is really the one you want, but from what I've found dyeing small items is be very careful of the pan you are using, as it will affect the colour - and some metals weren't used as mordants until later periods (chrome is one I think), so your colour will look different to the colour for your period. I've been told enamelled pots are best as the metal content is sealed and so won't mess with the dyes.

Sally, thanks for the cold dye idea, I'll try that next time I do some dyeing, I like taking time over things!
Yup, Chrome is definitely a late addition - it is the mordant that makes logwood black lightfast from what I gather.

When it comes to pans the ones to avoid are steel or iron as this will sadden your colour (as in addition of irion vitriol to a weld and alum dyebath to produce gooseturd green rather than eyeball scorching yellow). If you have a genuine aluminium pan and alum is your chosen mordant it will just help things along.

IIRC most period dye vats were either copper or lead lined. Stuart Peachey's mob at Greyhill's have a lead lined vat in their dye house so you could try contacting them.

Sophia :D

*who spent too much time hanging out and gossiping with the Kentwell dyers this year*

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:18 pm
by guthrie
Wait a minute- mad mab is supposed to be coming to an event with us this weekend.
An event at which we shall be oversupplied with fire!
(And probably water, in the form of rain)
And I have alum and pottery vessels purchased for precisely this sort of thing. Doesn't matter if it smells, as long as its not toxic.

What I also need is a kilogram or two of iron vitriol. Anyone got a pet supplier of it?

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:31 pm
by Mad Mab
guthrie wrote:Wait a minute- mad mab is supposed to be coming to an event with us this weekend.
An event at which we shall be oversupplied with fire!
(And probably water, in the form of rain)
And I have alum and pottery vessels purchased for precisely this sort of thing. Doesn't matter if it smells, as long as its not toxic.

What I also need is a kilogram or two of iron vitriol. Anyone got a pet supplier of it?
:shock:
Thinking time, thinking time!

Thank you for all the advice. I bought quite a bit more wool than i should actually need (force of habit) so I may have to experiment with some small swatches. Just in case, what kind of wool from Whaley's would you reccommend petticoat-wise?

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:32 pm
by guthrie
Yes, bring them along and we can experiment at the weekend. Bonus living history demos!

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:43 pm
by Sophia
Try these people who supply it to dyers.

They may well not be the cheapest but they were the first to spring to mind.

Soph :D

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:08 pm
by guthrie
Oh yes, thats who I got my alum from. I must try the suppliers of chemicals I know. These days the big really cheap suppliers won't sell to ordinary members of the public, otherwise I would have Kilograms of all sorts of things. So you have to go to slightly seedy internet suppliers who buy it in and split it up into smaller lots.

Or make your own. What I really need is half a tonne of the rock from Whitby that can be used to make alum.

Posted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:41 pm
by Sophia
Mad Mab wrote:
guthrie wrote:Wait a minute- mad mab is supposed to be coming to an event with us this weekend.
An event at which we shall be oversupplied with fire!
(And probably water, in the form of rain)
And I have alum and pottery vessels purchased for precisely this sort of thing. Doesn't matter if it smells, as long as its not toxic.

What I also need is a kilogram or two of iron vitriol. Anyone got a pet supplier of it?
:shock:
Thinking time, thinking time!

Thank you for all the advice. I bought quite a bit more wool than i should actually need (force of habit) so I may have to experiment with some small swatches. Just in case, what kind of wool from Whaley's would you reccommend petticoat-wise?
Petticoat-wise and seeing as you are heat sensitive I would recommend the Monkswool or the Voltaire Fine Wool or the Natural Cream. You can order swatches from them at little or no cost.

If you decide that you still want to dye SP's Saye then you could consider the modern route and use cold acid dyes for this (Lucy the Ostler has done this and I gather they are relatively easy to use).

Soph :D