Thursday, September 01, 2011

natural dyeing with lobster mushrooms part II

Lobster mushrooms are a delicious, useful, and fascinating thing.  On a good day of hunting in mid-August I can usually find enough of them in our woods to make a delicious dinner and the whole house smiles when they see me trudging out of the woods with a heavy basket.

The lobster mushroom is kind of different in that it's actually the product of a mold attacking another mushroom, morphing it into deliciousness.  The flesh is firm, not mushy like some mushrooms, and it gives off a beautiful golden color and slight seafood smell when cooked.  We like ours sauteed in butter and garlic and tossed with pasta.

As lobster mushrooms age their flesh turns to a cranberry red.  Last year I used some of these past-prime mushrooms to dye fiber and achieved a peach color on wool with an ammonia mordant.  This year I wanted to try dyeing on silk without using a mordant, just to see what I would get.

None of the mushrooms I used this time had degraded to the point of being cranberry red and mushy, rather I used some that were just a little old and some of the wormy bits that were cut off of the good mushrooms.  This seemed to make a difference as the resulting dye color after simmering down the mushrooms in water yielded this orange color instead of red.

I scoured my silk, stuffed it in the jar with the dye, and let it percolate in the heat for about a week in my small greenhouse.  The silk took up some color right away and it only deepened slightly over the course of the week.

At the end of the week I removed the silk and gave it a rinse. 

The resulting color is an orangey yellow, a little deeper than the photos are showing.

I'm really loving using the silk for dyeing and can't wait to work on a project with some of these pieces.  What I love more is when I can use cast-offs like mushroom bits, onion skins, carrot peels, bean water, etc. for making something beautiful.  It makes me look at my compost pile in a whole new way.

I hope you're making some fun discoveries today too.


Anonymous said...

Natural dyeing is always so surprising, isn't it ?
These mushrooms are pretty colorful, wow !
Can't wait to see what you'll do with your lovely dyed silk !
oxoxo hugs

Anonymous said...

those mushrooms are gorgeous! they remind me of dried up butterfly wings. I have never tried natural dyeing. I think it would be fun.

Anonymous said...

ow such colorfull mmushrooms I have never seen... Here in Teh NEtheralnds we aren´t allow to pick any mushroom at all... :( nice result with dyeing !!

Allisunny S. said...

I love reading about your adventures in dyeing using natural sources:
your blog is a source of joy for me!


kristin said...

thank you for the lobster mushroom lesson...i can see i was WAY FAR off in calling the mushrooms i found, "lobster"

you HAVE got me experimenting like crazy and i'm loving every minute of it. xx

Lisa/knitnzu said...

Hi, I found you from the wonderful tool called google. Anyhow, we've been collecting these for the dyepot. Last year I cut off the colored outside part to dry. Do you know if it makes a difference if you use only the outside part or the whole mushroom? I thought I read someplace about just using the outside part... but I haven't actually dyed with this (yet!).


Related Posts with Thumbnails