Tuesday, September 24, 2013

dyeing with mustard yellow polypore - Phellinus gilvus

The little polypore I found the other day - the mustard yellow polypore - gave me some color in the dye pot.

After noticing the interior had an ochre color, I tore some up into pieces and put them in a mason jar filled with water and a splash of ammonia.  After letting it sit for a day I put the mix in my dye pot and let it simmer for about an hour, adding a little more water in the process, then turned off the heat and let it set overnight.

The next day I strained out the mushrooms and put them back in the dye jar, where they are still making color, and added my fiber to the dye liquid.  I heated the dye pot up to just under a simmer and let it heat for about an hour, then turned it off and let it, too, sit overnight.
I let the fiber dry in the sun before rinsing it.  I feel that the color gets a chance to "stain" into the fiber more, and I also get a sense as to how lightfast the color will be.

From left to right above - unmordanted wool, wool mordanted with alum, and undyed wool for comparison.  Beneath the wool is unmordanted silk and cotton, and unmordanted cotton floss next to undyed cotton floss for comparison.

The mordanted wool took up a really lovely golden color while the unmordanted wool is a very pale wheat color.  The silk and cotton floss also picked up a lovely golden color while the cotton cloth picked up only a small amount of color.

All in all, a lovely experiment, and one I'm glad I did.  When I went to check on these mushrooms yesterday they were all dried up and almost unrecognizable.  I may try dyeing with the dried ones too, just to see.


~mel said...

Your plant dyes, your mushrooming, the wool .... I love your blog ... I admire your talents ... thank you so much for sharing:) Have a wonderful fall day!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! It never ceases to amaze me what nature will provide.

Unknown said...

So pretty! I want to dye something!

Unknown said...

We're doing a natural dye science project for our school group's science fair and I'm wondering if you have any newbie advice. I bought a natural dye kit off Amazon just to give us a frame work but I'd like to go wildcraft some dye plants, too. Suggestions for easy, autumn plant selections? Do you teach this stuff to your kiddos? I think you should write a book about all your dye experiments!

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Tessa, oak leaves and acorns are often abundant and they give a nice tan. If you mix up an iron mordant - let a steel wool pad sit in a jar with 2 cups of vinegar overnight - and dip the acorn/leaf-dyed fabric in it or spray it on, the tan will turn grey. I'm not sure what plants might be in season by you, but part of the fun is in the exploration. Fall plants by me that give color are purple asters, black eye susans, wormwood - all of them give shades of yellow. You could also use kitchen scraps like onion skins, avocado skins and pits, carrot tops, etc.

My kids do like learning about dyeing. They like the messiest dyes, like clay, the best. Of course. :)

Have fun!


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