Mushroom season won’t be long now—I’ve found a few early Tapinella already, although most will appear later—so I’ve been playing on my spinning wheel with some of the colours I got last year. This batt contained Phaeolus gold and green, Pycnoporellus peach, and a bit of Sarcodon blue.
With quite a lot of the blue already in my stash, I decided to ply the single, spun from the batt, with a blue single, resulting in this pleasant combination:
As usual, I’m ending up with more yarn than I have time to do something with; perhaps this yarn will end up in someone else’s stash, someone who can put it to good use.
Doesn’t the air smell wonderfully fresh after a new rain following weeks of dry weather? That’s called petrichor, and I filled my lungs with it this morning after hearing the welcome sounds of rain on the roof overnight. We didn’t get enough moisture to make much difference to the parched soil and dry moss, but maybe the mycelia below soil level were also heartened by the promise of the rainy season’s return.
Now I’m spinning up what bits of yarn are left from last year’s dyepots, and finally decided to do something with the Pycnoporellus roving I showed in my previous post. I needed to pop up the colour a bit, so decided to use a bright piece of wool that came out of a Cortinarius cinnamomeus dyepot, along with a vibrant chunk of synthetic fibre that went through the dyebath at the same time (the two sections on the far left).
It didn’t take much time to run it all through my handcarders, then I spun two strands of thick-and-thin, to give the skein some texture. I normally don’t like orange—probably because I can’t wear anything resembling that colour—but blending it with the warm peach resulted in another skein I love to fondle.
Now I’ll take any amount of petrichor that wants to come our way, as long as it means some real rain in the near future.
Moving on from the seemingly non-stop gold dyepots, I’ve now finished dyeing with all the Velvet Pax (Tapinella atrotomentosa) that I’ve been saving and drying since the summer. For this dyepot, I used equal weights of dried mushroom and fibre—330 grams of each—and dyed half the fibre at a time. The dark green roving on the right was mordanted in iron. (Note to self: next year, premordant more wool with iron, to get more dark green!). It’s interesting how the “Icicle” on the left picked up golden tones, while the Tencel (the shiny brown at the top and the shiny beige to its left) picked up the browns.
I probably could have done one more exhaust from this pot, but to be frank, I’m tired of the browns, especially when I all my lovely dermocybes are waiting for me to do something with them.
In an earlier post I described how I trimmed the young edges from a cluster of Phaeolus schweinitzii, to see if the fungus would grow back. That was on September 20; I went back to the same tree on October 13, to find that the polypore had indeed sent out new growth, although it was much thinner than the first growth and without the yellow fuzzy edges.
My dear friend and wonderful weaver, Deanna Pilling, unveiled her Forest Floor plaid at today’s Guild meeting (Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers). The narrow pink and orange stripes are of yarn I dyed with mushrooms; the lighter middle stripe came from blackberry leaves and berries and was dyed by another weaver.
Deanna spent a lot of time deciding on the rest of the colours that make up this plaid; together they represent our rainforest with the rich hues of cedar, arbutus and soft green moss.
These colours came from varieties of Cortinarius semisanguineus, mushrooms that look like LBMs (little brown mushrooms) from above, but whose brilliant red, orange and gold gills attest to the pigments they contain. After saving two years’ worth of dye experiments, it was time to spin them up. I’d used two kinds of wool – Merino and Corriedale – and separated them out, easily done by feel. I spun the Merino first, shown here on the bobbin, then spun the Corriedale on another bobbin. Colours always look brighter in unspun fibre; spinning and plying soften them somewhat.
I plied the two bobbins together into a textured yarn, enough for two skeins. With some Merino left on the bobbin, I Navajo-plied it to get a three-ply yarn with distinct colour breaks.
The last of this year’s dermocybes are simmering now in my slow cooker, and I’m dyeing silk with them. I’m saving the Cortinarius sanguineus to the end, as the colour is sure to be spectacular, although on the silk it won’t be as brilliant as if I were dyeing wool.
It’s time I started doing something about my stash – well, some if it, anyway – so I gathered up all the bits and pieces of roving that went through the dermocybe dyepots over the last two years.
I found I had two kinds of wool: soft, silky Merino (the pile on the left) and coarser Corriedale (right). The Merino, which felts more easily anyway, has a lot of little slubs throughout – if I dye with it again, I’ll have to be more careful not to move it around too much when it’s in the hot dyebath.
I hand-carded the wool, to open up the fibres and line them up for spinning.
My plan is to spin one bobbin of Merino and one of Corriedale, then ply them together, thus getting the best of both wools. I’ll put the colours together at random, so when the yarn is finished, it should be an interesting blend courtesy of the little Cortinarius that grow in the woods around us.
CELEBRATING THE BEAUTY OF SUNSHINE COAST MUSHROOMS