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more lichens

January 9, 2011

The lichen pictured here is lobaria pulmonaria, also known as lungwort. When wet, it is bright green. At one time I had an abundant source of  it and this has been dried and stored in a paper bag  for at least 15 years–that’s right. It’s a wonder it dyed anything. It’s considered a boiling water lichen and the yarn was simmered for 6 hours.  

The brown was spun from silk “hankies” and dyed from the natural colour. The blue is 2 ply silk, first dyed with indigo. I had read that top dyeing with the lichen would give black. Well, it is darker and duller and because I did something silly it is very tangled. It may never get untangled and certainly will be a lesson in patience. 

Evernia prunastri or stag’s horn lichen is considered an orchil lichen which  refers to any species that will produce a red/purple dye when steeped in ammonia. Started today, the lichen needs stirring several times per day to introduce  air to aid fermentation. The time  for the fermentation to be effective varies so I will be stirring and watching–patiently.

This  lichen in the trees is abundant and looks tempting but in my experience contains no dye. It is not rooted to the tree branch and hangs freely.

I’m not sure if this is a true lichen, it is commonly known as tree moss. 

 Off to stir the pot or untangle silk.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 6:03 pm

    Lobaria pulmonaria is a wonderful dyestuff – my first natural dye project back when I was in high school – 35 years ago! I have a bag that holds what I collect after a windstorm, almost enough now for a dyepot, after a few months.


  2. January 9, 2011 4:29 pm

    once silk and another time linen book thread became my everests. usually i win the wars of the tangles. (the silk was given to me tangled, and though i tried hard not to, i composted it.)

    i will be watching your orchil along with you, usually i somehow miss the transformative moment(s).


    • January 9, 2011 4:35 pm

      that is so funny.back in my early years of weaving I wove a piece that was so ugly it was good for absolutly nothing so I buried in under the compost. I’m really glad it is not out there somewhere, haunting me.


      • January 13, 2011 2:45 am

        how good that it became compost, that’s a wonderful fall back, don’t you think, rather than it just going to the recycling center.


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