Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who says you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

Or dye yarn with a Pig's Ear mushroom, as the case may be.....

The rest of the yarn I dyed this weekend is completely dry now.  Before I tell you more about it though, check out this contest over at Drop Stitch Knitter's blog.  She is offering some great prizes you can win by suggesting a pattern for her lace yarn.

Back to the dyed yarn...
I made a color wheel out of the skeins because I can't get over the range of colors that come just from working with mushrooms.  Starting with the yellow one at the bottom and working clockwise I'll list the yarn, mushroom and mordant used:
1) Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran,  Porcini (Boletus edulis), alum mordant
2) Queensland Collection Kathmandu Aran,  Dyer's Polypore (Phaelus schweinitzii), iron mordant
3) Cascade 220,   Pig's Ear (Gomphus Clavatus), iron mordant
4) Angie's yarn which I think is alpaca, previously dyed with porcini, then overdyed with a Jack-O Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus Olivascens) and alum mordant
5) Cascade 220, Jack-O-Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus Olivascens) and alum mordant
6-8)  Rowan Pure Wool 4ply, Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum), and iron mordant, but each skein was dyed successively in the same dye bath to achieve a range of color.

The most exciting thing to me here is that my favorite colors out this bunch (#4 & #5) were achieved with mushrooms my son and his friends found here in town.  Which (hopefully) means we can find some more and I can repeat the dyeing process.  I would love to knit a scarf or even a pair of socks in that lovely gray-lavender color.

A few hours after taking my yarn-color-wheel photo, I collected eggs from our newest batch of laying hens and couldn't resist taking a matching photo:

I am keeping my sanity (and entertaining myself) with these simple pleasures, in between rounds of holiday baking, rearranging the house to fit in 13 more people over the holidays, cleaning, writing lists, gift shopping, driving to school events, music lessons, etc.  I'm not sure if this means I am just really easily entertained, or if I've completely lost my sanity and I just don't know it yet! 


  1. That's amazing that you got such a range with mushrooms you found locally! Love the contrast with the egg photo too. When I saw the title of your post, I did have a moment of thinking, "No! They didn't raise pigs this year, did they? And she wouldn't really..."
    : ) JS

  2. I am so amazed and impressed! Those are gorgeous colors and I can't wait to see them in person and make something out of that alpaca! It's so much better than the yellow! What a successful weekend! BTW....I have some Cascade 220 in natural and that cashmere from....hmmmm..........
    Stitches a while back.......: )

  3. Wow! I didn't realise you could get such amazing colours with mushrooms! I love the pinks and lavendar.