It’s been about 10 years since I first started dyeing yarn and fibers, using industrial dyes and food colors. I always wanted to try natural dyes, but for some reason I thought it sounded like an immense process and way too much work to be fun. How wrong I was!
It is indeed a lot more work to dye with natural dyes. I had to go out and gather the dye materials, set it to simmer out the dyes for an hour or so and then I could start. Normally, you would pre-mordant your yarn, which is a process in itself, but for this first try I added the alum directly to the dyebath.
I used mushrooms for dyeing, and made a few mistakes! Following an online tutorial, I put the mushrooms in a blender before adding to the dye bath. Do not do this! You will get a ton of tiny mushroom pieces in your yarn… Two of the skeins I ended up throwing away, as I could not get them remotely clean. The best way is to cut up the mushrooms, if they are big, and just sift out all the organic material when the dye has been released. If you wanna dye with the dye-material in the pot the whole time, put them on a nylon knee-high! Works perfectly.
Even though I made some mistakes, I also learned my lessons for the next time. I got some beautiful yarn in the end, and now I just wanna make more!