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Madder, Whole


Dried roots of Rubia tinctoria, available ground or whole.

Use on protein or cellulose fibres. Pre-mordanting recommended. A classic dye, giving dramatic reds, brick-reds to orange and coral. Use at 50-100% WOF for medium shades.

TO USE: simmer in water below 185°F for 30 minutes. Cool overnight, then repeat simmer and strain. Add more water and enter pre-mordanted fibre. Hold below 158°F for one hour. Higher temperatures produce browns. Whole madder is best chopped up first in an old blender, or soaked overnight then ground as best you can in the blender with the soaking liquid. Rita Buchanan once described the process as attempting to break pencils with your bare hands. Despite this, many dyers claim the best colours come from the dried, whole roots.

Light and washfastness: excellent.

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