I found a great location for Cortinarius semisanguineus this year, which is a good thing, because my usual closer-to-home patches are showing very few of those special little mushrooms, and I might have been dyeing a tiny sample instead of the great quantities of wool and yarn I’ve been putting through the dyepots.
I didn’t have time to sort the mushrooms out by the colour of their gills – red, gold, or yellow – so I put them all together until my dyepots were free. By that time they’d turned into a smelly, runny mass of pigment, but it was still pigment, and that was all that mattered.
I started with a four-litre bucket of mushrooms when they were fresh, so I put the reddish goo into my dyepot, then strained out the pieces after it had simmered for an hour or so. Then for each exhaust, I put in a piece of merino roving and a 50-yd skein of merino – and look at the results!
The red pigments were obviously picked up first, leaving some brilliant oranges for the last three exhausts.
I have one more harvest of dermocybes to process, but I’m holding out until I’m sure I’ve found all I’m going to find!