Friday, July 21, 2006

The Fruits of the Earth

My friend Noah knows mushrooms. He can rattle off scientific names with the best of them. But he's not a knitter, alas. A couple months ago, though, I discovered that Noah dyes yarn with various mushroom species. Just look at these colors!
The bright yellow and the green toward the top of the pile are dyed using ferns, but the rest are all mushrooms. I'd show you more photos, but Blogger will only let me post three photos tonight, boo, hiss.

Back when Noah first told me he had dyed yarn with mushrooms (I think it was in March or April, on a vernal pool field trip), I asked if he would give me some yarn if I knit him a hat. Well, several intervening months later, as with all busy peoples' lives, Noah and I finally got coordinated. He wants a hat like Knitty's Astrodome, only with mushrooms rather than stars. Last night, on yet another field trip, this one to chase dragonflies that only come out at dusk, he gave me his collection of dyed yarn, so I can try coming up with color combos. With soft, subtle colors like these, I think any combination will work. Luckily for me, Noah wants a multi-color hat.

Major developments on the spinning front: I'm picking up a wheel on Sunday! Yay! I can't believe I'm doing this. (Good for me!) It's a new double-treadle Louet S10, from Abi's Web, in Hinsdale, MA (no website; sorry), about a two-hour drive from here out through some of the prettiest parts of the state. I'm trying to talk Earle into going with me (then I can knit along the way, if he drives).

Development #2: I tried using a drop spindle tonight. I made yarn! Yay! It even looks like yarn, at least it looks like a thick single. After I tried out a Louet wheel at the Massachusetts Sheep and Wool Fair back in May, I went to Webs and bought myself a Louet spindle, Lee Raven's Spin It book, and a half-pound of basic domestic wool roving, nothing fancy. In my usual scattered way, I never got around to trying it out till tonight. Following Lee Raven's directions, mostly, I separated the roving in half lengthwise and carefully drafted the halves such that the lengths of roving were quite thin. That pre-drafting helped a lot, as I could practice and play with putting the twist into the yarn without fiddling with drafting as well. I only quit because there was a sugar cone of chocolate moose tracks ice cream calling my name - I do plan on spinning two spindles' full and then plying the singles.

Development #3: Next Saturday, Cathy, and probably Ariel and Jenn, are coming to visit and bringing their wheels! Yay! We're going to have our own little fiber fest and BBQ. I've invited a bunch of my knitting buddies from around here, so with luck, there should be lots of fiber foolery going on around here. Y'all are invited, too!

Finally, one last photo, of pink perfection from the garden. Ain't summer grand?


Terby said...

I had no idea you could dye with mushrooms. Beautiful colors.

Sner said...

Can't wait to see more pictures of the mushroom dying. It sounds facinating!

Elizabeth said...

Those are some seriously gorgeous colors from the mushrooms. Too cool.