Monday, April 06, 2009

Cochineal dyeing photos

I've dyed my grey wool yarns for the OLG workshop and I'm pleased with the results though I would have thought that I would have ended up with more variations in the colour.
Here are the cochineal bugs that I grounded in an old coffee grinder that I keep specially for this.
I forgot to make a picture of the grounded bugs, when you see a lovely red colour coming out.

I can show a picture of the grounded bugs in the water ready to go into the dye pan. Here you can see colour!

The yarn that I have dyed is this on the left. The yarn in the top of the photo is on the cone as I bought it and below a skein of the cleaned yarn, a big difference to be seen. The water from just wetting the yarn was very dirty. Only after cleaning (heating in soapy water) and rinsing did the water become clean.

Next, I put my soaked grounded bugs in the pan and I added 6 skeins of yarn and started heating slowly and left it for more than an hour heating on low heat but it must have been near boiling point. I left it overnight to cool and took the skeins out next morning and heating up the water slowly again with another 3 skeins and left this for the rest of the day. Took the skeins out when it was cooled and added another 2 skeins and let this heat for another hours. I now had 3 batches ending up with 3 variations of colour looking like this on the right. As I only had 2 skeins from the 3rd bath I divided one of these skeins in 3 so that I could do some more experimenting.
I took a skein of each batch and put them into part of the dye mixture where I had added some copper water (you make this with water+vinegar+copper piping and leave to rest for a while), next I added a skein of each batch into part of the dye mixture with added iron water (water+vinegar+rusty nails and leave to rest for a while) and the last was dye mixture with fresh lemon juice and a skein of the 1st and 3rd batch added. I might have used to little of the copper and iron water (or my water had been standing idle for to long, I've had it for ages, not sure how long this keeps, I presumed indefinitely). The difference is so minute that you hardly notice.

Here are the photos of all the different colour variations, as you can see very subtle differences.

It is very difficult to get the exact colours to show up in the photos.

The photo with the 3 different bath's is probably the best, colour wise. It is great fun to do this dyeing and at the end I hope to have a big selection of red yarns for weaving.

Next job is to dye my white yarns in cochineal, the dye mixture is already waiting, just a matter of having enough time to do the different experiments and I'm hoping for more spectacular differences this time.

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