Natural Dyes – Madder: blmadder

An organic dye recipe for dyeing yarn with Madder root.

Naalbinding Yarn dyed with Madder Root

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Madder Root comes from the plant Rubia Tinctorium. The roots make a dye that gives a variety of shades of reds, oranges and rusty browns.
strong>Time Required:
12 hours

  • Use clean, premordanted wool or yarn.
  • Measure the Madder Root chips or sawdust (25% – 100% WOG) into a nylon stocking and into small dish.
  • Add water and allow to sit overnight.
  • Pour the stocking and the water into dyepot filled with hot water and simmer for 1 hour at no hotter than 50 degrees Celsius..
  • Add premordanted fibre or yarn into the dyepot and simmer for 1 hour.

    Boiling at higher temperatures +80 degrees Celsius gives browner colours.

  • Allow the dyepot to cool.
  • Remove the fibre or yarn from the dyepot, rinse and let dry.

Tips:

  • Try alum or tin premordants.
  • Try overdyeing the madder with other colours such as indigo or logwood to get shades of blue. 

 
Madder Root Dye Study

Naalbinding Yarn dyed with Madder Root
Naalbinding Yarn dyed with Madder Root

Look for natural dyed yarns in my PaivatarYarn shop on Etsy.



More Organic Dye Recipes
Madder Root Natural Dye
How to Make an Alum Mordant
How to Make a Tin Mordant
How to Mordant Cotton and Linen
Sandalwood
Osage Orange
Logwood
Mushroom Dyes

Medieval Dyes: Madder
Madder and Medieval Dyes
Samples were taken of various textiles from medieval sites dating from 12th to 15th century around London and subjected to dye analysis. Chromatography was used to identify the presence of alizarin and purpurin, the main components of madder. Some samples had been overdyed with blue to give blacks or yellow for brown or orange stripes.

Madder Dye
Nancy McKenna tested dye samples of madder using different mordants, dye times and pH levels. The dye substance that madder produces is alizerin (dihydroscyanthraquinone). Many natural dyes are heat sensitive. Alizerine attaches itself to fiber at temperatures around 50 deg C. At higher temperatures > 80 deg C, purpurin (yellow) becomes the predominant dye color.

Eagles and Ravens Natural Dyeing
Woad (Isatis tinctoria), Weld (Reseda lutea) and Madder (Rubia tinctorum) were the 3 principal dye plants used in Europe.

Natural Dye Books
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
Botanical Colour at your Fingertips
The Modern Natural Dyer: A Comprehensive Guide to Dyeing Silk, Wool, Linen and Cotton at Home
A Weaver’s Garden: Growing Plants for Natural Dyes and Fibers

The Rainbow Beneath My Feet: A Mushroom Dyer’s Field Guide
Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

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Author: Paivi Suomi

I've had an interest in weaving, looms, yarns and textiles since I was a small child. I learned to knit, crochet, sew, do needlepoint at my mother's knee. My grandmother was a Saami from northern Norway. I am very interested in studying more about tradtional Saami and Finnish style weaving and handicrafts. Paivi Suomi