Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The long overdue madder experiments

On Saturday I started the mordanting marathon. I'd hoped to get it all done then, but no such luck. About eight of the eleven batches were done on Saturday, the rest were finished on Sunday morning.

Of course I then managed to come down with a nasty cold and spent the rest of the day in bed with a fever, so no madder for me. So all I could hope for was that I'd be feeling better enough sometime during the week to spend a few hours dyeing after work - before the damp, mordanted wool had been sitting around for too long.

Today, I had a stroke of luck (if you could call it that...). I'd had basically no sleep the night before from being sick, so was not awake enough to go to work. Really, this meant a day of sitting around not doing much - but sticking a pot on the stove and vaguely poking at it every now and then isn't too energetic, is it?

And so the actual step of making things change colour begins...

First madder bath has taken place. I managed to pick the correct order of increasing mordant for the first six by eye, the last six (10% up) all looked much the same.

Pictures this weekend I guess, by which time the other baths should also have happened.

I apologise for any incoherence, my brain is full of cold and sleep deprivation.

Rough outline of experiment:
Wind many many (36) little skeins of wool (15m of lace weight wool each, approx 1.6g)
Organise into bundles of 3 (5g each) for mordanting
Mordant with the following percentages of potassium alum sulphate (by weight) for half an hour:
0%, 1%, 2.5%, 5%, 7.5%, 10%, 12.5%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 30%, 50%

Reorganise into 3 sets of skeins, one of each mordant batch in each set.
Put water, 1/2C of vinegar in pot, heat to 70 degrees C
Put in 10g of madder, hold at temp for 10 minutes.
Add one set of skeins, hold at temp for 45 minutes
Remove skeins, top up water lost through evaporation and reheat to 70 degrees C
Add second set of skeins for 45 minutes
Repeat with third set.

In theory, there should now be lots of skeins in varying shades of pink/orange

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