Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rose Madder

After dappling in plant dyeing for the past year or so, I decided that this was the Summer I was going to immerse myself (pun!) and truly begin to learn this art...

Rose Madder is my first attempt, and the colors are soft, ethereal, and so varied. 
Madder has been used since ancient times as a vegetable red dye for leather, wool, cotton and silk.The root of this pant contains the coral looking color which is prepared for dyeing. The root is dried and then broken or cut into small pieces and then soaked overnight or longer....

W had a great time helping me break the dried roots!

To prepare the fabric for dyeing, I used craem of tartar and Alum for a mordant. This whole process took about 90 minutes. After soaking, the broken pieces went into a cotton dye bag and were simmered for an hour at a constant temperature of no more than 180 degrees. Or so the directions called for. Apparently, if you heat past this point, the dye will yield a peachy orange color...which I found out is equally as beautiful as the expected deep rose color.

Still hoping to achieve a true pink, I started over:)

Depending on how long you steep the fabric or, as I noted above, the temperature of the dye bath, beautiful shades of peachy pink are obtained. 
When I see these colors, I immediately think of a Waldorf Nursery or Kindergarten....
Such a womb like and soft, breathing color.

I'm planning on replacing our playgarden playsilks with 100% plant dyed silks. I previously had a collection of acid dye, kool aid dye, and plant dyed silks....which were beautiful, but I'm now looking for something softer and lifelike. Especially since it looks like playgarden will mostly be  nursery aged children in the Fall! I'm really looking forward to this as the nursery age group seems to be my real and true love.

Speaking of...

(wedding invitation spoiler alert for family and friends...yes, we did wait this long!)

Have I mentioned that Jay and I are finally getting married on Sept. in, about 2 months from now!?
Details are falling into place and we're getting more and more excited.

W's birthday is in about 2 weeks so I'll be crafting in preparation along with plant dyeing which works out well as I'll be needing some yellow roving for W's birthday crown. (run on sentence!)

In other exciting news, I have just found out that a Lifeways weekend training course is being held at a nearby by Waldorf school in October. I'm going and I couldn't feel more lucky or thrilled. Please visit the Lifeways North America website here. It is a true gem for homecare providers such as myself. I am guided by the Lifeways principles (here) in playgarden "operation" and the words couldn't ring more true for me. I believe many of you will be enthusiastically nodding your heads "yes" as you read the, too! I am so excited to meet Cynthia Aldinger and other homecare providers in the area!!!


  1. Oh congrats to you and your soon to be husband! I am very happy for you!!

    Hugs, Diana

  2. Congratulations, happy birthday to W and many blessings to you all. I love the dye - I've not been brave enough to dabble as yet but I have a friend who does workshops so no doubt I will eventually!

  3. Wow! So many blessings and things to be grateful for. Can't wait to see pics of your celebrations and congrats on Lifeways! The dye colors are beautiful! I'll have to look for that root.

  4. Adorable invites!!!! I love them. I'm so happy for you.

  5. Oh, happiness and joy to you as you celebrate your wedding and W's birthday! And what lovely colors you were able to create with plant dyes. Looking forward to seeing more as you replace your existing silks.

  6. you are invited to follow my blog

  7. Love all the gorgeous colors...I have dabbled just a bit with plant dying but would really like to give it a good effort, I love your results! The wedding invite is gorgeous, such fun...enjoy.


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