Tag Archives: dyeing fibre

The official start of dye season!

Phaeolus nurse tree

After a few days of good rain last week, I expected to find something interesting in the forest today. And indeed I did!

I went to check out my “nurse tree” for Dyer’s Polypore. From the number of old specimens still clinging to it (see the brown “bumps” running up the trunk, all well above my reach), it’s clear this old snag must be riddled with the mycelium of Phaeolus schweinitzii.

From a distance I saw a cluster that seemed to glow in the afternoon sun, and as I drew nearer, my hopes were confirmed—look at this beautiful cluster of young fungi! This year I’m trying something new: when I find young ones like this, I’m going to trim the yellow edges to see if I might get fresh new growth that I can harvest again later. The third image shows what’s left on the tree, while the last image shows what I brought home—and what’s now simmering in my first dyepot of the year.

First flush of the season
After edges trimmed
Phaeolus trimmings
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Hydnellum caeruleun

Blue-gray Hydnellum

This image is a bit fuzzy, but it does show the Hydnellum “teeth” clearly. This is the first H. caeruleum I’ve ever found—the distinctive blue-gray border gave it away. It was a real surprise, given how dry it’s been lately, but these were growing in a shady spot near a stream.

These were in the same area as a good number of H. aurantiacum, so I’ll be able to do some comparison dyepots later in the season. For now, I’m mordanting as much fibre as I can, to get ready for the great mushroom pop-out that’s sure to happen soon. (Rain is predicted for later this week, so I have high hopes.)

Tapinella atrotomentosa (Velvet pax)

Velvet pax

Now I know it’s going to be a great mushroom season—I joined a friend this afternoon for a hike to Ambrose Lake, and right beside the trail we found a stump just overloaded with Velvet pax. (Note the fuzzy brown stems befitting its name. This mushroom is very easy to identify—it grows on old, mossy fir stumps or on the sides of mossy logs.) Unfortunately, my camera announced that its battery was gone, so I had to wait until I got home to take this picture.

The dried mushrooms on the right are from an earlier hike in our own back forest; the fresh ones on the left are from today’s hike. I counted twelve specimens, all from the same tree!

I’ll dry all the Velvet pax I find until the season is finished. This should be a marvellous dyepot!