This weekend, after dyeing wool with a different mushroom (more to come...) I sat down at the computer to find more information about what I had just worked with and came across an incredible blog that has changed the way I look at mushroom dyeing. Shroomworks' blog is amazing and I read it front to back all in one sitting.
She mentioned in one of her posts about lobster mushrooms that she used washing soda in the dye bath. She was getting lovely colors, much deeper than the pale peach and yellows I've gotten, and I was inspired to try again. Our lobsters are now past-prime for eating (eating mushrooms trumps dyeing with them, for me) so I gathered up the mushy and bug-eaten for the dye pot.
I started by cutting just the orange outer skin from the mushrooms, another of her tips, and put them in my dye pot with some water. I let the pot simmer while I mushed up the mushroom chunks with my pastry cutter. When things started looking soupy, I added a few sprinkles of washing soda and kapow! Color!
I was so excited at the colors I got that I did several exhausts, resulting in various shades of pink and fuschia. I dyed large pieces of silk and fine merino with the hopes of making a nuno scarf, because how cool would that be?! I also dyed a small amount of cotton floss and a piece of vintage doily. I love them all.