I wanted more of my favorite colors for another idea for presenting them. Besides, I loved the colors. This post is about getting the purples again; all with cochineal. I was using both old Chinese recipes and the ones in the wonderful book by Ellis and Boutrup, The Art and Science of Natural Dyes.
These are my favorite purples that I ended up with. It was really hard to reproduce them. I had photographed the original colors; then took the bundles apart for the mobile.
I started trying for the purples on July 1st. I had copious notes, but it was hard to be patient and decipher them. Since I had the mobile, I knew I had gotten the purples but my first attempts were disasters or near disasters—definitely not the purples I wanted again.
I got some really terrible results and thought maybe the problem was that I was using cochineal extract powder instead of the actual bugs. But when I post mordanted some of them, the original results weren’t so bad. I used iron and also copper.
I got another batch of uglies but realized it was the mordant that was the problem. I was using the old Chinese recipe and the dye just wasn’t taking. So the recipe in The Art and Science of Natural Dyes was the one I realized I’d used before. In the meantime, I liked the greens a lot that came when I post mordanted the bundles with copper.
These were dyed using the Chinese recipe for scarlet. But I had to improvise and work hard to get these real reds. I’m glad I had enough left over because my notes were useless.
All the purples began with the Chinese recipe for “crimson”. Here is a batch of early trials, trying to use fter mordants to get purple out of the pinks without success.
These were the scarlet trials just in case they would turn into purple by some chance.
When I was photographing them last night, I couldn’t resist putting everything out on a card table. It was a long journey. Today I’m dyeing another batch of PURPLES just so I’ll have a nice supply of them. The pot looks great this time.
Each “bundle” was composed of a variety of silks. That made for a lot of nice shades and variations from one dye pot.