Saturday, January 10, 2009

Compost Dyed Silk Fabric


Dried whole cochineal bugs.

Cochineal extraction vat day six.

Dyeing with Cochineal

Copyright Kimberly Baxter Packwood 2001

You can perform multiple dye extractions with cochineal bugs to obtain a concentrated dye bath.

Day One: I used two ounces of the bugs, cover them in water, then heat them to near boiling. I then turn off the heat and let them sit overnight, in the same pan. (one these days I need to buy another one of these pans as it is my favorite).

Day two I strain the bugs in a hand held sieve, into a much bigger stainless steel pan (about 8 quarts I guess).

I then place the bugs back into my smaller pan, cover with water and reheat them to near boiling. I then turn off the heat and let them sit overnight.

The next day I strain them again, placing the dye liquor into the previous days extraction. I repeat this process upwards of 20 times.

NOTE: You will need to heat the dye liquor every few days or so to prevent mold from forming on the dye extractant. When you are done it will be blackish in color.

This dye liquor is a super concentrated cochineal dye bath.When you are ready to dye just remove a smallish amount, about one quarters cup worth, from the dye liquor and place it into your dye bath water.

NOTE: If it's still blackish just add a smidge of Alum and it'll redden right up. I do this all of the time.

This is an excellent way to get the biggest bang for your dye resources. I do this all of the time with cochineal and other dye materials. Most dye materials lend themselves to only one or two extractions, beyond the original dye extraction.

Copyright Kimberly Baxter Packwood 2001

Glorious Red