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!
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.