Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lichen Dyeing- Peltigera aphthosa and Letharia vulpina

I've been starting to dye little skeins of yarn for the Icelandic sweater I am planning to knit using only lichen and mushroom dyed yarn. I started with Peltigera aphthosa (freckled pelt lichen). I collected about a cup of lichen and fermented it in ammonia for 4 months. It is important to collect lichen that has been detached from its substrate, so that you don't deplete the population. Lichens are slow growing and sensitive to being harvested. After the fermentation, I added 2 cups of the dye liquor to my dye pot, along with 10 cups of water and a half a cup of salt.
I added 1oz of wool to the dye bath and brought the temperature up to 180F for 10 min.
Then I took the temp down to 160F and simmered for an hour. I let it cool overnight and the next day I brought it back up to 160F and let it cool overnight again.
I let it drain for two days before I rinsed it in cold water, to make it more colour fast. The colour came out as a nice dusty rose.
Nest, I soaked about 2 cups of Letharia vulpina (wolf lichen) in water for 24 hours.
Then I boiled it for 30 min and simmered it for an hour. I strained out the liquid and saved it, then covered the lichen in fresh water and repeated the process. I didn't get much more colour out from the second time around, so I didn't bother to do it a third time. With all the strained liquid, I added a 1/2 cup of salt and 1oz of wool. I heated it to a just below a simmer for 2-4hours and let it cool overnight, before letting it drain for two days.
The wolf lichen smells heavenly!
I'm very happy with the colours and I am excited to try the Umbilicaria lichen I have fermenting. I need to wait 2 more months though!


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