A King’s Fall
Picking to Dye
Last fall, my passion for mushroom hunting infected my girlfriend; she is now into mushroom hunting, but not for the table. She has become part of the cult that dyes fabrics, namely yarn, with fungi! I know what you're thinking: all mushrooms are brown and boring. False! As it turns out, the impressive diversity of fungi yields a continuous rainbow of colors, more than your Adobe Illustrator palette of 256 colors has to offer. And don't forget that "fungi" also include the symbiotic biomasses of blue-green algae and fungus that we call "lichens". A few lichens give really sweet colors, from the highlighter green of a fresh tennis ball to a pretty fuschia. Check out some of the photos to the right for some of the coveted fungal species used in dyeing.
As fate would have it, I am now also hooked on finding these dyeing fungi! Now I have dozens of species to look out for, instead of a mere handful that are worthwhile edibles. We are just starting to get into the fall mushroom season here in the Seattle area, and hopefully it will be another good fall like last year. Keep your eyes out for more posts as the season goes on!