Sunday, 4 October 2009

Sod's Law: getting red without knowing how or the lament of the toss it in and see what happens dyer

I am always on the hunt for reds. Madder red is often elusive as I have very soft water, brazilwood goes a not very nice purple when felted and is not very light fast so that leaves cochineal.
Last week sometime I decided to do some cochineal dyeing. I tossed in some ground cochineal-how much? I can't remember-I think 50 g but I am not sure. I added some cream of tartar. How much? Possibly a tablespoon and then soaked the cochineal for how long? Possibly two days which was then heated in the electric casserole till it simmered (I think). When it cooled I tossed in 100g of merino mordanted with 12% alum 5% cream of tartar and left it -for how long?I don't know. I heated (I think till it simmered) but for how long I don't know. :(
Here is the result.
Yummy yummy crimson (it does not come out so well on the screen -another sod's law.
I will never be able to get this again. :(
Sold it all yesterday :( and :)
The exhausts are very pretty too

Welcome to all the new followers -nice to have you


  1. What a beautiful colour. If you remember how you got it be sure to let us know. I'm just experimenting myself right now. I heard nettles would give a forest green, but instead i got such a subtle almost caramel/green. I was disappointed at first but now I love it.

  2. Well I am about to do it again and This time I will keep a record :)

  3. Ooo, Helen, it's an absolutely yummy color! At least you got it once. Who knows, you may get it again!

  4. As Leigh says, now you know it's possible! It is such a gorgeous colour.
    BTW, do you add calcium carbonate to your madder water? I do with weld to get that teeth-tingling acid yellow, and alos with the brand and madder indigo vat, do you use madder root or extract?

  5. Hi Leigh-yes well Iam about to try again. Hi Prince town- I have tried adding calcium carbonate but maybe it is time to try again . When I did it some time ago I did not think it made much difference but I have a powdered calcium carbonate now.
    For the madder bran vat I use madder root. Traditionally you used the poor quality root but I use what I have and it does release a bit of colour into the vat I think making it a littl hard to read.

  6. Gorgeous colour, and you're right; the photograph really doesn't do it justice. It was a really deep, rich alizarin crimson. Perfect!

  7. I tend to be that "tossing in" dyer quite often... though I have to say that I did keep better records in the beginning, but whenever I try to repeat a lovely colour, following the notes I took first - I nearly always ended up with a different colour! which makes me skip taking notes now; I only do it for new dyestuffs:))

  8. Like you Bettina.Only keep records swith new dyes or techniques. Life being too short!
    It is nice to have Alison -thank you Alison- confirming it is actually a deep crimson as she saw in the studio. Why it has come out pinkish I don't know It really is crimson.

  9. With computer just back from the 'doctor', what a joy to see the Fiery Felt colour on screen. Glorious!And personally, Helen, I see no reason to have to repeat (obliged to)any colour achieved. As you so rightly say, life is too short, let the indistrialists get hung-up on this colour consistency, yes its nice to be able to,but not a Heaven-sent command. Many thanks for your needed sanity/brilliance. Davì the Curmudgeon

  10. hi Davi-thank you.I think you are right I have been getting hung up on repeatability when in fact my strengths lie in original! :)