Hey There! I’m Myra.

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If you were looking for Hooked and Dyed, you’ve landed in the right place. 

Welcome to my creative corner where I share my passion for natural dyes and all things fiber related. 

My passion began by osmosis: My mother is Dorothy Beebee; she illustrated the mushroom dye book Mushrooms for Color, authored by Miriam Rice. I spent my childhood hunting wild mushrooms, smelling them dry behind our wood stove, and helping out at mushroom fairs. But as a kid, I found most of it uninteresting (except for trips to Mendocino, Santa Cruz, New York and Scotland). I will not eat mushrooms to this day. But the seed was planted. 

The shift began in my late teens when I finally paid attention to the colors my Mom created. I began weaving baskets with mushroom dyed cane, then started dyeing silk scarves and camisoles. Slowly but surely, my Mom became my dye teacher. By my mid-30’s I learned to crochet and became obsessed with dyeing wool to crochet into vibrant hats. That is when this blog was born. 

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Eventually I’d assist her in dye classes she taught for the Sonoma Mycological Society (SOMA) and at Pepperwood Preserve. My mushroom dyed hats and scarfs sold at the mushroom fairs next to the newest version of Mushrooms for Color. Her passion officially passed to the next generation.

My fascination with dyeing soon extended beyond mushrooms to all things botanical. My interest in fiber arts moved from crocheting to knitting. 

My Dyeing Philosophy: With natural dyes there is no single way to do it. There are general guidelines, this is chemistry after all, but the variability keeps it interesting.

My Dye Mantra:  loose those expectations to enjoy the process.

My Dyeing Method: When possible, I use a higher ratio of dyestuff to fiber than most dye books recommend. In life, I believe in moderation. In my dyeing life: I want BRIGHT, BOLD, VIBRANT. 

 

 

17 Comments

  1. Hi there, I found your web page by searching for avocado dyes. I boiled an avocado yesterday and to my surprise the water turned pink. Do you happen to know WHY it produces the dye? I can’t seem to find an answer on the internet!

    1. Hi Rooney! Excellent question, and one that I cannot answer. My dye books don’t mention avocado pits and I haven’t found a source as to why the pits have pigment. If you do find the answer, please let me know.

  2. Hi Myra!
    I tried organic gardening this summer. It’s good we aren’t dependent on the garden for food, because I would have perished long before now (unless I turned to eating the bugs instead of the plants). I’m originally from the mid-west (US) and I swear, we just didn’t have nearly as many bugs there as we do on the east coast where I am now transplanted. Anyway, the marigolds grew much better than the veggies (though they did nothing to deter the tomato worms, etc.), so I watched your dyeing with marigolds video. Thanks for the info. When you prepared the dye bath, did you remove the petals from the receptacles, or just plop in the flower heads whole?

      1. Myra,

        The marigold dye worked great. I ended up dyeing 8 ounces of merino, but easily had enough dye bath for 3 times that amount. And marigolds to spare….
        Tagged you on the Instagram photos

  3. So cool to have found your site. I’m a spinner, knitter, weaver in New Zealand and getting slightly obsessed with natural dyeing. Currently there’s a bit of silk fibre bathing in an avocado pit dye on the “keep warm” setting of our slow cooker. I’m really looking forward to trying out lots more for colours.

  4. Trying (for days!) to get pink with avocado pits! Added the washing soda and still have a peachy color…very pretty but not pink! I’ve simmered and simmered…could you please tell me what temperature your water is when you simmer the pits? Also, the temperature of the dye bath when you put the skein in? I’m getting a bit obsessed with this pink thing! Absolutely LOVED the video you made! Now if I could only get a pink…,😳

      1. Finally got pink…I think! Used just two pits and heated to 202°F, a medium boil. I’m at about 5000 ft. altitude so things boil at lower temps here. Simmered the dye bath as usual at about 190°F for about an hour. Pink! Simmered a different skien fir several hours (by mistake!) and browned it out a bit…my bad, but still an interesting color! Thanks for the great video and inspiration! I’m asking all my friends to save pits for me. This is a blast! Thanks!

  5. Funny that avocado can be so picky. I still haven’t gotten pink. Last time I tried, I simmered my pits for about an hour and a half. The water was still clear, but I added my wool any way. Simmered another hour, but still no color, so I turned off the heat. I don’t have a sink in my dye area ( very inconvenient!) So didn’t dump right then. Then a week later, when I remembered, I dumped the water and rinsed the wool. I actually ended up with a nice lavender

      1. I don’t think so. I used distilled water and an unchipped enameled roaster. It’s a mystery. There was a bit of mold that had started to form on the water surface; maybe that was my actual dyestuff and the pits really were total duds.

  6. Hey Myra,

    I’m a fellow Mendocino Coast knitter and avid mushroom forager, but I’d never considered combining the two until this season. I’m eager to try it, and I have a first project in mind, but I’m trying to choose between a superwash and a non-superwash merino (from these guys: https://www.knomadyarn.com/). Any suggestions as to what might take color better? (I’ve got a good heap of Western Red Dye for my first try). I’d also love any suggestions as to where you get your bare yarn locally…

    Such a very excellent resource you have here! Thank you for it!

    – Kailyn

    1. Hi Kailyn! I’ve dyed with superwash and non-superwash animal fibers – they both dye beautifully. My favorite is a superwash with some nylon (your typical fingering weight) simply because the nylon really soaks up the dye, so the resulting color tends to be more vibrant, richer, ect. And I love those intense colors! If you have a project in mind, then I’d choose the type of yarn that works best for your knit. Superwash has fantastic drape, but isn’t great for cables, as an example. For local yarn, I’ve used Dharmatradingcompany.com. Good luck and happy hunting!

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