Cochineal: The Finale

It had to end sometime. It eventually became a question of what would exhaust first. The dye pot or me. But, after a long day of dyeing, I had this lovely assortment of reds. (Plus the two batches of fleece.) All from two ounces of cochineal, some alum, cream of tartar, and vinegar.

The Final Assortment

The Final Assortment

I’d say it was almost worth all the effort. I say “almost” because I’m still sick, and there’s a long rinse job ahead of me. Supposedly, if you let the newly dyed yarn sit for a day or two before rinsing, it helps solidify the color. It also lets a lot of color stay there, waiting for the innocent dyer to come by and try rinsing it. One skein of the Rebecca wool dunked into a pot of water twice. Water went red. Sigh.

But, on a good note, with all the dye flinging about all day, the only known casualty was my sock.

One Little Spot

One Little Spot

Oh, and as a warning, adding vinegar to the bath makes great colors, but it adds a very unpleasant odor to the beetles, which were on the edge already. In short, it stunk up the kitchen. We had windows open and fans running for the last hour or so.

Everything is now in the “let dry” stage, waiting for me to pluck up the courage to get back to work. It shouldn’t take too long. The yarn calls.



3 Responses to Cochineal: The Finale
  1. outandin
    February 18, 2009 | 10:13 pm

    It seems like anything that pretty should be edible!

  2. Denny
    February 20, 2009 | 5:43 pm

    Could you give us a rough idea of the weight of yarn/fleece that you have now dyed with the cochineal, I’m going to have about 24 oz of sock weight yarn spun and it would be good to know how much dyestuff I’ll need – having seen the beautiful colours you’ve got I’ll probably do shades. About 12 oz is already spun so I’ll use that for the first dip, the rest is still carded fleece so I’ll use that for a couple of exhausts. The shades with vinegar are lovely.

  3. Rebekah
    February 20, 2009 | 8:13 pm

    I ran around thirty-three ounces of fiber total, and had some color left over, but after the first three dips I had to use the vinegar to bring the color intensity back up from pale pink to that plum color.

    The first dip was fifteen ounces of yarn, pre-mordanted with alum and cream of tartar. That gave me the red skeins along the bottom of the top picture. Then the two fleeces that followed were somewhere in the neighborhood of five ounces each, and they were not mordanted – so instead of a red they gave me a pale purple and a light pink. If my calculations are correct, I ran about twenty-five ounces through before using the vinegar.

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