Cochineal and Osage Orange

I was able to order some cochineal from a farm in Oaxaca a couple of months ago, and I’ve been waiting for the right moment to use it. Well, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen if I didn’t make the time for it, so in the middle of getting ready for the Wool Festival last weekend, I was also dyeing silk fabric at the same time I was labeling and pricing wool. It got a little crazy here at home, but I just couldn’t wait any longer for the perfect moment to arrive. In my hurry, I also underestimated the dye’s ability to stain almost anything, that I bypassed washing my dye pot thoroughly that I previously used with cochineal last winter and my  mordanted fabric got a pinkish color. I kind of like it, but it definitely will change the outcome of my final colors.


Mordanted Fabric

I also been soaking my Osage Orange in vodka. Even though I soaked it for a few months, I think I prefer this method, because it saves a lot on energy, time and the brew is ready any time I’m prepared to proceed with my dyeing.

Osage Orange and Cochineal

There is my Cochineal to the left and my Osage Orange soaking to the right. This is getting exciting…

Dye Pots

Cochineal Dye Pot IMG_0557 IMG_0559 IMG_0561

The silk gets one shade lighter after it gets dry.

Mulberry Silk dyed with Osage Orange

Mulberry Silk

Osage Orange and Cochineal

I didn’t plan to have these orchids blooming at the same time…



Making bundles

I did some dyeing this weekend. But first I had to go around my neighborhood to do some “shopping” for the right material.


I did found good leaves, but I also saw a men coming out from a driveway with the back of his truck filled with olive branches. I got so excited about trying something a little different from eucalyptus and after he told me to help myself as much as I could.

Olive leaves

Then I found these leaves that looks like a type of acacia. Their leaves are very similar to the olive leaves.


After I got home I started working on my bundles right away.  I made four bundles and put the whole thing to “cook”.


The hardest part was to wait, so I took my camera and I went for a walk.

Bolinas Beach

A few hours later, I decided that it was time to take them out the pot.


Here are my bundles before unfolding them.

Here are the results:

Eco prints

Eco prints

Eco prints

Eco prints

The Eucalyptus yielded the most bright colors, the acacia-like leaves, left a nice subtle print and the olives didn’t print at all.