Tag Archives: spinning

Mushroom colours go together

Bobbin of mushroom colours
Bobbin of mushroom colours

Early on in my mushroom dyeing [buzzword alert] “journey,” I did all of my experiments with commercial yarn, as I wanted to see how many different colours I could obtain in one season. I played with random combinations of three different colours; no matter which colours I put side by side, they always went well together. (I posted about this on January 19, 2011, and again on January 24).

Now I’m playing with colours again, this time in my handspun yarns. In this case, I blended three stripes on my drumcarder, putting them through once. (The colours came from Phaeolus schweinitzii, Tapinella atrotomentosa, and dermocybe dyepots.) Then I drafted the entire batt into a roving the right size for spinning. The colours remained as separate stripes in the roving and into the yarn.
mixed colours2

Proving once again that mushroom dyes sit well together.

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Fibre of another kind

Bear fibre

This isn’t related to mushroom dyeing, but it does have to do with fibre and spinning and finding things in the forest. Plus, I’m excited beyond belief!

I’ve been wondering lately if I’d ever come across any bear hair while on my forest forays. While we know bears are around, we don’t see them that often. We did see one on the road a few weeks ago, and I marvelled at its thick, shiny coat—the beautiful animal looked as if he’d just been to a groomer. That’s when my thoughts turned to the likelihood that I’d ever get my hands on any of its fibre.

Well . . . on a little detour through the bush today, I came across a pile of scat that could only have been produced by a bear. It was covered in a white, fuzzy mold, and standing straight up out of that were masses of fine, black hair! Being unable to resist any kind of fibre, I just had to touch it. One touch led to another, which led to the plucking of as much of it as I could. It was indeed fine, with a slight crimp, and coated with oil, to the point that it was tacky.

I collected a small handful, which is now soaking in a solution of Orvus paste, after which I’ll steam it for an hour or two, just to make sure it’s clean. (And yes, I did wash my hands as soon as I got home!)

I can’t wait to see how it spins up!

What I’m spinning now

Two years’ worth of rovings

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.