Natural Dyeing with Cochineal.

I have been on a spinning spree recently, I got the fleece literally off the sheeps back! I did the usual things, sorted, washed, scoured and carded and spun it. I then had a bash of dyeing the yarn with cochineal. I used whole cochineal, not the powder and the triple extraction method, i.e pour water over cochineal and boil for fifteen minutes, strain into the dye bath and repeat three times in all. As I live in a hard water area I used rainwater from the rain vat outside. Mordanted with Alum, this is the result. My spinning is far from perfect, so take heart if you are still learning! So am I! I bought the dye vat up to simmering over a period of an hour, simmered for about 45 minutes and left the first batch overnight. The lightest batch was the third extraction and this time I didn’t let it sit. Each skein weighs about 70 grams, and I used 25 grams of cochineal. I have dried out the cochineal as I still seem to have some colour left in them. I have heard that adding onions skins turns the exhaust towards orange red. I don’t know why I do all this, the last thing I need is more yarn!

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