Cochineal & Computer Glasses

2 Dec

When you are walking a tripod cat one has plenty of time to scrape cochineal off the cactus. I collected about 4 grams the first pass. We’ll get a couple more days of scraping and then see how much red I can pull. The question of the day is it an oxymoron to wish one had their computer glasses when scraping cochineal? The real question is how to filter the white webbing out of the dye bath.



13 Responses to “Cochineal & Computer Glasses”

  1. letitiarogers December 3, 2013 at 12:13 am #

    Kathy Hatori said to cook in distilled water until the white waxy stuff separates. I asked her! Letitia

    Sent from my NEW IPad!


    • debmcclintock December 3, 2013 at 12:19 am #

      great! some folks down under said the same thing…that was gonna be my path, glad to have confirmation!


  2. Rosemary Malbin December 3, 2013 at 3:11 am #



  3. Karen Hall December 3, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Hi Deb, Was thinking about the web problem. I’ve seen photos of drying racks with cochineal, leading me to believe they were oven dried. I wonder if this might get rid of some of the problem? Just a thought! Having just moved to Texas, I expect I’ll be harvesting some cochineal, too! Kind regards, Karen

    Sent from my iPad



    • debmcclintock December 3, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Thks Karen, I’ll experiment with that suggestion also.


  4. Marge December 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    So Jealous! Can’t wait to see the color you get from your very own buggies! I am banned from cooking bugs here, smellie, but I can live vicariously through you. 😉


    • debmcclintock December 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

      and just when I was gonna pick some bugs for you! ok, I’ll keep them here, you can pick your own when you come visit again. IF it is COOL enough outside!


      • Marge December 3, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

        Oh, joy! Can I really pick my own bugs? Love it. Can’t wait. FYI, I would still cook my own bugs here and take the screaming when Tony gets home and smells it. A small price to pay.


  5. mazzaus December 9, 2013 at 5:30 am #

    How exciting!


  6. mazzaus December 10, 2013 at 4:10 am #

    I happened to be reading a booklet by the Gerbers last night and they dealt with the webs and little spines and dirt by grinding the whole lot thoroughly with a little distilled water and decanting through a funnel lined with wet paper towel. They said the colour washed right out (no mordant) but the unwanted items stayed on the paper towel. Well, now you have three ways you might deal with it. Choices, choices, choices!


    • debmcclintock December 10, 2013 at 4:13 am #

      Thanks! That’s the plan, A fine mesh coffee filter is in those bugs’ future! I’m at the loom now but as soon as it warms up I’ll be outside mordanting and bug simmering!


  7. elizabeth silver-schack December 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Hi Deb,

    I just watched this in the Andes- they got rid of the white web just when washing out the fiber after the dyeing process- when they dried and ground it they also did not worry about it.


    • debmcclintock December 10, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

      Awesome! That is now plan a with filter as plan b. Welcome back!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: