Science Monday – Dyeing wool with Wolf lichen.
Today’s experiment was dyeing 4 large skeins of 2-ply handspun wool using Wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina). It is a common lichen found in pine forests. I collected some last week while out on Ash Creek fly fishing with some friends. I came upon some blown down limbs while gathering wild rose hips for winter tea. It took only a few moments to pull it loose from the bark and fill a medium sized bag of the green stuff.
I have used this lichen once before, and the yarn came out a bright green. To help tone the color down a bit, I put in 2 cups of ground coffee into the pot along with the lichen…. after boiling, straining and immersing the wool into the decoction, the result produced a nice burnished gold color. Kind of like the color of Autumn leaves, especially of the elm tree….
You do not need to “fix” this dye to retain it’s color. Wolf lichen has a chemical in it that makes it permanent on natural fibers …