Lichen Dyed Yarn

So I have had a stash of lichen for a while, waiting to be used to make dye.  So finally yesterday I took the plunge.  I used instructables, mycopigments, and fungimag websites for guidance as my natural dyeing book was not helpful for lichens.

I received this Usnea or Beard Lichen from Sarai on Fiber Day a few years ago.  I decided to use the boiling water extraction for this lichen.  Here is the lichen soaking in our well water before heating it up.  I decided to use our well water since it has lots of iron in it, that it might act as a mordant.

Usnea/Beard Lichen in water

For the second pot I used Wolf lichen that I collected from my father’s cabin before it burned down.  I decided to add some onion skins I had been saving to enhance the dye color.

Wolf Lichen on Onion Skins

Sarai also gave me some Evernia prunastri Lichen.  For this I decided to use ammonia extraction.  The only ammonia we had at home I acquired from a vintage trailer we acquired.

Parsons Ammonia

Since this is quite old and “lemon fresh”  Tom kindly went to the store and bought me new and lemon free ammonia cleaner.  Here is the first jar being prepared.

Evernia prunastri Lichen in Ammonia water

Here it is after the second jar was prepared.

Evernia prunastri Lichen in Ammonia water in 2 jars

I simmered the two pots for about one hour and then strained the liquids.  I then simmered 3 wetted skeins in each pot for about one hour.  Here are the skeins while drying (one came out a tangled mess that I am still working on untangling).  The darker yarn is from the onionskin/wolf lichen pot and the lighter yarn is from the beard lichen pot.

Natural dyed skeins wolf lichen & onion darker, beard lichen lighter

The ammonia water is already turning purple this morning.  I am looking forward to dyeing with it in about 3 weeks.  I did save the leftover wolf and beard lichen dyes if anyone would like to use them.  And these yarns will be for sale at Fiber Day tomorrow as well as Shetland and Cotswold fleeces, chemically dyed Shetland yarns, natural colored Shetland and CVM yarns, and Shetland and CVM rovings.  Here is my poor little car stuff to the gills with fibery stuff for tomorrow’s sale.

fiber filled car



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6 Responses to Lichen Dyed Yarn

  1. Jeanne says:

    That was very interesting!! As soon as I finished reading it, I shared it with Marlys, since I knew she’d want to read it right away. We are both impressed!! She just dyed some fleece over the weekend, using avocado pits and skins! You ought to see the beautiful shades of orange she got!!

  2. Marie triplett says:

    Your lichen dyed yarn is beautiful. Was the yarn originally white , or cream coloured?

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