Category Archives: Mushrooms

Fibreshed goes to Fibre Camp 2017

The Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild’s Fibre Camp 2017 was held at Camp Sunrise on the Sunshine Coast of BC from Sept 7th to Sept 9th. Fifty fibre enthusiasts gathered to attend workshops, played with their fibre, shopped at vendor stalls, talked, ate and shared their stories.

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The Sunshine Coast Fibreshed display featured local fleece dyed with local pokeberries.

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The pokeberry was dyed using the solar method…aka…Sun Kissing.

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Jars of solar dyed marigolds and onion skins produce bright golds and soft yellows. When overdyed with Japanese Indigo, various shades of green are the result.

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On display at Fibre Camp was our Teddy Bears Picnic Blanket along with many items hand made by local artisans from local fleece, dyed with local plants…all invited to the picnic!

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This Community Blanket Project was a joint effort by the Sunshine Coast Fibreshed and the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild. We gathered fibre from the Sunshine Coast, washed, picked, carded, spun, wove and waulked a brilliant picnic blanket for our guild booth display at ANWG this past July in Victoria, B.C.

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After spending the day at Camp spinning, spindling, weaving, knitting we had an impromptu Tai Chi exercise session to limber up. Fun and relaxing.

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One of the Camp workshops by author of Magic in the Dyepot, Ann Harmer, featured dyeing with local mushrooms.

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The weekend offered Fibreshed ongoing opportunities to connect, share, learn and have fun with fibre folk from as far away as New York, across to Washington along the Pacific Coast, and within BC to Vancouver Island. Stay tuned for next year’s Fibre Camp on the Sunshine Coast, BC.

Submitted by Lynda Daniells,
Photos by Lynda and Merrily

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International Earth Day 2017

April 21, 2017, international Earth Day was celebrated in Roberts Creek, BC by our local Sunshine Coast Fibreshed. The day started out dry with sunshine, always windy at the pier. We set up our colourful Fibreshed display with locally dyed rovings, plants for a Dyers garden and local sheep fleece for garden mulch….
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We featured felting as a creative use of fleece. Ursula Bentz, master felter displayed her gorgeous felted pieces and then assisted folk to make something felted.
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Young folk were engaged with Ursula, the fleece, the soap, creating.
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This young fellow was very pleased with his felted flower and both children took home felting kits sold for $5.00.
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Another young Creeker put finishing touches on this felted mouse.
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Many children engaged in felting and let their creative spirit fly.
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Everyone got in the spirit of the day….kids of all ages.
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Fibreshed was displaying the dyeing  colours we can obtain by growing plants locally such as Pokeberry, Japanese Indigo, Marigolds, Onion Skins, also by gathering local mushrooms on the Coast. Merrily selling Dyers garden starters.
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It was a great day in the Creek until wind and rain started to ruin our display. We packed up early and have everything drying by the home fire now.
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Photos by Lynda Daniells & Merrily Corder,
Submitted by Lynda

Second Annual Fibreshed Day – Part 1

From Shepherdess to Knitted Dress

The Second Annual Sunshine Coast Fibreshed Day was held April 9, 2017 at Fibreworks Studio and Gallery, Madeira Park, BC. The focus was on our local Shepherds & Shepherdesses to show off fibre from their sheep and the steps of shearing through to finished product.

FS YR2_1 Wendy Gilbertson_Mojo
Wendy Gilbertson on her Wilson Creek farm with “Mojo”, a Blue Faced Leister breed.

FS YR2_2 Johanna Walker shearing Mojo
Wendy brought Mojo, and Rodney, a Romney breed to the event for shearing. Johanna Walker is shearing Mojo while Rodney, pictured here, waits his turn. Folks were very keen to watch.

FS YR2_3 Mojo's Fleece
Mojo’s fleece laid out by Johanna, ready for skirting. The not so nice bits can be used in the garden for mulch.

FS YR2_4 George Smith with Wendy
George Smith is talking with Wendy after Rodney and Mojo have had their haircuts.

FS YR2_5 Sheep Dog Paige on guard.
Paige the sheep herding dog guards Rodney and Mojo along with Reg.

FS YR2_6 Joan Reeves and Roberta Symons
Anna joined us for the day and took this Suffolk fleece to process for Joan Reeves and Roberta Symons, both spinners and knitters. In back is Lynne Sturm showing many other uses for fleece.

FS YR2_7 Picking Fleece Circle
If one doesn’t send raw fleece to a mill for processing then one begins washing, drying and picking by hand as portrayed in this picking circle. Picking removes bits of vegetable matter and opens up the locks to prepare for the next step. It’s a nice time to chat with friends or meet new ones.

