Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Dyed lace bobbins

I haven’t seen many dyed lace bobbins, whether this is because the dye has faded or because not many were dyed in the first place I don’t know. The Springett’s who have done most of the research on lace bobbins suggest that many of the dyes used in the nineteenth century faded in sunlight, which is why the necks are often a brighter colour than the shanks of the bobbin. Although the red bobbin on the right looks so bright you might think it has been dyed using a chemical dye it was probably coloured using cochineal, a dye derived from crushed Mexican insects and used in Mesoamerica since the second century BCE. The paler red bobbin was probably also dyed with cochineal. A chemical dye was probably used for the green bobbin, in this case copper arsenate. The bobbin on the left may have been coloured with a dye made from the chippings of the Central American logwood tree boiled in water. The bands might have been made by turning the dyed bobbin on the lathe to remove the colour in defined areas, but this bobbin also has two small holes, one at the top and the other at the bottom of the shank suggesting it may have had some bands of fine wire wrapped round it originally forming the bands. The Springett’s also report having seen yellow and mauve bobbins but in my experience the red and green ones are the most common.

No comments: