Adventures with Bugs

_Thank you so much for all your lovely comments about the shawl! It is so satisfying to complete something finally! I’m trying to use the momentum from knitting the shawl to finish my handspun Lotus Blossom Shawl…_

[Sunday's post](http://blog.sweetgeorgiayarns.com/2006/02/on_multitasking/) with the mystery photo was, yes, cochineal bugs. I took the opportunity while the DH was away in Ottawa to wash some smelly fleece and dye with bugs…

2006-03-01_cochinealpackage.jpg
$8.95 CDN for 30 grams from Maiwa

Cochineal is a scale insect that feeds on a kind of cacti in Mexico and South America. The red pigment is from carminic acid which the insect produces to repel its predators. Maiwa sells whole cochineal bugs which need to be ground up before using. At about $9 an ounce, it’s expensive stuff… compared to say, $2 an ounce for madder.

2006-03-01_cochineal.jpg
Dusted bugs

I was gifted a “Magic Bullet” food processor from my father-in-law who bought one and got one free… He seemed less than enthusiastic when I said it would be perfect for grinding up bugs for dyeing. I should learn to keep my thoughts to myself sometimes! But it is fantastic for grinding the bugs to powder in seconds.

Maiwa’s instructions recommend 4 to 8% WOF (per weight of fibre) of cochineal. Since it’s so expensive, I opted to go with 4% — so about 17.5 g for the pound or so of Gotland I was dyeing. Oh, here’s the raw Gotland fleece:

2006-03-01_gotlandfleece.jpg
raw Gotland fleece

I basically weighed a big chunk of raw fleece, washed it with Dawn and let it dry so that I could weigh it again afterwards and figure out what I would be left with*. In this case, I lost about 20% of weight after washing the fleece — that’s all dirt and grease! I was left with just over a pound of fleece that went into this dyepot. It was mordanted with both alum and cream of tartar because I wanted a real fuschia red/pink colour. Without the cream of tartar, I think the dye ends up a warmer red.

2006-03-01_decant123.jpg
Three decantings

The powdered cochineal was boiled up with a touch of vinegar and some water for about 15 minutes and decanted. I repeated this two more times, so there were in total three decantings of the cochineal. I saved the powder that was left in the pot for a future dye session (maybe mixing it with logwood or lac?). The decanted dye solution was returned to the pot and I added the mordanted fleece:

2006-03-01_cochinealfleece.jpg
Fleece in the pot
2006-03-01_fleecedone.jpg
Dyed and dried

The fleece dyed slightly unevenly with the tips, of course, being a lot darker than the rest. Since I know the yield (80% of raw fleece) for this fleece, I’m not planning on washing and drying anymore of it. I’ll wash it, mordant it right away and then drop it in the dye pot. The extra drying and wetting times just increases the handling of the fleece and increases the chance that it will felt or get all messed up.

Even with just 4% dye, the dye pot wasn’t even close to exhausting, so in mild panic, I dropped in some other skeins of yarn in an attempt to exhaust the pot. There was a handful of silk noil, some corriedale wool roving and two skeins of stuff I had handpainted…

2006-03-01_silkpre.jpg
Handpainted skeins — too electric for me to wear…
2006-03-01_silkpost.jpg
Overdyed with cochineal

None of this extra yarn or fibre was mordanted, but still took on a lot of colour. The lime green portions of the skein turned into a really interesting green-gold colour — not really something you could easily mix from synthetic dye powders… it just seems like a whole other layer of colour. Very very interesting.

2006-03-01_silkwarp.jpg
Silk/Wool 50/50 to be used as warp

I’m using this skein as warp in my next weaving project. And even after adding these extra fibres to the pot, the pot _still_ didn’t exhaust. So not wanting to be wasteful, I kept the rest of the stock for next time!

_* My bad: Yesterday I termed this “degreased wool per raw wool” as “shrinkage” — but shrinkage is loss of yardage. If anybody knows the proper term for this (yield?), let me know please!_

  • http://mimsie.typepad.com/knitting mimsie

    I *love* that goldenish color that came up. Wonderful contrast with the pinks/purples. Very “royal princess”. =)

  • http://mimsie.typepad.com/knitting mimsie

    I *love* that goldenish color that came up. Wonderful contrast with the pinks/purples. Very “royal princess”. =)

  • http://www.januaryone.com Cara

    I kind of have no idea what you’re talking about (mordant? alum? craem of tartar?) but oh my goodness you are SO inspiring! Thank you!

