Cochineal Whole Bugs (dactylopus coccus)

Reds, warm purples.

Light shade: 5% WOG, Medium shade 8% WOG, Dark shade15% WOG

Whole Bugs Preparation

Place cochineal bugs into a knee-high nylon stocking (or other suitable cloth container.) Soak bugs overnight in dye pot, with water to cover. Next day, simmer 1 hour, decant, cover bugs with water again and repeat. Continue the process to extract dye to your satisfaction. (Usually 3-6 times) Combine all decanted dye liqueur into dye pot, add in mordanted, damp fiber and simmer one hour or longer. (You may also let stand overnight to attain full dye absorption.)

To Crush or Not to Crush: The choice to crush or not crush the bugs, either before steeping or during steeping has fans on both sides of the choice.

Can the bugs be simmered again at another time? Can they be dried in the meantime? Yes. However, the results on the second round of simmerings can be less colorful, and will certainly not be a repeatable recipe.

Color Recipes

Tartaric Acid (1% WOG) added to pot: rich camellia pink.

Color change with Iron? Yes. In solution and with gum tragacanth.

Discharge color with Tartaric Acid? Yes. In solution and with gum tragacanth.

Using Indigo: dipping before or after the cochineal has no appreciable difference in result.