Venetian Scarlet I (Plictho 46)


1 lb wool fabric
2.8 oz alum (1.3 oz for mordant; .5 oz x 3 for three afterbaths)
4.1 oz of tartar (2.6 oz for mordant, .5 x 3 for afterbaths
5 oz cochineal (should have been six, but didn't have enough)
1 gallon fermented bran water

Boil 4 gal water, add alum & tartar, add wetted wool. Boil 1 hour. (note: I screwed up the mordant amounts, accidentally put in all 2.8 oz alum & 4.1 oz tartar into the main mordant vat. Grr.)


Add ground and sifted cochineal to 4 gal water + 1 quart bran water. Bring to simmer, add wetted wool.

Boil 1 hr, stirring constantly. Rinse.

Combine 1 qt bran water, .5 oz alum, .5 oz tartar in 4 gal water. Bring to boil. Add wool. Boil 15 minutes, stirring constantly. Rinse.

Repeat above step.

Repeat above step.

This was redacted from Plictho 46:

The original Italian said "for each pound (lire) of cloth" rather than "for each piece of cloth", which makes more sense, as 6 oz of grain is hardly enough to dye 23 yards of wool broadcloth scarlet. My assumption for cloth: similar to broadcloth wool, 28-30 yards long & 80 lbs in weight (as required Anno 6 of Elizabeth Ith.s reign, per statute law). This works out to 2 2/3 lbs yd. This seemed a bit heavy to me, so I tweaked the proportions a bit.

This dye produced a deep, intense red. I suspect on the alum mordant made it a bit more crimson than scarlet. The unmordanted fabric was much duller. The dyebath was purple at first, orange-ish after an hour's boil. The residue in the first rinse was purplish; the color lost in the afterbaths was a brilliant red. The afterbaths produced a subtle but noticeable brightening of color, especially on the exhaust bath pieces. By the end of the third bath, no more dye was lost even when boiling. BEAUTIFUL! Plus, exhaust dyebath was enough for a good deal of pink.

1. Mordant, main dyebath, 3 afterbaths
2. Mordant, main dye bath, no afterbath
3. No mordant, main dye bath, 3 afterbaths
4. No mordant, main dye bath, no afterbaths.
5. Unmordanted wool dipped in exhaust bath, 3 afterbaths.
6. Unmordanted wool dipped in exhaust bath, no afterbaths.

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