Monday, December 8, 2008

They're Bugs, They're Dye, They're Gross!


They're Cochineal, a type of sap-sucking bug (actually a scale insect) from Central America, and other warm regions of the world. They are a parasite - and their host is a type of cactus. Interesting, huh? Well, I do feel a 'little' sorry for the buggers, but I gave it a try, and... I love it! Beautiful reds and oranges. I used a method which does not require a mordant - a small amount of white vinegar in the dye bath to bring the color to an intense orange/red. As I was heating the fibers in the bath the smell from the cochineal was roaming through the house - not a horrible smell mind you, but different.

The fibers in the dye pot are a yarn of 80/20 Alpaca/wool and some silk roving. The instructions in the book said this method was for animal fibers so the silk should be able to take the dye as well.

I'm loving this. The yarn and silk are now 'resting' in the pot. I'm leaving them overnight and will rinse/wash/rinse them in the morning...
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Here are the results of the dye bath:


The Alpaca/Wool blend is a deep burgundy/wine color.
The silk absorbed more purple. I like them both!

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