The aim of this blog will be later on to show around the endless possibilities hidden in the kingdom of fungi, let it be traditional applications like cultivation of gourmet or medicinal mushroom, or more unusual ones, like using mushrooms for their coloring or fibre properties, etc.

Right now I merely story about my home made attempts and experiments in the fields of cultivation, dyeing, ink, paper, decoration and packaging making, etc :)

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Start-up with dyeing - Part II. Sampling

The very first test swatches contained also cotton and acryl pieces of yarn, but apart from soaking up the precious dyewater, they werent doing anything at all (at that time I didnt know yet that cotton needs a pretreatment with washing soda), so I reduced a sampling to wool, unmordanted, mordanted with alum and iron, respectively. The mordants I bought from Ebay from ForestFibres, who also sell undyed yarns. But for the experiments I used white dyed wool from Adriafil (Regina), which I could buy next corner. I compared results of scoured (prewashed in soap) and unscoured yarns, but didnt see significant difference. Anyway to make sure to get rid off the chemicals used for commercial yarns I decided to scour the yarns for normal dyeing.

Here is a test swatch I used:

It is now apparent to me (especially if I look at how brown the iron mordanted swatch is) that I awfully overused alum and iron, I used over a tablespoon of each into the mordanting water of the samples, while later on I saw that even a teaspoon might be enough for to mordant whole yarns.

In the below pic, 3 different types of mushroom dye water is at work on the samples:

Hapalopilus rutilans (or nidulans)

And my personal favourite, the PINK dyewater from Hapalopilus rutilans:

In fact, the little piece of H.rutilans that I found was so unsignificant looking that I was struggling for a long time to identify it.
After passing a piece of it  (then called UNID4 in my strain collection) on growth medium to keep the strain in the hope that one day I will learn what this mushroom is, I kept the other specimen that I found in the fridge for maybe 1-2 months, before deciding that the matter is hopeless. So just out of curiousity I created dyewater out of it, and to be honest I wasnt expecting anything else than some weak brownish liquid. I had to sit down when I was faced with this intense purple coming out of that one little piece of shroom. It is really a pity that it was exhausted before I could have used it for real yarns.
I looked it up in Miriam Rice's books, and I realized that it only can be Hapalopilus rutilans. I cross checked with pics in the internet and my shroom books, and it was correct! This is how dyeing helped me in mushroom identification :).
Below are the fotos. You must know that I have a small, cheap and old photo mashine, which has real troubles giving back the actual shades of colors. Totally not suited for photographing dyed yarns.
So imagine more pink on the pictures, please.
After dyeing I bathed the samples for 30 min or so in acid (pH 4.5 by white sushi vinegar) and in alkaline (pH 10 by ammonia) water to see what pH changes might result in.
In case of H. rutilans not much happened, but in other cases some differences are apparent.
I am now convinced that one will get different colors if the dyebath itself is lets say pH 10 or if the dyebath is pH5-6, and after dyeing you bath/simmer it in clear water with pH10. It is an interesting topic and I will certainly run some test on it in the future.
But here are the photos:
pH 10 on the left, pH 4.5 on the middle and unchanged pH 6.3 on the right
It was interesting to see that bathing in pH10 water makes most probably the dye more water soluble and deattaches it from the yarn as after the bath the samples were visibly paler than the other two pH ranges (pH 6.3 unbathed and pH 4.5 bathed in water)

Xerocomus communis

Some photos of still wet sample yarns. If I check back the dry samples, it must have been Xerocomus communis.The very brown ones are iron mordanted on each one, the middle is with alum and the ones on the right are unmordanted. Number 2 and 1 had an afterbath in pH 10 and 4.5 water, while nr 3 had unchanged 7.2 pH.

Paxillus involotus and Hypholoma fasciculare

Next photo is of the drying swatches of Paxillus involotus and Hypholoma fasciculare. I compared results of scoured and unscoured wool, again unmordanted, alum and iron mordanted and pH 4.5 and pH 10 afterbathes. In case of these mushrooms I didnt see a significant difference in the results about scouring and pH afterbathes. Mordanting, however, does have an effect.
The unchanged pH is above 7, as both liquids were affected by bacterial contamination (they were also smelly :( ).

I have Hypholoma fasciculare in my strain collection, I expect it should be possible to cultivate the same way as Pleurotus or Shiitake species. I will give it a go and then re-run the tests with not bacterial contaminated dye water :).
Paxillus I will give a go as well, as folks suspect it might not be always mycorrhizal but able to exist on wood debris as well. (see MushroomExpert)

/ to be continued /

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