Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cochineal Extract

To the right is a picture of the Cochineal extract. I also re-posted the picture of the ground up bugs so you can compare. They look quite different. The extract requires only very small amounts to get the depth of shades. A little goes a long way. I am a bit concerned with the first batch which is cooking at the moment. It is coming out about the same shade as the picture of the ground bugs. I think it is supposed to be not quite so purple. I may be wrong and I need to do a bit more digging. This batch does not have Cream of Tartar added.
When I was washing the skeins for this batch I put them in the washing machine to spin out the excess water as I usually do. There was a bit of grease left over from washing my husband's chainsawing clothes that I missed. It got into the whole batch of skeins so I had to start over and wash them and the washing machine thoroughly. I use our well water to wash the skeins which is hard and has iron or rust in it. It hasn't been a factor, or at least, much of a factor in the past but I usually don't have to wash the skeins that much. I am wondering if it is affecting the color as cochineal is very sensitive to the PH of the water. It will be interesting to see. I will post a picture of the yarns tomorrow evening after they have dried. Tomorrow is the Whidbey Weavers Guild meeting so I will not be dyeing. I will give a report on the meeting. It should be interesting. Got to check the dyepot. -Renee


dana said...

Yeah, it sounds like minerals got into the dye bath. Straight cochineal extract should be bubble gum pink to fuchsia. In the last workshop I gave we added iron to cochineal to give it more lightfastness on cotton. I guess it was too much iron because it was definately purple. No pinks were produced that day. The purple was pretty though.

Renee said...

Dana, I did an iron afterbath today and the color did not change very much! I believe I found the culprit. There was enough iron in our water to change the color completely. Good to know and I can actually exploit that sometime. I also used one of my cheap stainless pots to mordant in. I think it is time to retire it from natural dyeing as I think the stainless coating has worn off. I will have to save my pennies and invest in one of those nice pots you told us about! -Renee

dana said...

The stockpots at Linen and Things are'nt too bad and definately cheaper than the Vollrath pots. If you do go to Vollrath, I found to be a good source.