Mine is Galium boreale, a type that grows wild here, though i bought my seeds locally, as i was unable to either gather seeds, or dig up roots. Also known as Cleavers, Northern Bedstraw and a host of other nastier names because it’s invasive, and because the tiny seed burs and clutchy hooky barbed stems (also a characteristic of madder) stick to everything, including skin.
You can certainly see the red in the root above. (Go ahead, click on it to enlarge.) Didn’t look promising to begin with. My little pile of skinny weeny roots was full of dirt i couldn’t rinse off, so i filtered the mess through some haremcloth (cheesecloth is too porous for dirt), and got what i could off the roots. I had MAYBE a scant 40 grams, counting the dirt that wouldn’t let go 🙂 I’m working on a rather laissez-faire attitude here with that–perhaps the minerals in the dirt will leach out and help the colour somehow, though i doubt it……. (I don’t subscribe to the “pot as mordant” theory–unless it’s a really rusty iron pot, or a pure copper one that things have been sitting in for weeks………MORDANT PROPERLY TO BEGIN WITH. Save yourself the grief.)
First soaking poured off–possibly the browns and yellows inherent with red dye roots, possibly the dirt factor:
I refilled the dye pot using our tap water, which is hard, being from the Alberta Rockies, but did throw in a Tums as well, as that has really helped my madder along.
But, i have to do some more pre-mordanting of fabrics and threads, as i seem to be out! Stay tuned!