I went to visit Scullyknits today. We were walking out to my car, trying to isolate a particularly fragrant plant, when she suddenly stopped short. "Do you know what this is? It's cochineal," pointing to a webby white little knot on a large, smooth cactus. I looked, and saw several clusters of little white knots. They resembled Kleenex that's been through the dryer and colonized onto your favorite black fleece top.
"The one that's spelled like you'd pronounce it as co-chenille?"
"Yes, that's it."
She grabbed a bit of twig, and smashed one of the little linty white knots. "You have to scrape them all together and use a mordant and everything, but I really want to try dyeing something."
The linty spot burst, and released a brilliant, raspberry goo. I can't wait to try THIS!! We both hope more beetles move in.