Cochineal Dyeing Workshop

Update: We had the opportunity to make eight different shades/tints from the cochineal and learned that cochineal on unmordanted wool does produce great colors.

When:  Sunday July 23, 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Where:   Private residence in Toney, Alabama.

Cochineal is a small scale insect used for dyeing that produces a crimson color which has been highly sought after for thousands of years.  The bug lives on the prickly pear cactus found in Mexico and along the Mexican American border.  The female is the producer of the red dye. Cochineal can dye various colors depending on the quality of the produce.

Please bring in washed un-mordanted wool or wool mordanted with alum and cream of tartar.  There will be a pot of mordant available at the workshop.  Mordanting and how to prepare the dye pot will be explained during the workshop.  To receive information on washing your fiber before the workshop, contact the guild. Ammonia and vinegar will be provided to change color after the dye bath. Bring one skein or up to one pound of wool for dyeing.  Be considerate of others wanting to dye. Silk dyes beautifully, but cotton, linen, bamboo, ramie, etc. do not dye. Dyeing is messy, so bring an apron and wear old clothes.  Bring plastic bags to take home wet fiber.

Please pre-register for location information  and directions by contacting the Huntsville Fiber Guild by July 21.  You’ll be welcome if you don’t pre-register, but there might not be enough supplies.