OMG – Blue!

Mushroom blue

When I lifted the lid from my Crockpot the other day and saw these samples, my knees turned to jelly and I almost swooned from the enormity of what was before my eyes: blue yarn! From mushrooms I found myself! Here on the Coast!

Sarcodon fuscoindicus

I’d found a group of these Violet Hedgehogs a few weeks earlier, but picked only the two larger ones, thinking I’d give the little buttons a week or two to grow. But on my return to the hallowed spot, they were nowhere to be seen. Either someone else found them, or I’d returned to the wrong hallowed spot.

Nevertheless, I knew I had Sarcodon fuscoindicus, also known as Hydnum fuscoindicum. (I wondered how I’d ever remember the Latin name until I looked up the components—fusco- means dark, while indic- pertains to indigo. As long as I can come up with fusco, the rest falls into place.)

The yarn samples in this image were the first to go through the dyebath. The blue strand on the left was mordanted in alum; the one on the right had no mordant. The pinkish strand was mordanted in iron; the green one in copper. The silk on the right (mordanted in alum) went in after I took those samples out, and it didn’t pick up as much colour as I’d hoped—but it’s blue, dammit! The remaining dyebath is still a rich, deep purply brown, and a second sample of silk has been sitting in it, on medium, for most of this afternoon.

My next step is to shift the pH a bit higher with the tiniest addition of washing soda, to see if that might bring out more of the elusive blue.

And my next step after that is to put out the word to all my mushroom friends that I’ll be looking for more of these next year. Thankfully they’re not edible.

8 thoughts on “OMG – Blue!”

  1. Congrats on the blue!!! so fabulous, the colour we all search for in the mushroom world. Good eye and I will be looking here on our island, although I haven’t seen these yet…good pics too..

    1. It’s taken me seven years to find these, but maybe it’s a matter of knowing what to look for. A member of our mushroom club gave me one she’d found on a neighbour’s property, but couldn’t find the rest when she went back for them. Sometimes I swear mushrooms appear and disappear at will, just to mess with our heads!

    1. These Sarcodons – Purple Hedgehogs – were growing in the middle of a rudimentary trail in deep shade surrounded by Douglas fir and salal, with the occasional cedar in the mix. Sounds like pretty much every forest on the Sunshine Coast!

  2. Wonderful results! I have heard of this possibility and even was given some Sarcodon (unidentified species) soaking for several years in a jar but only got a pale green.

    1. Love your blog! How long have you been dyeing with mushrooms?

      After the first blue dyepot, the exhaust bath from this Sarcodon (fuscoindicus) gave a medium green, similar to that of the Hydnellum aurantiacum. My test dyebath with the Sarcodon scabrosus gave a blue-green on a small piece of wool, but the tuft of silk that went in next came out virtually colorless — but I didn’t have much of the mushroom to start with.

  3. I have high hopes of finding some blue dye shroomies in my area (SF bay, CA) this winter. So far its been a TON of phaeolus and some Jack o’ Lanterns.

    Your blog is fantastic and I enjoy keeping up on your adventures in dyes and mushrooms. :]

    1. Thanks for your kind comments. I guess you’re in the middle of mushroom season now. I’ve never found any jack-o-lanterns up this way – do you get purple from them?

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