Monday, November 22, 2010

Dyer's Polypore

Well it turns out that the mushrooms in my yard (from the post below) aren't good for much, not for eating and not for dyeing according to my local mycologist (mushroom expert). However, on a recent mushroom walk around the UC Berkeley campus, which I took with my organic gardening classmates, I did find something useful. It was a day or two after some fresh rains so the coolest mushrooms I've ever seen were very lively. During our walk the fabulous mushroom experts hand me this, because I mentioned I have dyed with mushrooms:

It was clinging to an old eucalyptus stump.

And this mushroom (common name: Dyer's polypore) made an awesome gold dyebath:

Which turned this white scarf and white roving into this:

The colors are actually a bit brighter, with the scarf on the right being a little more yellow.

It's pretty common for one thing you're dyeing to hog all of the dye in the dyebath and that's just what happened here. These were both in the dyebath at the same time. I never really know which one will take all of the color.

Like I said, I have dyed with mushrooms before, but it was in a class.
Here is some yarn I dyed:

It should actually be a bit more of a vibrant salmon color. (I just can't seem to get the pictures right on this overcast day).

This yarn took most of the color from the dyepot, which my classmates and I were not expecting.

Maybe it was because of the nylon content in this sock yarn (75% wool, 25% nylon). I think for some reason it takes up a lot of dye, quicker.

I also dyed this silk scarf:

It was white (as were all of these items I dyed), then I put it in a mushroom dyebath. When I took it home it was more of an olive green, but after ironing it, the heat changed it to this sage color.

It's one of my favorite scarves.

Hoping for more good rains and fresh mushrooms to spring forth!

Mushrooms are such fascinating forms of life. If you ever get a chance to read up one them, you will not regret it. They are increasingly becoming an interest of mine. A friend recently gave me bags which I have been keeping moist and when the time is right Oyster mushrooms will come through the holes I've made in the bags. Yum! I'll let you know when this happens!


Jackie said...

Hey Shelby - very nice blog! I didn't know you had one so thanks for introducing me to it. I love the color that scarf turned out to have. You will become our resident natural dyeing guru!

Happy Thanksgiving!


shelby-knitz said...

Thanks Jackie! I enjoy yours a lot too!