I’ve found more Arraiolos links: Santo Antonio has a nice selection of images of Arraiolos rugs and also stitch diagrams (em português). Serranofil still has kits and magazines, but I like the looks of the Casa dos Tapetes de Arraiolos kits better despite the inscrutable order form.
I’ve been thinking about aniline dyes while cross-stitching my Arraiolos-on-cotton experiment. Dyes, like so many things, are much more complicated than they seem. It used to be that you mashed up the right plants and you got a certain range of colors. Then came progress, in the form of aniline dyes.Aniline dyes have a bad reputation from the nineteenth century, when they were made from coal tar and gave garish, runny colors that faded easily. I suppose people used them then because they were new and cheaper (like Windows) than colorfast dyes. Aniline dyes have allegedly improved over time, but it’s still a scare word in the handmade rug world, where other “chemical” dyes are used - mainly “chrome” dyes using potassium bichromate, from the acidic dye category. (See the rugtime dictionary for more terms and definitions.)
To see how far we’ve come, walk into a craft shop and look at the DMC embroidery cotton colors. We can make any color we want - or rather, DMC can. I have no idea how they do it, though, so if I were trapped on a desert island I’d have to go back to pounding veggies - or worse, using aniline dyes.
It disturbs me how ill-equpped I am for life on a desert island.
By the way, the Repository has been updated with a bunch of names from TV Tome.