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…

2 Responses so far

  1. 1

    gramily said,

    October 16, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

    Gosh, Lisa, You’re so ambitious and determined. I hope these yarns turn out the way you envision. Whew! oh, and Pew! too.

  2. 2

    Molly Bee said,

    October 16, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

    OMG! What beautiful earthy colors. I love them! Why is there an inking in my brain that you can dye with beechnuts or their shells or something. Did I read that somewhere?

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