by Brady and Erin Raymond
As the rains begin soaking in and temperatures start to drop don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled this fall for dye mushrooms. We often get so consumed with finding the consumables we forget that mushrooms have other uses too. If you are into cooking and you like crafting, specifically with animal fiber, dyeing with mushrooms may be right up your alley. Here’s a quick run down and if you’re interested check out the links at the end of the post for more info.
by Erin Raymond
Once you are comfortable with the dye process, starting to play around with changing colors is really fun and adds a whole new level of excitement when dyeing with mushrooms. Adjusting your mushroom dyes is most commonly achieved by altering the pH. This can be done directly in the simmering dye bath or after in a separate bath, in which case no simmering is needed. To do this, you will need pH paper (I got mine on Amazon) and something to make your dye more alkaline or acidic. To increase the pH, I use washing soda and to decrease the pH, I use white vinegar. Ammonia can also be used to make an alkaline bath, but you need to be sure not to breathe in any of the vapors and the dye bath tends to become more neutral faster than with washing soda. When using washing soda, be sure to only add 1/8th tsp at a time, checking the resulting pH.
by Brady Raymond
Here on the west side of the Cascades things seem to be chugging along quite nicely so far this fall. Temperatures are steadily dropping and the rains are beginning their onslaught, to the chagrin of most but a welcome sign to our kind. My Mother is in town and Erin and I thought we would take her out for the chance to look for some chanterelles, maybe some lobsters, and whatever else we could find.
“This is our quarry, stay alert” I told my Mom as we headed out on her first mushroom hunt in the PWN.
My Mom has been out to visit a few times now but she has never been down the Mountain Loop Highway. Oops, I mean a secret road you didn’t hear about from me. We have a few spots that always produce for us so long as conditions are right. Everything looked good at our first stop, we got out and eagerly started looking. I quickly spotted some Hydnellum aurantiacum, I wasn’t sure if Erin could dye with it but I know that toothed fungi are usually a good bet, so I collected them with my Mom and would ask Erin when we got back to the car (we have a new addition to the family, so one of us has to stay at the car while the others look). She was excited when I showed her and thought they would produce a greenish gray tone, her memory turned out to be right, at least according to The Rainbow Beneath My Feet. For those of you attending the Ben Woo Foray this October you’ll most likely get the results first hand if attending the dye workshop and I’m sure an article on the blog will follow soon, stay tuned.