  • http://www.januaryone.com Cara

    I kind of have no idea what you’re talking about (mordant? alum? craem of tartar?) but oh my goodness you are SO inspiring! Thank you!

  • http://stressreaction.com Leah

    Beautiful! I especially love the overdye!

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  • http://stressreaction.com Leah

    Beautiful! I especially love the overdye!

    Thanks for the tutorial!

  • http://www.maud.prettyposies.com Maud

    Very beautiful colours! I have mordanted with only cream of tartar and have got reds that looks exactly like yours.

  • http://www.maud.prettyposies.com Maud

    Very beautiful colours! I have mordanted with only cream of tartar and have got reds that looks exactly like yours.

  • http://www.superstarra.blogspot.com Christie

    Wow! That’s amazing, what a beautiful color!

  • http://www.superstarra.blogspot.com Christie

    Wow! That’s amazing, what a beautiful color!

  • http://hermione.blogspot.com Beth S.

    Oh my goodness, that last picture looks almost exactly like Cobalt Bloom Socks that Rock!

  • http://hermione.blogspot.com Beth S.

    Oh my goodness, that last picture looks almost exactly like Cobalt Bloom Socks that Rock!

  • http://pumpkinknits.blogspot.com PumpkinMama

    Wow – first the fleece is beautiful. And the dye jobs are so wonderful! I love how the limey-ness on the handpainted skein turned out – what a great color.

  • http://pumpkinknits.blogspot.com PumpkinMama

    Wow – first the fleece is beautiful. And the dye jobs are so wonderful! I love how the limey-ness on the handpainted skein turned out – what a great color.

  • http://www.rose-kim.com/rose-kimknits Jessica

    Cool. I love how your overdyed skein turned out. Thanks for documenting it for us.

  • http://www.rose-kim.com/rose-kimknits Jessica

    Cool. I love how your overdyed skein turned out. Thanks for documenting it for us.

  • http://bklynhandspunyarn.blogspot.com Marie

    What a great post – thanks for the little tutorial! The color you acheived is gorgeous and so are the overdyes. I’m always amazed at the array of colors that can be acheived with overdyeing.

  • http://bklynhandspunyarn.blogspot.com Marie

    What a great post – thanks for the little tutorial! The color you acheived is gorgeous and so are the overdyes. I’m always amazed at the array of colors that can be acheived with overdyeing.

  • http://seedstitch.blogspot.com Cheryl

    What a great fuscia color! I think it’s a good idea to dye the fleece right after the wash, that’s my plan too with my raw fleeces. At the very least it would save some time since you’ve already got it wet.

  • http://seedstitch.blogspot.com Cheryl

    What a great fuscia color! I think it’s a good idea to dye the fleece right after the wash, that’s my plan too with my raw fleeces. At the very least it would save some time since you’ve already got it wet.

  • http://fidget.prettyposies.com Ann

    What a fascinating dyeing experiment – great photos! Years ago, I stumbled into a museum exhibit somewhere in London that displayed different historical uses of red dyes – cochineal, madder, and some terrible synthetics. It was stupendous… it’s always stuck with me.

  • http://fidget.prettyposies.com Ann

    What a fascinating dyeing experiment – great photos! Years ago, I stumbled into a museum exhibit somewhere in London that displayed different historical uses of red dyes – cochineal, madder, and some terrible synthetics. It was stupendous… it’s always stuck with me.

  • http://www.twosheep.com/blog June

    Please report back on how well the nonmordanted overdyed skeins hold their color (with time, with washing)?!? Are you keeping the leftover dye liquor in the refrigerator?

  • http://www.twosheep.com/blog June

    Please report back on how well the nonmordanted overdyed skeins hold their color (with time, with washing)?!? Are you keeping the leftover dye liquor in the refrigerator?

  • http://numenna.blogspot.com Elemmaciltur

    The colours are just gorgeous!!!!! Do some for your shop and I’m sure I’ll buy some!

  • http://numenna.blogspot.com Elemmaciltur

    The colours are just gorgeous!!!!! Do some for your shop and I’m sure I’ll buy some!

