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!
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.