So Saturday morning we simmered madder root pieces in a big kettle, and had to decide what "final" preparation to give to my mordanted fabric pieces. The guy who wrote the instructions preferred using dung, citing hundreds of years of this tradition. My sources of dung are limited--I could have saved the cat's poop, I suppose, or tried to poop into a plastic bag myself. I don't have access to the traditional cow or horse or sheep dung. Pam and I decided to use chalk instead. OK, so it's the less preferred choice, but it's clean, available, and far less embarrassing. So we made up the chalk solution and dumped the fabrics in there to soak while the madder simmered. We also made an indigo pot, opened some jars of dye left over from the Folk Festival a month ago (old madder, cutch and something else I've forgotten). Pam had a new yellow dye which produced a lovely golden hue, quite different from the bois d'arc we usually make up.
This little towel, embroidered lovingly by somebody's mother, is now much more attractive in golden yellow than in its original white.
In order to get green, we dye something yellow, then dip briefly in the indigo pot. There's no particular control here--the shade we get isn't very predictable.
This machine-lace cotton dresser scarf turned out a pretty greenish-blue. I know exactly how I'm going to use it, too! You'll find out in time,.
And here's the madder-dyed cotton with stitched and gathered resist. It's really a bit browner than this photo suggests, but the color is nice and intense. I left the rest of the madder pieces soaking away when I came home, as I'll be back in Huntsville later this week and can claim them then.
I think this is a real success. Maybe it would have been better with the dung--I don't know. I have an idea it wouldn't have been worth the trouble. If any of my readers have used dung, I'd enjoy hearing the story.