I realize now just how blessed I’ve been in recent years to have such an abundant supply of Dyer’s Polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii) in my backyard forest. This year, for a number of reasons, I was unable to process much of this wonderful fungus when it was fresh; I had to leave most of it to dry, and I’m now working my way through it.
My first discovery has been that the colour isn’t as bright with the dried mushrooms as when they’re fresh, although this dyepot would contradict that finding. This is one of the more brilliant golds I’ve ever had, and I know there was one smaller Phaeolus in the pot that had been picked fresh. It was still coming out of its button stage, and the inner flesh, when I cut it into chunks, showed some promising colour. However—and this is where I’ve been blessed, or some would say spoiled—one dyepot was all I got. The silk scarf on the right also went into this bath, scrunched down and tied around a wine bottle, and the colour barely registered.
Also, I’m having to use more mushrooms per dyepot, four or five dried mushrooms versus one or two fresh. I tried boiling up this dyepot again, with just the mushrooms and no fibre in the pot, to see if I could squeeze out a bit more gold, but to no avail—my samples came out a tired tan.
But never mind—while moving buckets and things up to my studio, I came across this batt of Corriedale, which did go through a fresh Phaeolus dyepot last fall and came out a beautiful, deep green. It had been mordanted with iron, and after several rinsings to remove any traces of the mordant, I left it in a bucket of water and promptly forgot about it. What a bonus find! I think this will card up nicely with some of the less striking golds and browns, and I should have a nice tweedy yarn in the end.