Just getting madder and madder about madder! Oh wait, actually madder was pretty good to me, so that pun doesn’t work.

Anyhow, I figured I would share some of my pentathlon entries (because if you’re going to enter pent, you might as well milk it for all SORTS of blog entries!), and one of them was looking at madder.

I aimed to keep it more modern and scientific so that I (in theory) could have reproducible results. (Spoiler alert: Madder was not on board with that.) It was also an excellent excuse to finally buy the pH meter I’ve always wanted.

Yes seriously, I’ve always wanted one. Apparently you can take the woman out of the chem lab, but they continue to pine for toys.

I looked at pH (obviously, if I was going to justify the pH meter!), water (tap vs distilled), and a brief touch on different mordants. Everything was on the same 2 ply wool, and if I wasn’t specifically looking at mordants, it was all alum mordanted in the same batch.

This first picture has the mordants. I threw them all in the same pot, and I’m pretty sure there was mordant bleeding to make everything a bit sadder. The skein on the left is the alum control, the top right is iron and the bottom right is copper.

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This next picture is the different waters. Each column was the same chunk of dyestuff, simmered in succession to get different dye baths. So 10g of madder, simmered a while and then strained out, dye liquor 1. Take that same 10g of madder that I just strained out, simmer it again, strain it again: dye liquor 2. Take that same well simmered madder, simmer it AGAIN, strain it AGAIN: dye liquor 3. Far right is my tap water (standard city water), the left two are both distilled water. In theory they are /exactly the same/. Thank you madder for keeping things surprising.

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This last picture are the different acidities. I took one dye bath, and split it out into four jars. The top right is the control. Bottom right is citric acid (pH of 2.6). Top left used washing soda to bring the pH to basic (pH of 10.2) and the bottom left added ammonia to the dye bath. (pH 10.0)

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Basically every time I put photos on the blog, I am reminded that photography is not my strong suit. Apparently neither is clearing off the table before I take photos.

If you’re curious about my documentation, I’ve linked it here: Madder