The Ultimate Guide to Hand Dyed Yarn

January 28, 2020 3 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Hand Dyed Yarn

Can you think of anything more magical than transforming a plain white skein of yarn into a kaleidoscope of deep, rich colour? This is the exquisite beauty of hand dyed yarn

Which Yarn is Best?

When deciding which hand dyed yarn to purchase, it is important to start with a high quality yarn. Our personal favorite is a merino/cashmere mix. Merino is softer than regular wool, making it perfect to wear next to your skin. It is also naturally creamy white, which is a perfect base for hand dying vibrant colours.

Cashmere is considered to be a luxury yarn that gets softer and softer with each wear. Merino and cashmere make for the perfect hand dyed yarn blend.

Type of Hand Dye Method

Type of Hand Dye Method

With so many methods of hand dying available, it can be difficult to choose. Here are a few of our favorite hand dying methods with pros and cons:

Speckled/Splattered

Yarn that is hand dyed in the speckled or splattered method has random splashes of colour. This method involves flinging or splattering dye directly onto the yarn. 

What We Love: The one of a kind (OOAK) splattered effect is fun and playful, perfect for scarves, beanies, and blankets. 

Challenges: Skeins vary greatly since the effect is entirely random.

Tonal

Beautifully blended, tonal hand dyed yarn features multiple shades of the same or similar colours meshed together. 

What We Love: Reminiscent of a Yuri Petranko watercolour, tonal hand dyed yarn is beautifully balanced and soft.

Challenges: Variations can be rather noticeable between skeins.

Variegated

Making use of contrasting colours, the variegated hand dye method is a more patterned yarn. It typically consists of three or more colours in sequence.

What We Love: Colours are highly saturated and vibrant.

Challenges: Since variegated yarn has colours in a sequence, rows may begin to line up to form large blocks of colour, depending on your pattern.

Ombre

If you are trying to achieve a gradual change in colour in your project, ombre hand dyed yarn is a great option. This type of hand dying involves long colour runs that seamlessly blend into one another. 

What We Love: Before ombre, you would have to change skeins to achieve the colour blending that is afforded with ombre yarn. 

Challenges: Ombre hand dyed yarn doesn't work for every project, so only use it for longer, more flowy pieces.

Kettle-Dyed

When you want to use multiple colours, but aren't going for a bold, dramatic effect, kettle-dyed yarn is the key. Kettle-dyed achieves a soft blend that still makes use of a few different colours.

What We Love: Multiple colours can blend together for a unified look with kettle-dyed.

Challenges: Because colours are irregularly placed, it is tough to know what the end result will be until it is knitted up.

Now that you understand the different methods of hand dying, is it possible to understand how it will behave?

What to Look for in Hand Dyed Yarn

The best way to get an idea of how a colourway will behave is to untwist it and inspect it closely. Unlike yarn dyed in yarn mills, hand dyed yarn is coloured after the skein is spun, so colour is especially irregular. The colour you see on the outside may be considerably different from the inside. It is important to understand exactly what you are working with before you get started and discover a surprise later. 

The genuine beauty and craftsmanship of one of a kind hand dyed yarn far outweigh the challenges. Now that you have had a crash course on hand dyed yarn, it is time to get knitting!


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Zen News

Knitting Brings Comfort to Many During COVID-19
Knitting Brings Comfort to Many During COVID-19 Pandemic

August 04, 2020 2 min read

An onslaught of emotionally charged and negative current events seem to inundate us each day. If you look closely, buried beneath the headlines are heartwarming stories of generosity, comfort, and growth. As part of the knitting community, we are proud to share these upbeat and encouraging stories centered around the joys of knitting.
Read More
Choose the Best Yarn for Knitting Project- Various Knitted Hats
How to Choose the Best Yarn for My Knitting Project

July 23, 2020 3 min read

I have never met a knitter who didn't have baskets and bags of assorted gorgeous yarn skeins hanging around.Fabulous yarn is so difficult to resist and so easy to impulse purchase. Now that your irresistible skeins of yarn are out of control, it is time to match them with a suitable project. 
Read More
Understanding Knitting Needles
Beginner's Guide to Understanding Knitting Needle Size

July 13, 2020 3 min read

As a beginner knitter, you may have stood in the knitting needle aisle staring wide eyed at the options. Or maybe you scrolled through page after page of knitting needles in your favorite online knitting store without a clue about which one to purchase. We have all been there and we hope to clear things up for you now. 
Read More

Subscribe