Mushroom Dyes Part 2 – Dyeing Process


Ramaria sp. found in the spring.

by Erin Raymond

In the last post, we talked about getting ready to dye with mushrooms.  Now that all the prep work is done, we can start getting into the actual dyeing process!  Remember, don’t be discouraged if your results are mixed, especially at first.  Many dye mushrooms are quite prolific and you can no doubt solicit some of your mushroom hunting friends to collect for you to bulk up your supplies.  It is also worth noting once again, as in the first article to label all dye mushrooms as such and keep away from edible mushrooms you may have stored.  It is also recommended that you use separate pots and grinders (coffee grinder) than what you would use for food.

Dried mushrooms are typically used because you can accurately measure the weight of the mushrooms. Fresh mushrooms can also be used, but it can be hard to reproduce results because you do not know the water content of the fresh mushrooms. Typically a 1:1 ratio of fiber to dried mushroom weight is used.  Some mushrooms require you to use more or less, but a 1:1 ratio is a good place to start. Continue reading

How fungi stage a deadly under-water attack on Aedes mosquito larvae

Insect pathogenic fungi can grow in liquid suspensions and on solid substrates, and their spores can attack and kill mosquitoes in aquatic or terrestrial environments. A new study demonstrates that the fungal attack of aquatic Aedes larvae is a particular rapid and effective way of mosquito control.

Source: How fungi stage a deadly under-water attack on Aedes mosquito larvae

Mushroom Dyes Part 1 – Getting Started

Yarn Drying

A variety of different colors can be derived from fungi.

by Erin Raymond

Throughout written history, humans have documented the use of plants, insects and lichens in the coloring of natural fibers. For whatever reason fungal dyes seem to be missing from the records of mankind, possibly lost in the many voluminous accounts of bygone times, not garnering the attention of translators, or maybe, being the knowledge of peoples with no written language at all, lost in the ether. It seems inconceivable that somewhere throughout time these secrets were not known by someone, yet culture, geography and time have no doubt played a roll in concealing this knowledge from the modern practitioner.

It wasn’t until the 1960’s that books were published, at least in the english language where we can begin to learn the ways of fugal dyes. It was Miriam C. Rice who’s teaching was the driving force in the use of fungi for dyeing, Here is a link to a short History of Mushroom Dyeing.

This, and upcoming dye posts, are a general overview of the dye process.  There are a number of excellent resources with more information that are listed at the end of this post.

Unless otherwise stated, these posts describe the process for wool yarn.  Different types of animal fibers can also be used.  I will go into these further in a later post.

Continue reading