  • http://ontheneedles.blogspot.com/ stephanie

    Good lord I had no idea it was bugs! It doesn’t make me like it any less though. :) I just won’t say it looks delicious enough to eat anymore. LOL!

  • http://ontheneedles.blogspot.com/ stephanie

    Good lord I had no idea it was bugs! It doesn’t make me like it any less though. :) I just won’t say it looks delicious enough to eat anymore. LOL!

  • http://www.neoknits.blogspot.com Melissa

    dying with bugs is fun! i’ve used the cochineal before in one of my art classes to dye up small pieced of wool for weaving. then my teacher told us the next week that she noticed some snapple drinks use it for their coloring also. she called them up about it, and they didn’t have too much to say on the matter!

  • http://www.neoknits.blogspot.com Melissa

    dying with bugs is fun! i’ve used the cochineal before in one of my art classes to dye up small pieced of wool for weaving. then my teacher told us the next week that she noticed some snapple drinks use it for their coloring also. she called them up about it, and they didn’t have too much to say on the matter!

  • sue

    In the book Indigo, Madder and Marigold, the author describes how she keeps dying with the same pot of cochineal until it exhausts; the colours become progressivly paler and even the palest pinks are pretty. I’d love to try it one day. Thanks for the wonderful post (and blog in general), I have a lovely time reading you.

  • sue

    In the book Indigo, Madder and Marigold, the author describes how she keeps dying with the same pot of cochineal until it exhausts; the colours become progressivly paler and even the palest pinks are pretty. I’d love to try it one day. Thanks for the wonderful post (and blog in general), I have a lovely time reading you.

  • http://bumblebeeknits.blogspot.com Carin

    Grinding dried bugs to dust for dyeing? How interesting! The overdyed colors are so pretty, especially the green-gold, and it looks nice having the pink next to it.

  • http://bumblebeeknits.blogspot.com Carin

    Grinding dried bugs to dust for dyeing? How interesting! The overdyed colors are so pretty, especially the green-gold, and it looks nice having the pink next to it.

  • http://stasiasplaceofgrace.blogspot.com Stasia

    Lovely colors, Felicia! I’ve always enjoyed working with cochineal, especially on mohair.

    Do I remember correctly that you have the Forsyth sock yarn warping board? I’m considering getting one, but I was wondering if the instructions only covered self-striping yarn, or if they covered short repeats as well… advice?

    Have a great day! Off to the Sweet Shop to peruse the goodies… :-)

  • http://stasiasplaceofgrace.blogspot.com Stasia

    Lovely colors, Felicia! I’ve always enjoyed working with cochineal, especially on mohair.

    Do I remember correctly that you have the Forsyth sock yarn warping board? I’m considering getting one, but I was wondering if the instructions only covered self-striping yarn, or if they covered short repeats as well… advice?

    Have a great day! Off to the Sweet Shop to peruse the goodies… :-)

  • http://discerningfool.blogspot.com Christina

    Great post. Your overdyed skeins are GORGEOUS!

  • http://discerningfool.blogspot.com Christina

    Great post. Your overdyed skeins are GORGEOUS!

  • http://www.purse-ho.com Jen

    OOOH! BUG DYE! i just read a really cool article about that on the internet the other day…. how funny that you used the same bugs. ;)

  • http://www.purse-ho.com Jen

    OOOH! BUG DYE! i just read a really cool article about that on the internet the other day…. how funny that you used the same bugs. ;)

  • Lianne

    Thanks for the comprehensive study of what you did. Very instructive!

  • Lianne

    Thanks for the comprehensive study of what you did. Very instructive!

  • Debbie

    Hmmm…bugs? I think the colors turned out beautiful!! Love the richness of colors; reminds me of tie-dye shirts! Does the colors fade with washing is a good question from other comments…The process of dyeing and then spinning into yarn is so interesting and amazing…Felicia, where do you find the energy to accomplish so much in a day?

    Happy Knitting!

  • Debbie

    Hmmm…bugs? I think the colors turned out beautiful!! Love the richness of colors; reminds me of tie-dye shirts! Does the colors fade with washing is a good question from other comments…The process of dyeing and then spinning into yarn is so interesting and amazing…Felicia, where do you find the energy to accomplish so much in a day?

    Happy Knitting!

  • http://mcrochets.blogspot.com Megan A.

    My first thought when I saw those pictures was, “Is that a Magic Bullet?” Beautiful job with the dye; those overdyed skeins are gorgeous!

