Because the bug IS the feature…

Originally published at WormSpit. You can comment here or there.

Every once in a while, I get this neat synchronicity on my journal reading list.  This time, one of my LiveJournal textiles buddies, Not Just a Girl wrote a post about dyeing with cochineal, and just a page down from it, I found Bug Girl’s extensive post on Cochineal, covering a lot of the uses in food, makeup, and other applications.  For anybody who’s ever been curious about what cochineal looks like on-the-hoof, check it out!

More about cochineal culture, and use in textiles, at

0 replies
  1. webwawa
    webwawa says:

    yess that stuff is magic! i used to play with it as a kid when visiting the southwest.

    we would take yucca, strip it – making rope out of it, then soak it in the purple juice. i’ve seen people use it on yarn for weaving rugs. i even put the purple on my lips lol, but hopefully it wasn’t poisonous, so don’t take my word for it. ;P

  2. labrys6
    labrys6 says:

    Holy cats! This stuff has been growing on one of my cacti plants for ages….and I had no idea what it was! I’ve been fighting it for ages with soap-rinses!

  3. tilia_tomentosa
    tilia_tomentosa says:

    We have something like this as a pest here, it loves cacti and some other non-native decorative plants, so I’m wondering if it’s the same insect. I think I’ve studied it under some other Latin name… which doesn’t mean that it’s not the same. But I have an exam tomorrow, no time to switch to entomology. I’ll check it up after the exam.

  4. admin
    admin says:

    I know that the old-world “Kermes” is a similar but different species… I don’t know if that’s what you’re looking at, or if you’ve got imported new-world Cochineal.

  5. txtriffidranch
    txtriffidranch says:

    And you do know how easy it is to gather the insects out in West Texas, right? An hour past Fort Worth, and you can collect enough to outfit an entire battalion of George III-era British soldiers.

  6. admin
    admin says:

    I haven’t tried it, but have heard they’re easy to find. The real question is, how easy is it to work around all those wicked tiny little thorns (or whatever it is you call them, the little microscopic buggers)

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