Time to dye my handspun

Now that I have 340+ yards of handspun 2-ply what should I do with it? I just happen to have a few buckets of mushroom water on the back deck. The mushrooms have been sitting in water since last fall, and I am ready to try dyeing with it. This is my unscientific, half-baked adventure into mushroom dyeing. I do not have the necessary equipment, like pH strips and electronic scales, to do this scientifically.

I took my handspun off the niddy noddy and it looked really bad like it will never be usable yarn. Should that stop me? I say no.
(The color is more of a light cream natural color.)

Yesterday, I washed it in textile detergent to remove dirt and residual grease.
This worked really well. I was surpised how dirty the water was, especially when the fiber looked so clean. I did it twice for good measure and then hung the yarn overnight.

I recently bought a couple of inexpensive used books to help me with this project.

The mushroom water was put in a slow cooker OUTSIDE on the deck. This stuff will never be a potpourri scent. Beef soup anyone?

I started heating water for the mordant. I chose to use alum and cream of tartar based on what I have observed on other blogs. The mordant will often determine the final color. I don't have scales, so I had to determine the amount to use based on what I read in the books and the amount of yarn I have. The small container gave me the number of grams for that amount of alum and I based my measurements on that. I ended up deciding on 1-1/2 Tbsp of alum and about 3/4 Tbsp of cream of tartar in 2 quarts of water. It was my best guess, plus a little extra.
While I heated water to dissolve the alum and cream of tartar, I soaked the handspun in gradually warmer baths so there would not be a sudden change in temperature when I switched it to the mordant.
I put it in the mordant on the stove and gradually increased the temperature to just below boiling, kept it there for almost a half hour, and then turned the heat off and let it set until it was cool enough to handle without getting burned.

Then I came to a crossroad. I believe the mushroom water needs to be acidic. I don't have any test strips, so I don't know the pH of the water. I had to decide whether to add some vinegar to make it acidic, and if so then how much vinegar. I put in about 40 ml of vinegar by guess and by golly.

Okay my prescious little handspun. This is the moment.
Beef broth and noodles.

What will I get? Tan, light brown, yellow, ???

p.s. If you want to visit the blog of someone who is a true artist using mushrooms, bark, etc., then visit Riihivilla.


At 4/13/2008 , Blogger Jerry said...

I can't wait to see what comes out of the pot. I'm going to dye some handspun 3 ply sock yarn next weekend but with the less adventuresome Kool-Aide or Acid Dye.

At 4/13/2008 , Blogger Karen said...

I'm with Jerry, I can't wait to see how it turns out. Looks like raman noodles right now :-)

At 4/14/2008 , OpenID celadon2 said...

Oh exciting!

At 4/14/2008 , Blogger Yarnhog said...

You are far braver than I. I tried Kool-Aid once. And RIT dye, also once. I think I'm done now. Can't wait to see what you get!

At 5/24/2008 , Blogger JL said...

Hmm...a hotpot noodle, Yummy !!


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