more mushroom dyeing madness

Dyeing with mushrooms has consumed my past couple of weekends. Here’s what I have so far…
more dyeing 2

greens and khakis

The coolest is this, these greens from Polyozellus multiplex,

The books generally recommend a 1:1 ratio of dry mushroom to wool, and since I had just half an ounce of the Polyozellus, I used half an ounce of wool. No mordant. Yowza the color! The yarn tyeing the skein is mordanted, and it is even darker. So I kept using the dyebath (still with the mushrooms), and even increasing the amount of wool, until the fifth time through, when I had 1.5 ounces of wool… First time is on the right, 5th on the left. The dyebath was pretty exhausted by then, eh?
polyozellus no. 5 polyozella 2011 Sept 29 UMA 134

Fungi photo from DH, who says this species isn’t common and appears rarely. Hopefully we’ll find it again!

Here’s another where I used the dyebath a second time, Paxillus atrotomentosus. The color from the first bath is more true in the photo on the right. It’s a vaguely purpley gray. Second time? Khaki green.
pax atrotomentosus 1 and 2 pax atrotomentosus no. 1

Here’s some more khaki greens/greenish tans/mushroom colors!
khaki greens

The yarn was pre-mordanted with alum unless noted, and 1:1 ratio of dry mushroom to wool. Most of the fungi pics are from DH.

  • The two Paxillus atrotomentus on the left
    Paxillus atrotemtosus 8
  • Cortinarius whiteii aka C. limonius (iron in the dyebath at the end)… it’s very pale, and there isn’t much of it
    cort whiteii Aziscohos Mtn (22)
  • Paxillus involutus
    Paxillus involutus (1)
  • Hydnellum of some species that DH and I are trying to settle on (alum with the dyebath)
    Hydnellum Jimmy Pond 10-8-10 276
  • Ischnoderma resinosa (4 quarts chopped fresh to 4 ounces wool). This is a better color in real life.
    ischnoderma resinosa

DH thinks it’s Hydnellum aurantiacum, but based on the dye results, I wonder if it’s Hydnellum spongiosipes.


You may know I love the gold from Phaeolus… Here’s more,
phaeolus 1 and 2 (2 is overdye)
The lower skein is pre-mordanted with alum, the yarn above it is overdyed…actually some of it is the same yarn I overdyed with the Cortinarius semisanguineus.

reds and salmons

reds to salmon
Mostly you saw this before

  • The far left (very pale tan) is from Omphalotus, we think O. olearius…
    Omphalotus olearius
  • Next is a bit from Cortinarius armillatus
    Cortinarius armillatus
  • Next is a bit of overdyed yarn, with Cortinarius semisanguineus
  • two skeins of the second time with the C. semisanguineus (unmordanted on the left, mordanted on the right)
  • the far right is the first bath.

next up

I have 4 ounces or so of wool in a dyebath with the lobster mushrooms… So far it’s pretty disappointing. I learned that raising the pH does good things… but not so much.

I also learned that raising the pH for any of the polypores can be a good thing. I hear mixed things about doing so for Phaeolus.

I haven’t had good luck with the iron afterbaths. I remove the wool from the dyebath, dissolve up the appropriate amount of iron, put in the dyebath, mix it all up, put the wool back, and simmer another half hour or more. If anybody has hints or suggestions, I’m all ears.

Anyhow, I have 4 ounces undyed wool left, and I plan to overdye at least half of the skeins from the Omphalotus (it’s too pale) and the second time through with the Cortinarius semisanguineus. This wool is for a sweater for DH… so I’d be happier with a few darker colors tossed in.

I’m thinking Ischnoderma with a higher pH (supposed to get a blackish brown with an iron afterbath). We also have a lot of Chaga (Inonutus obliquus) around. It is supposed to give a light golden brown, and a grayish brown with iron. So I’ll probably do some of that too.

dyeing with the half blood cort!

But first, a photo of my pal Sid and me…
sid (2)

And the house we saw for sale,
house for sale (2)
Must be a fixer upper… the tarp says “Catholic schools make a world of difference”, and yes, there is a concrete filled wheel hub weighing it down… Welcome to Maine!

Someplace I must’ve posted pics of these Cortinarius semisanguineus drying… but I can’t find the post, so here they are
cortsemisang 015 cortsemisang 006

They are known to be good dye mushrooms, and I’d say they are! This is after a few minutes in the pot,
cort begin dyeing in pot

They mushroom:wool ratio for this species is 3:5. I had 6 ounces of dried corts, so dyed 10 ounces of wool… 8 of Bartlett and 2 of some miscellaneous wool. Because it did so well, I thought I might get something out of a second run through the dye bath. Here’s everything, initial batch and second batch, including overdye of a few odd bits of this and that.
cort dyeing 005

Top row, 2 on left are Bartlett, 2 on the right are whatever… Bottom row, far left is mordanted, second in is not, bit on the far right is not overdyed. The two next to it are the same, just overdyed.

It’s hard to capture the color… the second bath produced a melony color. It is more meloney in the alum mordanted skein, and a little more yellowish in the unmordanted skein.

