This is the last of my summer experiments with natural dyeing. Cochineal are those little scale insects that are picked off of cacti.
I’ve seen some really nice results using cochineal such as Nada’s experience she posted on the forum this summer.
As with my previous experiments, I used small amounts of silk habatoi, silk gauze, silk mulberry, wool yarn, and merino and corriedale rovings. They were pre-mordanted.
The cochineal had to be ground. I used a wooden mortar and pestle, then put them in a blender, then made it into a paste before adding boiling water.
The mixture was then left overnight before adding to the pot. (This was divided into three parts first to use with different modifiers.)
The first pot I used only cochineal.
The last I added iron.
After each batch was removed from the pot, I left it “cure” for two days. Since I didn’t have both the a lot of room to spread them out I left them bunched up hence the lines. They also dried much lighter as you’ll see.
With cream of tartar modifier. A nice bright pink.
With the iron modifier.
While the results were not exactly what I expected, I believe because the bugs weren’t finely ground I got lighter colors. I may over dye the first batch when I find an electric grinder. If I had to order cochineal again, I’d look for powder.
Have you done any natural dyeing lately?