  • http://mcrochets.blogspot.com Megan A.

    My first thought when I saw those pictures was, “Is that a Magic Bullet?” Beautiful job with the dye; those overdyed skeins are gorgeous!

  • http://www.enchantedewe.com Rose

    Very cool dyeing… I need to try the bugs. (lol) That looks like a very fun project.

  • http://www.enchantedewe.com Rose

    Very cool dyeing… I need to try the bugs. (lol) That looks like a very fun project.

  • http://twoleftneedles.com Monica

    Interesting process and cool results. I think I’ll stay away from natural dyeing for a while, too much to keep in my head. :)

  • http://twoleftneedles.com Monica

    Interesting process and cool results. I think I’ll stay away from natural dyeing for a while, too much to keep in my head. :)

  • http://thymeformom.blogspot.com/ Lavender

    The Gotland turned out so beautiful! The overdye really soften the colours of the skeins nicely. They turned out so nicely!

    I’m really going to have to stop reading your blog at work. It just makes me want to run home and play. :)

  • http://thymeformom.blogspot.com/ Lavender

    The Gotland turned out so beautiful! The overdye really soften the colours of the skeins nicely. They turned out so nicely!

    I’m really going to have to stop reading your blog at work. It just makes me want to run home and play. :)

  • http://www.knitknot.blogspot.com Nic

    You can buy cochineal bugs at some ethnic grocery stores, at least you can here in the US. They are much cheaper and dye equally as well.

    Thought you might like to know.

  • http://www.knitknot.blogspot.com Nic

    You can buy cochineal bugs at some ethnic grocery stores, at least you can here in the US. They are much cheaper and dye equally as well.

    Thought you might like to know.

  • http://www.spinningathena.blogspot.com kristin

    Your overdyed stuff turned out great. I love overdying. It’s like a second chance at something you really didn’t like before. And I’ve overdyed A LOT.

    But really, I want to talk about the Magic Bullet. I LOVE those infomercials. Love them! The people are so happy in their kitchen, drinking margaritas and eating guacamole they made in their Magic Bullet. Who DOESN’T need a Magic Bullet?

  • http://www.spinningathena.blogspot.com kristin

    Your overdyed stuff turned out great. I love overdying. It’s like a second chance at something you really didn’t like before. And I’ve overdyed A LOT.

    But really, I want to talk about the Magic Bullet. I LOVE those infomercials. Love them! The people are so happy in their kitchen, drinking margaritas and eating guacamole they made in their Magic Bullet. Who DOESN’T need a Magic Bullet?

  • http://www.worstedwitch.com Jasmin

    So lovely! You’re a much braver person than I–I’m not sure I’d be able to go near a bug, even a dead one. *brrr!*

  • http://www.worstedwitch.com Jasmin

    So lovely! You’re a much braver person than I–I’m not sure I’d be able to go near a bug, even a dead one. *brrr!*

  • http://scarfomatic.typepad.com jess

    totally fascinating! What an inspiring post.

    I love the way that gold came out, it is so classy now.

  • http://scarfomatic.typepad.com jess

    totally fascinating! What an inspiring post.

    I love the way that gold came out, it is so classy now.

  • Jocelyn

    If you think the pink/green yarn is too electric to wear, I would be happy to take it off your hands :-). I love those colors.

  • Jocelyn

    If you think the pink/green yarn is too electric to wear, I would be happy to take it off your hands :-). I love those colors.

  • http://visit.freecia.com freecia

    As always, simply stunning. Looking forward to seeing it in a weaving project!

  • http://visit.freecia.com freecia

    As always, simply stunning. Looking forward to seeing it in a weaving project!

  • http://neverenoughhours.blogspot.com Kate

    Great post! Ever since I found your blog all I’ve wanted to do is spin and dye. Your stuff is fabulous. Just got to convince my husband it’s a great idea

  • http://neverenoughhours.blogspot.com Kate

    Great post! Ever since I found your blog all I’ve wanted to do is spin and dye. Your stuff is fabulous. Just got to convince my husband it’s a great idea

  • http://plumtuckered.blogspot.com/ say_ivison

    Oh, I love them!

  • http://plumtuckered.blogspot.com/ say_ivison

    Oh, I love them!

