September 16, 2008 - Tuesday

More results!!

Phaeolus schweinitzii

Mushroom: old Phaeolus schweinitzii (Norwegian: gulrandkjuke, English: "butt rot" - tee hee)
Here is what old gulrandkjuke looks like before it's dried.
Mordant: alum (details about the mordanting here)
Ratio: 1:5 (5 g of dried mushroom to 25 g merino yarn)


And then! I found a whole bunch of Cortinarius Friday afternoon!!

Look! At! The! Size! Of! This! One!!!

Mushroom: Cortinarius semisanguineus (Norwegian: rødskivekanelslørsopp, English: Surprise Webcap or Red-gilled Webcap)
Mordant: alum
Ratio: 2:1 (20 g of dried mushroom to 10 g merino yarn)

Cortinarius semisanguineus

*sigh* Isn't it gorgeous??

And this...

Mushroom hat!

... (inspired by Adrian's adorable mushroom pulse warmers) is what I'm making with the yarns!

Posted at 5:57 pm  | 

September 13, 2008 - Saturday


Skjellstorpigg dyed yarn!!!

Posted at 5:14 pm  | 

September 9, 2008 - Tuesday

Mushroom soup!

The mushroom of the day is Sarcodon imbricatus (English: Scaly hedgehog mushroom, Norwegian: skjellstorpigg) (or perhaps S. squamosus?). You can read more about dyeing with this mushroom on this Ravelry thread, this post or at Leena's wonderful, inspiring and information rich blog.

Two different "piggsopp" types?

I found a lot of these, all in one big bunch and I think they were under spruce trees - apparently this type of mushroom yields blues when found under pine, but we'll see what we get...

I wound up with about 170 grams of dried mushrooms. I filled up the stock pot with water, and added the dried mushrooms.


On the advice of the Ravelry threads, I added enough ammonia to bring the pH of the dye soup up to 9.


And let the whole pile simmer for an hour.


When the hour was up, I strained the mushrooms - gently squeezing out as much water as possible out of the mushrooms without breaking them up or making the dye bath muddy.


Then I sat the dye bath outside to cool and the left over mushrooms in a clearly labeled plastic container in the freezer to use again to try for a second dye bath.

Today I checked the pH again and found that boiling the mushrooms had lowered the pH to nearer 7. I added quite a bit more ammonia to bring the pH back to 9 and added the yarn to the dye bath and turned the stove on low and set the thermometer to tell me when the temperature reaches 85C / 185F.


I'll let it simmer at 85C for an hour. Check back tomorrow for the results!!

Posted at 9:23 pm  | 

September 8, 2008 - Monday

What I'm learning about mushroom dyeing - part 2.

Mordanting! What a strange word. It sounds like murder. Which is perhaps appropriate when we're dyeing. Ha!

No, seriously folks, a mordant (Nor: beisemiddel) is substance that fixes a dyestuff in or on a material by combining with the dye to form an insoluble compound. Mordant can be added to the dye or the fiber can be prepared beforehand - or "premordanted". In other words, you do something to the fiber before you dye it to help the dye "stick" to the fiber. Mordants are strong stuff, even hazardous - some more than others. You'll need a pair of rubber gloves, utensils - spoons, a strainer, a bucket, measuring devices - and a stainless steel or enamel stock pot that will be dedicated to dyeing. Also an electronic digital scale makes things so much easier.

I used the alum (Nor: alun) mordant recipe from the mushroom dyeing class I took last fall to pre-mordant 100 g of a sport weight merino last night to be ready to start the dyebaths today. (Though to be honest the mushroom gathering is such a big job, I'm rather hesitant to "waste" them on actually dyeing yarn. *Sigh*)

By the way, the yarn needs to be in hanks - tied securely but loosely!! at several points - and soaked in lukewarm water until thoroughly wet before the mordanting process begins.

There's a very clever system for remembering which of the most common mordants was used on which hanks...

  1. knot = alum mordant
  2. knots = chromium compounds (we're fond of the Earth, we're not using chrome)
  3. knots = tin
  4. knots = copper
  5. knots = iron


I dissolved 25 g of alum and 15 g of cream of tartar (Nor: vinstein) and 4 liters of water and turned the stove on medium-low. Then I added 100 g of yarn to the mix when it had reached about 35C / 95F and mushed it around so the yarn got completely submerged. I let the whole thing heat up very slowly until it reached 85C / 185F, set the thermometer to ring if the temperature got up near 90C / 195F (yarn shouldn't actually boil!) and the timer for 1 hour.

When that hour was up, I turned off the stove and went to sleep. This morning I rinsed the yarn (use the rubber gloves, the alum will irritate your skin - I stuck my hand into alum mordant during the class last fall and a small cut on my finger got VERY inflamed) and hung it to dry.


Tomorrow, mushroom soup and dye baths!

Posted at 11:56 pm  | 

September 7, 2008 - Sunday

What I've learned about mushroom dyeing, part 1.

Bagatell :: Knitting in Norway

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