On the advice of a good fiberista friend, I signed up for a mushroom dyeing class last fall. The class was taught by Alissa Allen of Mycopigments. (Thanks for the hot tip, Erin). I’ve learned much over the years with regards to natural dyeing, but I was clueless about mushrooms. We harvested morels in North Idaho when I was a child, but dye mushrooms? Who knew?!
Happily the class included a cheat sheet of dye mushroom species for my area. The botanist in me was looking for specific ecosystem info to aid in locating. Alas, the class was not helpful to me in that regard. So what to do? A bit of research is always helpful…..I made notes on my cheat sheet and read as much as I could find. There is a great resource on FB, a group for mushroom and lichen dyers. Even with all of this effort, it took awhile to locate dye mushrooms!
Also? Experimenting helped. I found other mushrooms that give dye that were not listed on my cheat sheet. I put together a mushroom field kit using an old metal lunchbox. It contains everything I need to test in the field (except the wee stove and butane cartridges). I was bit by mushroom dyeing. Hard. I love walking through the woods and this gave me another excuse to do so.
I figure it will take a few seasons to locate my own favorite mushroom locations. Mushroomers have such things and keep this info secret!
Here is my dyed wool collection for this year. I never did locate the red corts, danged it. Something for next year. My plan is to spin singles and weave this in a color and weave, herringbone twill fabric for sewing a bag of some sort.