Decoding Hand Dyed Yarn Techniques

by Jennifer Ugas

Have you ever questioned what indie dyer’s were talking about when speaking in dye lingo?

We are here to help decode the jargon with you. First up we have Hand dyed yarn which is yarn dyed by…. well…. hand, but done so in small batches. That just means they aren’t dyed by machines so there is more of an art to it than if a machine were to dye it.

What are Variegated Yarns?

Variegated Yarns are dyed with more than one color but there are a ton of variables with how it will work up. 

 

We often get asked for swatches but swatches will only tell so much of that yarns story. This is because you can give the same yarn and same needles to two different people and the swatch they would create would turn out differently. 

Close to you shawl

Different dye methods will give you variegated yarns including  

  • Self striping yarn
  • Subtle color changes
  • you also have the potential to have stripes but this could change if your stitch count changes. You can also have pooling of some colors Like I said a ton of variables will alter how it works up.

What are Kettle Dyed Yarns?

If you are hoping for a semi solid or tonal kettle dyed is the way to go. By placing bare or un-dyed yarns in a pan with a low level of water and adding one color to it you are able to get a beautiful semi solid. 

pink yarn

Of course you must remember that even yarns from the same dye lot that are kettle dyed will take up dye at different rates. 

  • When working with these in large projects it’s recommended   that you alternate skeins so that you can prevent slight color changes between the changing of skeins.

What are Speckled Yarns?

Speckled yarns are little pin prints of colors that struck the yarn and set without much movement. This is achieved by using a low immersion dyeing method that has already been heated up and the dye is able to strike and set as soon as it hits.

speckled yarn

 

What are Dip Dyed Yarns?

Dip Dyed Yarns are yarns that are held and an end is dipped into a pot of dye. This is a beautiful method when you’re wanting to blend some colors or create a gradient.