The mushroom that keeps on giving

Phaeolus just right for dyeing
Phaeolus just right for dyeing
Yellow underside of the Phaeolus
Yellow underside of the Phaeolus

I had a fantastic foray a few days ago and came home with a good ten pounds of Phaeolus – even my dog alerted me to a prime specimen (although he hasn’t repeated that trick since).

Here are two views of one that was still yellow and fuzzy on the underside and around the margins, a good sign that it will give some bright colour. I’m saving it and the other young ones I found for the dyeing workshop I’m holding this Friday the 16th (as part of the First Annual Sunshine Coast Mushroom Fest this weekend). I hope a few days of sitting outside won’t have dimmed their potential for lustre!

From the Phaeolus dyepot
From the Phaeolus dyepot

Here are some of the skeins that came out of recent Phaeolus dyepots. I’ve prepared 30-yard skeins (here the gold ones were mordanted in alum, the brown in copper and the greenish ones in iron) so I can get some good colours without exhausting the dyebath in the first go. Now that it’s cold enough to have the wood stove going, I put a new skein in the dyepot in the morning, leave it all day and overnight, then it’s cooled off in the morning. I can go for four or five days with a Phaeolus dyepot before the gold starts to look washed out, at which time the spent dyebath goes on the compost and the mushroom bits go into a bin for future paper-making.

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