  • http://evergreenknits.blogspot.com hanna

    Thank you for showing us the cochineal dye! It reminds me of my own cochineal experience – I was travelling in Peru, and a guide showed us “cochinilla” bugs on the cacti. To the great amusement of my travelling companions, I scraped a whole bag off of nearby cacti, squished them to reveal their brilliant colors, and then tried to dye a new package of white underwear that I’d bought for the trip. Verdict? I couldn’t find any information on how to fix the dye, so they dried to a mottled grey-purple in the sun, then faded to a white with grey spots. But every time I wash them, mysterious spots of pink continue to show up on the fabric… Anyways, thanks for the gorgeous photos. And can you tell us how much alum and cream of tartar you used? Just to prepare for future vacations : )

  • http://evergreenknits.blogspot.com hanna

    Thank you for showing us the cochineal dye! It reminds me of my own cochineal experience – I was travelling in Peru, and a guide showed us “cochinilla” bugs on the cacti. To the great amusement of my travelling companions, I scraped a whole bag off of nearby cacti, squished them to reveal their brilliant colors, and then tried to dye a new package of white underwear that I’d bought for the trip. Verdict? I couldn’t find any information on how to fix the dye, so they dried to a mottled grey-purple in the sun, then faded to a white with grey spots. But every time I wash them, mysterious spots of pink continue to show up on the fabric… Anyways, thanks for the gorgeous photos. And can you tell us how much alum and cream of tartar you used? Just to prepare for future vacations : )

  • Michelle

    it will be pretty in pink at your place! no surprise but i loooooooovvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee the colour! i love the fleece all fluffy and curly. it would make a beautiful sweater!

  • Michelle

    it will be pretty in pink at your place! no surprise but i loooooooovvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee the colour! i love the fleece all fluffy and curly. it would make a beautiful sweater!

  • http://www.knitgrrl.com Shannon

    Oooh! Gorgeous! I have some pomegranate dye from Maiwa sitting in my studio right now, crying out to me “let’s play!”… Love the color you got with the cochineal, and REALLY love the tones you got on the Seacell…

  • http://www.knitgrrl.com Shannon

    Oooh! Gorgeous! I have some pomegranate dye from Maiwa sitting in my studio right now, crying out to me “let’s play!”… Love the color you got with the cochineal, and REALLY love the tones you got on the Seacell…

  • http://knitsandgrits.blogspot.com katie

    Wow. Dying is such a science and art!

  • http://knitsandgrits.blogspot.com katie

    Wow. Dying is such a science and art!

  • Jess

    Cochineal is also known as carmine, which is a pigment found in many children’s paints, and food too. (You’d actually be surprised what was used to dye food).

    Apparently you can use Riboflavin as a red dye… have you tried this?

  • Jess

    Cochineal is also known as carmine, which is a pigment found in many children’s paints, and food too. (You’d actually be surprised what was used to dye food).

    Apparently you can use Riboflavin as a red dye… have you tried this?

  • Pioggia

    At that price, it’s no wonder you don’t want to be wasteful. By the way, I recently found cochineal in some cacti growing in a garden here in California, so I’m pretty sure it does not need to be imported.

  • Pioggia

    At that price, it’s no wonder you don’t want to be wasteful. By the way, I recently found cochineal in some cacti growing in a garden here in California, so I’m pretty sure it does not need to be imported.

  • http://www.steele-meagherartist.com/ArtBlog/ Jane

    What a beautiful dyeing project. I am inspired!

  • http://www.steele-meagherartist.com/ArtBlog/ Jane

    What a beautiful dyeing project. I am inspired!

  • http://lollygirl.com/blog Lolly

    I was planning a similar post about red/pink dyes for a certain little Project I am doing… if you don’t mind, I can point readers over here to check out your work ;)

  • http://lollygirl.com/blog Lolly

    I was planning a similar post about red/pink dyes for a certain little Project I am doing… if you don’t mind, I can point readers over here to check out your work ;)

  • http://damselflys.blogspot.com/ Louisa

    Wild cochineal does have colour but it’s not nearly as strong as the “tame” variety. And the wild bugs are considerably smaller so you need a whole lot more of them. I’m glad to pay somebody to grow and harvest those little buggies for me! Also I think that the cream of tartar makes the colour more red. I’ve gotten quite a nice purple on wool with an after-dip of ammonia (alkaline, rinse well!) and interestingly cellulose fibres tend to dye more purple than protein ones in the same dyebath. Natural dyes are so exciting!

