Gimme Gimme Gimme Your Questions About Hand-Dyed Yarns!

I’ve been working on a lot of things that have got me pretty excited lately — things that I hope will help us to bring you more of the best and most beautiful yarns that we can create.  And, for one of those things, I really need your help….

I’ve been putting together an eBook, a little guide to choosing and using hand-dyed yarns.  Because they can be really special things, hand-dyed yarns, can’t they?  Beautiful, enticing, intoxicating, and… sometimes overwhelming.  When you first see them, you want to dive in the colours.  When you hold them, the colours change as they catch the light.  And when you cast them on, the results can be absolutely spectacular…  or sometimes terribly disappointing.  Yep, there is a real art to using hand-dyed yarns!

hand-dyed yarn, yarn, knitting, crochet, indie dyer
Celeste Yarn in Garden In Spring

So, as I’m putting this eBook together, I’ve been trying to look at my yarns through the eyes of my customers.  I’m asking myself the questions that they have — that you have — when picking yarns and choosing colourways.  And, as I was trying to put myself in your place, trying to come up with these questions, it suddenly dawned on me… why don’t I just ask you?

Huh!  Now there’s an idea!

Fingering Yarn in Bamboo, Superwash Merino, and Nylon, in Translucence

So, when you bought your first hand-dyed variegated yarn, what questions went through your head?  Were you confident in choosing a pattern for it, or did you have trouble?  Were you worried it would pool, or did you not care?  Or maybe even hope it would pool?  Did you shy away from wildest colours or gravitate straight to them?  And did you do anything to tame them …or did you just let them rock?

When you work with beautiful, wonderful, variegated hand-dyed yarns, what are your biggest questions?  What perplexes you?  What do you wish you had a little guidance on?  Go on and tell me!  Put your questions in the comments below and you’d really be helping me out.

And if you have answers to any of the questions, leave them too!  Because I suspect that the answers are actually just as individual as the yarns that inspire them…!

hand-dyed yarn, yarn, knitting, crochet, indie dyer
Fingering Yarn in Bamboo, Superwash Merino, and Nylon, in Juicy

(Hey, by the way, I’m not guaranteeing I’ll have all the answers.  But if life is about the journey, then the journey has to start with the questions, right?  Hit me!)

7 thoughts on “Gimme Gimme Gimme Your Questions About Hand-Dyed Yarns!

  1. I used to be a fearless knitter. I’d find a pattern or yarn that I liked & knit them up right away. The first time I purchased hand dyed yarn I stared in terror at it for days. Choosing a pattern suddenly became a nightmare! What pattern could I possibly find to show off the amazing color/quality/depth/etc of this gorgeous fiber?! Once decided I’m never unhappy with the result but I would truly appreciate any help in taking the labour out of this part of the process.

  2. When looking at / purchasing / drooling over /knitting with hand-dyed yarns, the only question that really strikes me is “how do they *do* this?” Hand-dyed yarns are such a pleasure to work with; I am never concerned about pooling or striping and just let the yarn do what it’s going to do and it’s always turned out fantastic.

  3. I kind of hope a yarn will flash or pool. I know this is an unpopular opinion; but when I look at a skein of handpainted yarn what I’m seeing is pools of color. So if I like the skein why wouldn’t I want the piece knit up to look the same? Also, I know that I have an arsenal of tools under my belt to control the color placement in the final piece. Maybe other knitters would like to see that? Stockinette stitch does THIS, a slip stitch pattern does THAT, lace does something else entirely.

  4. I ALWAYS worry about pooling. I ALWAYS worry about whether it will horizontally stripe. I ALWAYS worry that what looks great in the skein will look muddy/crappy/disappointing/ugly when it’s knitted up. I’ve never understood why yarn sellers don’t show a swatch rather than just the skein. The swatch would give me sense of what I’m thinking about buying.

    I also always wish I could get sweater quantities of hand-dyed yarn (like 2000 yards or more). There are only to many mitts, socks, hats, and little shawls a girl can make…

  5. Just looking at a skein I can’t always tell how the varigation will pool in the finished product. Got any tips for matching varigated yarns with a pattern?

  6. Is there a good method, when looking at a skein of variegated yarn, of telling if the color repeats are going to be long or short?

  7. Slightly different question – do different types of dye have different washing needs? I’ve often seen dyers recommend hand washing even superwash yarns to help keep the the colour. I machine wash all my superwash stuff and though they do eventually fade over time, they don’t seem to do so any more than knits that are handwashed.

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