Tuesday, October 11, 2011

dyeing with dog's nose fungus - Peridoxylon petersii

I found this unusual fungus back in August while out in the woods.  I had never seen one before but it looked remarkably similar to Charlie's nose, hence the term "dog nose fungus".  Funny enough when I googled that very term, I quickly identified this fungus as the Peridoxylon petersii.  It seemed I wasn't the only one who thought they bore a resemblance...

  There were several growing on a highly decayed oak log so I pried a few off and took them home to identify them and see if I could dye with them.

Charlie saw it in my hand and gave me a "say what?" look.  I had to reassure him that it was just a fungus and not an actual dog nose.  That would just be wrong.

It had a very woody feel to it and while the top was a shiny black, the sides had a hint of very dark green in them.  I was eager to see if I could coax any color from it but since I didn't have time to dye with it right away I popped it in the freezer inside a resealable bag.

I recently pulled it out and made dye with it by chopping it into bits and simmering it in water.  It quickly began turning the water into a brownish color so I was hopeful.  I mordanted two strands of wool yarn, one in alum and one in ammonia, and left a third without mordant.  I was surprised to see that the yarns picked up a green color from the dye, since the dye itself looked brown, and that the unmordanted yarn held the color the best.

I put my unmordanted merino wool in the dye bath and simmered it for about an hour.  It came out an olive green, more green than what this image is showing, and I couldn't have been more excited.  I did a second batch in the same dye and only came up with a tiny bit of color.  I did notice with this that the color really developed with heat.  The yarn that touched the bottom of the pot was more green than the middle, and the same was true with the roving.

I have another mushroom in the deep-freeze that I'm eager to try out, and I'm crossing my fingers it's as exciting as this one was for me.

Have you had any happy experiments lately?



Amber Siepel said...

That's so funny that you googled dog nose fungus and found what you were looking for right away. A couple years ago I kept finding weird piles of stuff on my mulch that looked like vomit. I figured it had to be some sort of mold or fungus or something and I googled "dog vomit mold" and immediately found "dog vomit slime mold," which is apparently not really mold but plasmodium or some such thing?! Anyway, I love how these things are named! I haven't had the slime mold on my mulch since then, but lots of different mushrooms, mostly of the white variety.

Anonymous said...

I had never seen a fungus like that !
so glad it did dye something really nice & interesting
we dyed last weekend with (common) alder cones & it was really nice
oxox hugs to all

Terriea Kwong said...

I also haven't seen a fungus like it. A dog's nose?! Also looks like a pig's nose. hehe. Your experiments with fungus are wonderful, some got green, some got yellow. I just done eucalyptus leaves. Amazing ! Just posted.

Terrie from Hong Kong

k said...

that is such a weird fungus - but i'm glad you got great results with it. i have been soaking so red-belted polypores in hopes of getting colour from them; i should try some fabrics soon.

Tara said...

I love the results but I have to admit, the fungus itself freaks me out just a bit. I understand Charlie's reaction.

Shroomworks said...

How fascinating! And it appears to be a rare fungus in your part of the world. Interesting that your mordanted wool didn't pick up much colour at all.

Love your blog - your photos and musings are inspiring.

Margie Oomen said...

my dog nosed fungus ( or was it monkey nosed:)
dyed wool the best with a little bit of soda ash. It turned a lovely caramel shaded brown.

Unknown said...

it must be so exciting for you not knowing what you will get with a new found 'treasure;.. kinda like Christmas!

Anonymous said...

That's the most disturbing looking fungus! Fascinating. = )


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