Anyways, I (read: he) brought the stuff back and I sorted through it, picking out bugs and pine needles and getting it ready to spin. It is pretty thick stuff to spin. I should have used a heavier drop spindle, but that's all I had, so too bad! It held the twist pretty well and I knit with it straight off the spindle. I just wanted to see what it would be like to knit with lichen. Come on, you know you are curious too! I knit up a little swatch, and it was pretty decent stuff, although it will snap if you are too forceful with it (which is why there is a hole in this swatch). I wonder what I will need to do to keep it alive? Or what it will be like when it dries out? Either way, I don't see a bright future for the stuff in sweater making. It's horribly scratchy. And when I introduced the idea of a living sweater to my mother, she responded, "Ew!"
Oh well. It was a fun experiment.
Speckled Horsehair Lichen in its "raw" form:The knitted swatch:
I wonder if there is a future for lichen pot-scrubbers?