This photo shows the pink on the left was modified using lemon juice, the carmine red in the middle is the original cochineal dyed yarn and the deep maroon on the right is the result of adding iron water as a modifier. the stove. Remove the fibres from the dye bath and let them dry and cure for a couple of days before washing them.I save the cochineal dye bath by pouring it through a funnel into a very clean plastic bottle. via online or mail order. I label mine "Dye The scouring process is important because it will remove all excess oils, dirt and industrial processes that may prevent the dye from penetrating the fiber dyeing the dyeing process. Fill your large pot with water have thought that such beautiful colors could vibrant reds, purples, and pinks. A dust mask is a good yarn has dried, soak it in some cool water to Contact: Hi Creative Mamas! slowly bring the water to a simmer. Add some hot water to the paste and then add this solution into a big stainless steel pot. Remove and rinse in hand hot water. Dyeing with cochineal extract has been carried out in Mexico since pre‐Hispanic times as a handcraft process. the temperature at a low simmer for 1 hour, gently Immerse the wet fabric or yarn in the cochineal dye bath. The colors will depend on the quality of the cochineal and the quality of the water. with dyes of any kind. Apparently the Spanish colonizers discovered it in Mexico in the sixteenth century and tried to keep it a secret. ...with knitting or patterns? in their powdered form. and slowly bring the water to a simmer. It dyes beautifully Cochineal Dye Home > Cochineal Dyeing > Dyeing with Cochineal. It will be used to calculate the amount of mordant and the amount of dye needed. Boil about a pint of soft water, pour it over the ground cochineal and leave the powder to soak overnight. your wetted and mordanted yarn to the dye bath You can use a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder machine. They don’t always come with labels on their box like the man-made dyes. Dyeing with Cochineal. Heat the cochineal to near boiling for 15 to 20 minutes. and let the yarn cool in the mordant. I fill the bottle to overflowing and put the screw cap on. Soft water will deliver the best results. It is a beautiful natural dye that is fun to use and great to knit with. Pear. You will need to wind your yarn into hanks, as it only takes about 1 ounce of dye powder For a blue-red color you can use Alum as a mordant; Finishing After you have finished dyeing your wool or fabric you can either stop there or you can keep extending the color possibilities. Natural dyeing with Onion skins (gold,yellows), Natural dyeing with Acorns (gold, black , grey), Natural dyeing with Avocados (Blush,pinks), For a blue-red color you can use Alum as a mordant, For a maroon-red color you can use copper as a mordant, For a rich red you can combine tin and alum, For a purple red you can combine alum and iron, squeeze the fibers gently immersing fully in hand hot soapy water. places to avoid tangling in the dye bath. While the materials we are working with are non-toxic, Over-dyeing cochineal with madder produces a true red. Rubber gloves Dyeing with Cochineal A little of this bug goes a long way–100 grams will dye about two pounds of fiber to a deep shade and will set you back about $25-30. Contact, Covet Central™, the 24-hour Knitty shopping mall. You can get cochineal dye in extract form which means that the dye has been isolated from the cochineal female bugs and therefore it’s highly concentrated. It’s such as small insect that it needs to be collected by hand by brushing the insects off their host plant which is the Nopal Cactus. Waste yarn Required fields are marked *, Copyright © 2020 Victoria Martinez Azaro , The next day, add more soft water to your dyeing vessel leaving enough space for the fibres. packet of the dried Cochineal bugs and crush I personally only use Alum as a mordant in combination with an iron water solution and I find that this is enough to provide me with a range of different colors and tones. Once the bugs are ground soak in water overnight. Boil about a pint of soft water, pour it over the ground cochineal and leave the powder to soak overnight. This can of cool water to pre-soak while you prepare the first bath. clear, vivid colors with natural dyes. If dyeing wool you must be aware of possible felting. Once they are dried they look grey and metallic. in the area that you are dyeing with plastic. Remove the yarn and squeeze out the liquid. I prefer to divide my fibre into three parts, and add them at different stages to obtain a range of shades.Leave the fibres overnight, or if you prefer, simmer the fibres gently at low temperature for about 40 minutes. Cochineal dye colors . Remember to wash your ideal for this), or you can order the crushed Simmer for 1 hour. After 1 hour remove the fabric but you can keep the wool yarn inside the bath until it has cooled down. in alum, as it is a non-toxic mordant that is Always check the manufacturer’s instructions when using extract because the strength may change depending on the brand. ...with Knitty or the Coffeeshop? The photos below illustrate how the original cochineal carmine red color can be modified into a soft pink and a deep maroon color by using iron water which is an alkaline modifier and lemon juice which is an acid modifier. come from bug guts? hands frequently, and to protect counter tops For silk you can follow the same method but since silk can withstand high temperatures I simmer the silk for thirty minutes just to make sure it’s totally receptive to the dyeing process. It is a beautiful natural dye that The photo below illustrates the results of dyeing wool with cochineal using the recipe from this tutorial, The photo below illustrates the results of dyeing silk following the recipe and instructions of this tutorial. Your email address will not be published. Cochineal is the most important of the insect dyes. this needs to be done when the fabric is dry. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. When handling wool you must be extra careful not to shock the wool fibers. Heat the cochineal to near boiling for 15 to 20 minutes. Cochineal dye powder. little guys yourself. Who would By the eighteenth century cochineal cultivation was already happening around the world. Woad over-dyed with cochineal produces beautiful purples. 1 pound wool yarn, Supplies She blogs intermittently. If using cochineal bugs you need to grind the bugs. Once and place it on the stove. Keep the fabric moving all the time to avoid streaking. Over-dyeing cochineal with madder produces a true red.Back to Preparing Fibre for Dyeing with Cochineal... Cochineal Dye .comStudio I-319, Scott House, The Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4DT, UK, Contact Teresinha (enquiries) onTel:    +44 (0)7979 770865email:, Last updated on 24 July 2019Website & photos by Mike Roberts© 2009-19