and i'm liken it too...
FIRST: a comment on collecting lichen. Do not collect it in National Parks or State Parks. It's illegal. When you do collect it in a legal place, do not ever collect more than 10% from any given spot. Lichen grows very slowly, and if you collect more than this you may permanently damage the ecosystem. If you are particularly interested in collecting lichen that dyes purple, which contains orchil, take a long a small jar of household bleach and Qtips. After scraping the top off of the lichen, if you dab bleach on it and it turns, red/purple...you have orchil containing lichens.
I have yet to find orchil lichens but i'm collecting what i find, because well, i'm obsessed with natural dyeing and lichens are the newest thing for me...
anyway, so i have a variety of jars on my back porch (which gets extremely warm in the afternoon sun) filled with lichen soaking in ammonia and water. I haven't actually tried dyeing any silk yet...soon, i hope, soon. I understand that they need to sit for weeks and weeks. I'm not very patient, but i am seeing some color already, which is exciting!
This is the first jar, i started a couple weeks ago. It first turned somewhat orange-y brown, then got darker and darker and darker. Today, i diluted the dye by half and am still completely unable to see what color it is...either extremely dark brown or maybe almost black.
These two i collected last weekend, near Badland National Park...not in that would be illegal. the one on the right is from bright orange lichen growing on rocks, the left is green lichen that grows on cedar trees.
(if you click on the picture you can see it much bigger and see colors better)
Today, we went out to a campground in the Black Hills, outside the National Forest, and behind the campground was a big hill and ton of different kinds of lichen... from left to right--
1. some moss that was growing between rocks
2. greyish green lichen that grew on boulders
3. greyish purple flat with occasional spots of black on boulders
4. orange lichen on oak trees
5. neon green lichen from boulders
6. dark brown on boulders
7. orange on boulders