  • http://damselflys.blogspot.com/ Louisa

    Wild cochineal does have colour but it’s not nearly as strong as the “tame” variety. And the wild bugs are considerably smaller so you need a whole lot more of them. I’m glad to pay somebody to grow and harvest those little buggies for me! Also I think that the cream of tartar makes the colour more red. I’ve gotten quite a nice purple on wool with an after-dip of ammonia (alkaline, rinse well!) and interestingly cellulose fibres tend to dye more purple than protein ones in the same dyebath. Natural dyes are so exciting!

  • Ellen

    I’ve never been able to exhaust a cochineal bath. I just gave up & dumped it after I ran out of stuff to dye. Let us know how many pounds you finally dye with it. The natural dyes in general seem harder to exhaust than the commercial ones, in my limited experience.

  • Ellen

    I’ve never been able to exhaust a cochineal bath. I just gave up & dumped it after I ran out of stuff to dye. Let us know how many pounds you finally dye with it. The natural dyes in general seem harder to exhaust than the commercial ones, in my limited experience.

  • http://purlingsprite.com isela

    The colors are amazing!

  • http://purlingsprite.com isela

    The colors are amazing!

  • http://alianneknits.blogspot.com/ Alison

    Gorgeous color on the fleece!! Absolutely wonderful color.

  • http://alianneknits.blogspot.com/ Alison

    Gorgeous color on the fleece!! Absolutely wonderful color.

  • Meg

    Gorgeous stuff – I can just imagine the lustre of that wool, all spun up. Yow. The overdye really gave the colors that subtle “expensive” look. Fantastic!

  • Meg

    Oh, I forgot – is your little processor now a dye-specific instrument? Does using something for food after having used it for grinding bugs bother you? :o) Think your father in law will be suspicious of any food-processor minced food at your house?

  • Meg

    Gorgeous stuff – I can just imagine the lustre of that wool, all spun up. Yow. The overdye really gave the colors that subtle “expensive” look. Fantastic!

  • Meg

    Oh, I forgot – is your little processor now a dye-specific instrument? Does using something for food after having used it for grinding bugs bother you? :o) Think your father in law will be suspicious of any food-processor minced food at your house?

  • Keli

    Hi,
    I took a spinning class last fall and can spin ply’s but have not really had the opportunity to learn how to ply…how did you learn Navao plying? Also, I compliment you on how you just jumped into all this..Im more timid I guess.
    Loved you report on Seattle as I am Canadian (used to live in Courtenay BC) and have lived here 6 years (husbands a Software Engineer) Going to Weaving works today.
    Take care and have a Blessed Day.
    PS> Any advice as to how to get going?

  • Keli

    Hi,
    I took a spinning class last fall and can spin ply’s but have not really had the opportunity to learn how to ply…how did you learn Navao plying? Also, I compliment you on how you just jumped into all this..Im more timid I guess.
    Loved you report on Seattle as I am Canadian (used to live in Courtenay BC) and have lived here 6 years (husbands a Software Engineer) Going to Weaving works today.
    Take care and have a Blessed Day.
    PS> Any advice as to how to get going?

  • http://valleygrrl.typepad.com Juls

    Wow! I love the new golden-bronze shade that the lime area took on. What a totally serendipitous bit of dyeing. I have never had much interest in dyeing yarn, but your site is so enjoyable and very inspiring. Thanks!

  • http://valleygrrl.typepad.com Juls

    Wow! I love the new golden-bronze shade that the lime area took on. What a totally serendipitous bit of dyeing. I have never had much interest in dyeing yarn, but your site is so enjoyable and very inspiring. Thanks!

  • Sasha

    Someone gave me a fleece that I want to dye with cochineal. Can you offer any pointers? Any info sources you can recommend? How much mordant and cream of tartar did you use? Did you designate your grinder/pots and jars as dye-only? I read that you can use the bugs without grinding them, any thoughts or info on this? I love the color!

  • Sasha

    Someone gave me a fleece that I want to dye with cochineal. Can you offer any pointers? Any info sources you can recommend? How much mordant and cream of tartar did you use? Did you designate your grinder/pots and jars as dye-only? I read that you can use the bugs without grinding them, any thoughts or info on this? I love the color!