Friday, September 09, 2011

dyeing with Phaeolus Schweinitzii


"Mom!  I found a mushroom!  Come and look!"  My little ones are often calling me from across the yard to check out their finds.  It isn't often that my oldest, the teeeeenager, does so when he beckoned me the other day, I was curious as to what he found.



He showed me a large yellow and brown mushroom at the base of a pine tree.  I stood there thinking "I know this mushroom, I know this mushroom..."  I hadn't ever seen one in person before but a quick look online confirmed that the boy had found a Phaeolus Schweinitzii, or the Dyer's Polypore. 

I quickly finished my chores so I could chop this mushroom up and put it in the dye pot.  I simmered the chunks in water for about an hour while I mordanted some wool with alum.  When the dye seemed ready to go I let my wool, some silk, and a length of cotton floss steep in the hot dye.  After it had cooled I pulled from the dye pot an amazing mustard yellow that I love.


I did a second batch and got wonderful results once again.  I ran out of dyeing time so I froze the rest of the mushroom chunks to try again later.


I read that it's possible that the Dyer's Polypore may fruit again in the same spot so I'll be watching that pine again next year.  The presence of the mushroom is also bad news for the tree so it's likely that it will soon be firewood.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

20 comments:

Jodi said...

Fantastic! Love the color!

Cozy Memories said...

oh dear oh dear ... you find the best mushrooms for dyeing, I swear !!! Sorry for the tree though, poor one.
I wish I had a freezer, I would have frozen materials for dyeing more than once. Mostly flowers, but anything that would perish. (like most everything)
that wool is amazing, but the other fibers did take it well too !
I wish you a wonderful weekend ahead !
take care oxoxo

lynn bowes said...

You should have named one of your kidlets Phaeolus Schweinitzii :: xoxox

Sally said...

Oh, that is a beautiful color!!!!!!!!!!

Cynthia Nicole said...

Lisa-I wondered if you could share where you get the dye ready cotton floss? I haven't seen it anywhere.

Your mushroom dying is amazing and really inspiring! thanks!

Kanelstrand said...

Oh, you are almost like an alchemist, really. Would you achieve the same color next time with the frozen chunks? I am in awe these days with the magic in our forest - this autumn it is full with so many mushrooms that I can hardly walk if I have a camera with me. I don't know mushrooms and wouldn't experiment picking them but taking pictures is just as sweet!

Lisa said...

So ahh Lisa can I assume that all this wool dying is going towards say a shop full of some very colourful brooches?! I am just trying to gently remind you that it is in these upcoming months that we are all trying to find that perfect gift!

Lutin said...

tu as réussi à faire de la teinte de champignon! en plus la couleurs est superbe, bises

Scrapiana said...

So, while you're dyeing with Phaeolos Scheweinitzii, your pine is dying with Phaeolos Schweinitzii! Every cloud has a silver lining alright. What a beautiful shade of mustard!

You mentioned mordanting the wool. Did you have to do anything to the silk or cotton before dyeing it? I should read a book, I know...

k said...

awesome results - love that yellow. i have seen dyer's polypore around here and i plan to try dyeing with it this year. although in my book it says you can get a vibrant purple, so maybe it is a slightly different specimen. will let you know either way when i try! (that is, once we get some rain around here)

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Thanks Jodi.

Sonia - I've also read about drying some of the mushrooms, have you done any drying? I have some tansy that I dried and I'm wondering how it will differ from the dye made from the fresh tansy.

Lynn - the next one, I promise. (which I can say since there won't be another one)

Sally - thanks! I was really excited to see it.

Cynthia Nicole - I'm using just your average ecru DMC floss on these. It picks up some color wonderfully and others not so much.

Kanelstrand - I'm not sure how the frozen chunks will turn out, but that's part of the fun.

Lisa - that's my hope. :D (and you are too sweet)

Lutin - thank you!

Eirlys - I didn't mordant the cotton or silk on this batch but I did simmer them for a while to take any soaps or oils out of them. And "silver lining" is just right. I couldn't figure out how to word that, you hit it.

k - I wonder if there's a different mordant that makes a purple? How cool! I can't wait to see your experiments. I'll cross my fingers for some rain for you.

JoAnn said...

I don't know why I never tried dyeing with mushrooms--you make it look so easy. Though I kindo of recall talking to someone at the Weaver's Guild when I lived in Minnesota about it and she mentioned some pretty toxic chemicals were involved and that scared me off. What's a good reference to start with? JoAnn (I'm the one with the mushrooms socks: )

thewillowsnest said...

gee whiz.. the fact that you would know this mushrooms name just blows my mind.. but what you can do with it .. wow! I LOVE the gorgeous mustard!..perfect shade what will you make with the textiles??

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

JoAnn - it is easy! So far, at least. As far as chemicals go, I used a sprinkle of washing soda with the lobster mushrooms to get the pinks, and I mordanted my wool with a little food-grade alum to get the yellow with the Phaeolus, but I suspect I would have gotten color to stick without it. You might be able to get more dramatic results with more chemicals, but I'm just fine with what I'm getting. I personally don't want to use anything stronger than that.

Helen - I'd love to do a mushroom scene, needle-felted, out of the different mushroom-dyed wool. :D

JoAnn said...

Is there a book on mushroom dyeing you would recommend or somethimg online? If it would every rain and some mushrooms would pop up. I just might try this.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

JoAnn - I haven't read any of the dyeing books, but I have seen a few on Amazon. I just recently found Shroomworks' blog and think it's wonderful, maybe try there. http://shroomworks.wordpress.com/ I hope you'll let me know if you try it. I'd love to hear how it goes.

Margie Oomen said...

out collected mushrooms for dyeing and spore printing today:)

Chelsea said...

i'm back, to say like i always say, WOW. this is one of my favorite colors. and the pink you did recently, the deep fuscia. wow.

Troy Murdock said...

Hi,
I just harvest several large Dyer's Polypores. I've never done any dyeing before, so I am full of questions. My first question is about the mushroom itself. Should I attempt to dry the polypore, or should I do my dyeing while it still fresh?
TIA,
Troy

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Troy - I used mine fresh but I've read that you can dry them. The Shroomworks blog may have more info for you on that. Have fun! http://shroomworks.wordpress.com/category/mushroom-dyeing/dyers-polypore/page/2/

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