FS YR2_7 Dorothy carding
Next step is to card the fleece using hand carders or a drum carder. Dorothy Thom is using an electric carder to make a batt for spinning or felting.

FS YR2_8 Pokeburry Pink Dying Kits
Dying with local mushrooms and plants can add brilliant colour such as the new hot colour of the season, Pokeberry Pink. Fibreshed was selling Dyers garden starter kits.

FS YR2_9 Rovings dyed locally and naturally
All these rovings come from local fibre which have been dyed by local artisans using local mushrooms and plants.

Dianne Lim is felting a sushi roll while Jean Pataky is felting a bird’s nest. What an animated conversation they seem to be having.

FS YR2_12 Muriel's Bears
Two teddy bears wearing their special KNITTED DRESSES; finished product by local artisan Muriel Prior using local fibre and natural dyes.

FS YR2_13 Doreen weaving
Doreen MacLauchlan is weaving a scarf with her homespun, hand processed yarn. Helene Nissle is talking about characteristics of various sheep breeds.

FS YR2_14 Yarn Display
Deanna Pilling displayed her hand spun, home processed Llama.  On the right is her Icelandic yarn and shawl made with ‘Katy’.

FS YR2_15 Table Display
Local Shepherdess Ann Fransblow of Roberts Creek, BC showing sheep characteristics and uses at the display table.

FS YR2_16 RefreshmentsFS YR2_17 Donated Quail Eggs

Local refreshments included homemade pickles, toasted kale chips, baked salmon, pesto cream cheese spread, local artisan breads, fresh local radishes and more…

Pat and Diane Walker of Christmas Road Farm donated quail eggs.

Dyeing at the 6th Annual Mushroom Festival

On October 18th the Pender Harbour Community Hall was filled with visitors to the Sunshine Coast Mushroom Society’s sixth annual Mushroom Festival.  It was a wonderful event celebrating the rich diversity of mushrooms that grow on the Sunshine Coast.

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Members of the Sunshine Coast Spinners and Weavers Guild volunteered to demonstrate dyeing with mushrooms.

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We also had a display of the wonderful range of colours that can be obtained from mushrooms.

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We demonstrated dyeing with three different mushrooms.  Dyer’s polypore (Phaeolus schweinitzii) grows only on old wood and starts appearing in early September.

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Sulphur tufts (Hypholoma fasciculare) is a common woodland mushroom that grows in dense clusters on decaying wood, usually alders here on the Coast. The caps are sulphur yellow when young, aging to brown.  It is poisonous.

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The Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) is a parasite on other mushrooms.  Here on the Sunshine Coast its host is a white mushroom, Russula brevipes, found in older forests growing in moss and duff.  The outer red layer is the Lobster mushroom and the part used for dyeing while the inner white part can be eaten.

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Here Lynda and Merrily are cutting the red layer away from the white part.

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We carefully tended the dye pots and answered the questions of the many visitors who were interested in the dyeing process.

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Most of the wool from the local sheep Olivia was knitted into two shawls but a single skein remained.  Here Deanna is lowering the skein into a dye pot of lobster mushrooms.

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With water of a fairly neutral pH the wool dyes an uninteresting beige but with the addition of baking soda to turn the water alkaline the wool turns pink.  Here Ann Harmer checks its progress.

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When the three dye pots had yielded their riches, we hung our wool on a pole outside.  You can see the beautiful deep pink skein of Olivia’s wool.  The yellow is from the Sulphur tufts and the gold is a bit of the wool from the Dyer’s polypore dye bath.  We had a wonderful time sharing our love of dyeing with some of our local mushrooms.

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Heather Apple

The Mushroom Seekers’ First Foray

On a rainy Monday in September, a small group of intrepid mushroom hunters ventured out to Chapman Creek watershed to see what we could find.  As the morning rains subsided somewhat we convened in the parking lot, rain gear on and baskets ready for collecting our treasures.  We ventured into the rainforest accompanied by Sukha, the spirited hound, and the sound of ravens and raindrops.

Ann Harmer, our wise and experienced guide, was wearing her mushroom-dyed knitted hat to inspire us.  She helped us identify fungi, describing the growing habits and where to look for particular fungi.

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We found many fungi, most of which were not for dyeing, but they were all met with excitement and enthusiasm.

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Some of our first finds were tiny pale yellowish spikes poking up through the duff,  Coral fungus, Ramaria sp.  For dyeing, Ann suggested that we needed the pinkish orange ones, Ramaria formosa, not the pale whitish ones that we found everywhere.

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We found a beautiful and mysterious looking fungus which none of us had seen before.  It looked like a flower from space!  It was soft and if we touched the middle ball, tiny dark spores spewed out like a cloud.  Later we identified it as an Earthstar or Geastrum saccatum.

