Dyeing with cochineal

Cochineal is the Princess Barbie of natural dyeing. It’s an expensive dyestuff but a small amount, as with logwood, goes a very long way. I used the same dyepot, containing around 5gm of cochineal powder, and processed five different loads of fabric, comprising various cottons, silks and linen, together with several hanks of thread. The results are as shown in the photograph. To get some of these colours I used a dye modifier in the form of spirit vinegar. I’ll write more about modifiers in a future post; they’re very useful for extending the range of colours you can get from a particular dyestuff.

Cochineal is extracted from the bugs of that name, mostly in Peru and the Canary Islands. So I guess if you’re a strict vegan or vegetarian this particular dyestuff may not be for you. (However, it’s quite difficult to avoid as it is widely used as a dye in various food products).Dyeing with cochineal

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