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.
This is the first in a 4-part series on the fungi of Hawai’i from a Pacific Northwest perspective. This article provides an introduction to fungi in Hawai’i. The following articles discuss edibles and fungi with psychedelic properties, mycology in Hawai’i, and the connection between Hawai’i and the Pacific Northwest.
In the years leading up to my move to Hawai’i Island in 2014, my interest in fungi was growing, and I knew I would continue my hobby after I moved. I wondered about the mushroom culture in Hawai’i: when and where to forage, what the edibles were, and who was studying mycology.
I asked members in PSMS and attendees of the 2014 NAMA gathering in Eatonville their thoughts. Despite nearly uniform replies—there are few good edibles, it’s hard to find anything at all, there’s not much going on—I was not deterred. Many areas receive plenty of precipitation, therefore, there must be plenty of fungi and people interested in them, I reasoned.