Run, Red, Run
You make it so simple that one
wonders why this analysis has not been done before!
You have identified
several critical steps in assuring the successful production of bright
Salor red including the cochineal dye, proper uncontaminated mordant,
tin-lined dye-pots and access to soft water for rinsing. The soft water
effect may have been a coincidence of serendipitous location near the one
flowing source, or the availability of rainwater.
One of your
footnotes clearly explains a condition which has confounded many
"at the end of the dyeing process, wool should ideally be rinsed
thoroughly with lots of cold water to bring it back from pH 3-4 to a
rather neutral pH and a stable shade. Failing to do so would impair the
long-term stability of the wool fiber, and would also leave quite some
unfixed dye on the wool surface. This unfixed dye not only has a somewhat
different shade than the real thing, it could also cause the color to run
I have long thought it would often be difficult in a land of
very little water to find enough for thorough rinsing to eliminate future
bleeding. I just did not know the chemistry behind it.