Monday, November 4, 2013

One Mushroom, Many Colors!

 Yesterday I attended a class offered by the Puget Sound Mycological Society to learn more about mushroom identification. The whole class was fascinating and now have a better understanding of the processes one must go through to identify a mushroom. The participants brought in various mushrooms to ID. I spotted a grand Phaeolus schweinitzii - a "Dyer's Polypore"! I asked the student who brought it in if I could take it home at the end of class and she agreed. (Thank you!)
 Upon returning home I promptly got out my large dyeing pot, chopped the mushroom, covered it with water and set it to simmer for about a half hour. I wish I would have weighed it. I'm guessing it was about 5 lbs. I added some ammonia and used a tin mordant and got the very orange skein dyed in about 1/2 an hour. I had so much dye material left I grabbed by little sample skeins and began adjusting the pH and the mordants. The skeins that turned out yellow had either no mordant (other than the residual tin floating around) or a pre-mordant with alum. Then I threw in some iron and my samples started coming out green! Some skeins I dipped in for 2 minutes to get a lighter color and some I left in for 1/2 an hour.  It's amazing how many colors you can get from one mushroom!