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As we continued through the forest we found many more non-dye mushrooms, some edible, some not.  We found Angel Wings, Pleurocybella porrigens, which is both eaten and also considered possibly toxic to people with kidney conditions.  We left it where it was, like tiny winged sculptures of the forest floor.

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The forest floor was dotted with LBMs – little brown mushrooms.  Fallen trees were covered in bracket fungus, or shelf fungus, Ganoderma applanatum, also known as Artists conk, for it has a silky smooth white underside that when scratched or etched leaves dark markings – kind of a fungi sketch pad.

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Ann found an older scruffy Velvet pax, Tapinella atrotomentosa, which was covered in bluish mold.  It was a good size and she thought it was worth trying to see if any colour could be produced.

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We also found a younger one, which allowed us to see how this fungus grows with its stem off to the side, its rolled edge, and how the stem is a darker colour than the underside.

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We wandered through the forest, through the muck, peeking under and over logs to uncover the forest treasures.  The summer had been very dry and the rains had not yet come in full force so there weren’t many specimens.  With the rains the forest floor will come alive and we will don our rain gear for more dyers’ mushroom forays.

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For more information on mushroom dyeing, please visit Ann’s website Shroomworks https://shroomworks.wordpress.com

By Kimberly Paterson

Dyeing with Hydnellum aurantiacum

On March 31 we gathered for the third and final dyeing workshop with Ann Harmer (see two previous blog entries for the first two workshops).  The mushroom featured was Hydnellum aurantiacum.

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Hydnellum (which has no common name) grows in the forest floor in moss and duff and in sun or shade.   Its upper surface can be brown or sometimes orangey.  This mushroom has a sweet almost fruity fragrance.  It’s woody and is more easily broken off from the ground rather than cut.

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The underside is covered with tiny “teeth”.

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Ann had soaked dried mushrooms in water overnight.  One pot contained regular well water and the other well water to which washing soda had been added to bring the pH to 12.  To each pot we added two skeins of wool – one mordanted with alum and the other with no mordant.  Then we heated them.

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When the wool had coloured we admired the results which were actually deeper and brighter than the photo shows.  The wool on the left was a beautiful dark teal green.

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In a third pot containing well water and soaked mushrooms we tried a method which sometimes results in blue.  The pot was carefully monitored as the temperature was brought to 170F and held there for 15 minutes.  Then washing soda was added to bring the pH to 12 and then the wool was added.

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We didn’t succeed in getting blue but the wool was dyed a soft grey-green (greener than the photo).

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Next the stove was busy with a number of pots.  Copper mordanted skeins of wool were placed in liquid taken from the dye pots of plain well water, water with a pH of 12 and the pot where we’d carried out the special technique described above.  This was repeated with iron mordanted wool.

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Here are the results.

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Thank you Ann for sharing your knowledge and love of dyeing with mushrooms in these wonderful workshops!

By Heather Apple
Mushroom photos by Ann Harmer

Dyeing with Lobster Mushrooms

On March 24 we gathered for Ann Harmer’s second mushroom dyeing workshop.  This time the Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum) was featured.  (See the March 20 blog for the previous workshop.)

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The Lobster mushroom is a parasite on other mushrooms.  Here on the Sunshine Coast its host is a white mushroom, Russula brevipes, found in older forests growing in moss and duff.  The outer red layer is the Lobster mushroom and the part used for dyeing while the inner white part can be eaten.  Old mushrooms that are darker in colour, deformed, mushy and starting to decompose give the most colour.  Be warned, however, that they smell terrible so dye outside!

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The colour from Lobster mushrooms, especially the older ones, can be spectacular.  Here are the results Ann obtained from a single strong dye bath of fresh mushrooms.

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For the workshop we started by dyeing with dried Lobster mushrooms using well water and chlorinated water and using wool that had no mordant, alum, copper and iron mordants.  We used 1 part mushrooms to 1 part fibre.  The first step was weighing the mushrooms and putting them in small mesh bags and old pantyhose.

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Soon we had all our pots cooking.

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After our lunch break the wool had coloured nicely.

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We took wool that had been mordanted with alum and tested the effect of pH by placing one skein in a jar of liquid with a pH of 3 – left (made by adding vinegar) and another skein in a jar with a pH of 10 – right (made by adding washing soda).

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We then took skeins of wool mordanted with iron and with copper and put half of each skein in the 3 pH liquid and the 10 pH liquid.

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Finally we laid out our skeins and admired our day’s work.

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By Heather Apple
Mushroom and strong dye bath photos by Ann Harmer