Leftovers… the dye water is pretty clear,
cort dyeing leftovers

Way more details than most people want to know…

I pre-mordanted a bunch of Bartlett. The guidelines for mordanting with alum are really vague… between 1.5-5 tsp per 4 oz. dry wool, with 2 tsp cream of tartar (no matter how much alum). That’s a pretty big range! Since I mordanted 20 oz. of wool, I used 7 Tbs of alum and 3+ Tbs CoT. Too much alum can make the yarn feel “gummy”. Bartlett is by no means luxury wool, and this stuff is lanoliny, so I’m not sure if the hand of the dyed wool is because of the lanolin or because of the alum.

6 ounces dried corts, 10 ounces wool (pre-wetted) through the first dyebath. Simmered about 2 hours, cooled in the pot, rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. I pre-wetted more wool for the second run through, but one skein was mordanted and the other not. The undyed wool was supposed to be all one dyelot (or lack of dyelot as it was the natural cream), but a few of the skeins were greyer, while the rest were creamier. I also put about 10 oz wool through the second dyebath… pre-wetted the wool, put it in the cool dyepot, let it sit for a day until I got home from work and heated it… let it simmer about an hour and cool overnight in the pot.

more experiments

And a lovely walk in the woods. Yesterday we went to the Macdonald Conservation Area, a Kennebec Land Trust property, for a mushroom walk. Yikes there were a lot of people there! Several of us wandered off on our own, and everybody met up about an hour or so later.

I found my new car!
macdonald woods my new car

Loads of beechnuts,
macdonald woods beechnuts

Sweet little eyelash cup fungi,
macdonald woods eyelash cup

And other stuff that I didn’t get photos of. It’s late in the season, and after the recent week of rain, the fungi were really soggy.

Anyhow, Michaeline (the mushroom whiz on the trip) asked if I’d been dyeing. Well, no… but she inspired me to get crackin’! And so, not knowing much, but what the hell, it’s all just a big experiment…
macdonald woods michaeline

I dyed 8 ounces of Bartlett (that I got one year ago at Rhinebeck) with 8 ounces of Jack-o-lantern mushroom. It is known as a good dyer, but I think they are referring to a different species. Frankly, I am really confused. The Bessette’s wonderful book refers to Omphalotus olivescens, but Michael Kuo indicates this is a western species, replaced in the east by O. illudens. We think we have O. olearius.

Anyhow, I’m not hugely satisfied…

I pre-soaked the wool so it would be wet, but I didn’t pre-mordant it… I just added the alum and cream of tartar to they pot (at the same time, I learned this morning the CoT should be added at the end).
Omphalotus dyeing (1)

Here it is after about 2 hours of simmering away and sitting overnight to cool. Wrung out but not rinsed.
Omphalotus dyeing pre rinse

The three horizontal yarns are pieces then soaked in vinegar, ammonia, and simmered 15 minutes or so in an iron afterbath.
Omphalotus dyeing prerinse vin amm iron (1)

And here’s everything rinsed, with an un-dyed skein for comparison. Again, vinegar, ammonia, and iron after bath (top to bottom).
Omphalotus dyeing post rinse vin amm iron (1)

I’m thinking I’ll just let it dry as-is. It might be a decent neutral color with some others… I might experiment with a different species today!

Remember the lichen and urine experiment I started at the beginning of the year? It was using these lichens, a gift from Michaeline!


Let’s just say I’m learning a lot. One is that to use urine for this, the urine should already be fermented. And who wants that smelly mess around? The other is that I don’t think I aerated this enough. It lived for a few weeks under the bathroom sink. I would open it once in a while and stir it around… but then it began to smell. And even with my anosmia/disosmia thing going on, whew, it stank. So it was banished to under the utility sink, until the spring, when it went outside. I opened it a few times then, but would receive complaints from family members that it stinks.

Shhhhh… I opened it again and gave it a big stir.
lichen experiment lichen experiment (1)
(pre and post stir)

Where is that lovely fuchsia??? I think this will live in the cellar for the winter. And I’ll aerate it more in the spring. Maybe then it’ll be a good color…

it’s that time!

Package arrived today…
avocado 002

And what was in it?
avocado 003

Florida avocados! Fresh from my auntie’s trees!
avocado 004

Two are perfectly ripe… nummy lunch for tomorrow!

Squeeze a couple of limes, chop up a chili pepper, garlic clove, 2-3 tsp brown sugar, 1 tsp salt. Serve over soba noodles… nom nom!


Pretty much I’m always a fashion criminal…

The other day I put on a pair of socks. At the very end of the day I noticed this:
pair of socks

I’ve had these two pairs of socks for maybe two years. I thought they were exactly the same. Must be this week was the first time I mis-matched them when I did the laundry…

rockin’ the carnaby!

Or, sort of…
carnaby_on (2) carnaby_on

For some reason I love this belt… maybe I should put some loops on the skirt? The skirt is very comfy, and clearly not too tight… and this was after I ripped back a full panel section and re-lined the waist. I think these buttons are good with it, no? They’re lighter than the skull buttons (and I had enough).