Portrait of Gretchen
by: Gretchen

Dye-It-Yourself Indigo!


We love the deep true blue of natural indigo dye and we think you will too! This Saturday at our Annual Open House try natural indigo dyeing in our community indigo dip.

Bring or buy items to dye… No need to prepare a thing, we’ll have a dye-it-yourself station set up for everyone to try for free.

Indigo is a dark blue natural dye that’s easy to work with. It dyes beautifully on all natural fibers – both plant (cellulose) and animal (protein). There is no need to pre-mordant or otherwise prepare your yarn or cloth, please just make sure items are clean. Prep space and all the basic tools will be available as well as guidance for trying different techniques. Indigo will dye a true blue on white bases or you can create great effects by overdying other colors or patterned items.

Indigo Sessions will be from 10:15 to noon & 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the School Street garage/loading dock.

White yarns and simple cloth blanks will be available to purchase, or you can bring your own. Indigo supplies will be available for sale as well if you just can’t get enough and want to try it at home!

#halcyonindigo #halcyonyarn #halcyonyarnopenhouse #yarnlove #lys

See you on Saturday!

Make a day of it with fiber arts demos, free refreshments, and savings of 10% to 30% off everything in-store and online… More Open House details here!

Portrait of Emily Werner
by: Emily Werner

Selvedge: Japan Blue

Selvedge Japan Blue

My favorite magazine is here… it’s Selvedge time again, folks! This issue is called Japan Blue, and as always the images and perspective take you on an unexpected journey into things you thought you knew and will now see in a whole new light…

…Read more…


It’s VÄV time! For those of you who aren’t yet acquainted, VÄV is a Scandinavian weaving magazine and each issue is just beautiful. [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] features textiles from Sweden and Japan, revealing intriguing parallels and and influences between the textile traditions of the two cultures. With articles on current events in the international weaving world, accompanied by elegant photography and patterns, each issue is a gem. Continue below for more highlights from this edition…


…Read more…

Dyeing Multicolored Fibers

Once you start dyeing your own yarns and fibers, it’s really hard to stop. Suddenly the possibilities are endless – and if you’re a spinner as well, this world of ideas just gets bigger. Not only can you choose your colors, but you can play with different fiber types and colors to achieve a broad range of results. When our Indigo extravaganza was in full swing last October, we all seized the opportunity to dunk whatever we could into that vat. One of the things I experimented with was a small amount of [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] . This is two shades of 100% BFL blended into a brown and natural striped top.

I gently coiled this fiber into a mesh laundry bag and proceeded to dip it in the Indigo vat as usual. (Try pre-reduced Indigo!) Remember un-spun fiber can be delicate when dyeing, and Indigo can be especially hard on protein fibers. Try not to move your fiber around too much during the dyeing process, and add some vinegar or Citric Acid Crystals, 8 oz. GKHCIT.8 to the final rinse water to help restore your fiber’s pH.

[Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] dyed with Indigo.

The result was pretty cool! As expected, the lighter fiber stayed a lighter shade of blue than the darker. What’s more, the darker fiber in this blend is brown so the darker blue has a slightly different hue than the other, which gives great tonality to the final look. I’d love to see how other colors would show up on this fiber! Natural dyes will probably behave more similarly to the Indigo, but lighter shades of acid dyes can have interesting tonal results as well.

Smooth BFL singles (left) and thick and thin singles (right).

I split my little sample in half and spun the first half into smooth singles. The other half I spun into a thick and thin singles, trying to keep somewhat regular spacing between the thicker “lumps.” I chain-plied the smooth singles, creating a snugly rounded 3-ply yarn. I split the thick and thin singles in half and plied them together for a more textured, looser yarn. Here are the results:

3-ply (top) and thick and thin 2-ply (bottom).

3-Ply (left) and thick and thin (right).

All that heathered goodness takes very little effort with the [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] . Dyed or un-dyed, this stripey top is a great way to experiment with your yarn crafting. Watching the two shades twirl together can be mesmerizing, but don’t worry – you’ll be too busy coming up with yarn ideas to lose your focus!

A few related favorites:

Remember, good prep and finishing will help make the most of your beautiful handmade yarns! The fibers we sell are already cleaned and scoured, but if you’re working with a raw fleece be sure to clean the oils before dyeing so that the color will take evenly. Try the Kookaburra Woolscour to scour your fleece. To care for your handspun yarn pick up a bottle of Eucalan.

[item=68000030,equipment,image with text]

Want more? Learn about Finishing Your Handspun Yarn here!



Related items of interest: • Dyeing DyesMulti-Craft EquipmentOur fibersSpinning Equipment

Journal Autumn 2017

Every issue of the Journal for Weavers, Spinners and Dyers is a journey into the fantastic possibilities of fiber – Autumn 2017 is no exception!

[Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] brings dyers an exploration of the wonderful red dye madder, and some ideas on new mordanting techniques.

Madder: Unearthing the Red, by Susan Dye and Ashley Walker.

Explore the rich weaving history of Gujarat, India, and a teaching endeavor focused on spinning and dyeing in Tibet. Plus, be inspired by your colleagues with various reports from guilds, including presentations of grant recipients of the Moorman Trust, and exhibition reviews from across the UK.

Enjoy more highlights below and pick up a copy for all the gorgeous details!

Hand manipulated pattern motifs, from Alison Stattersfield, Jane Stockley and Lucy Rhodes article Weaving in Gujarat, India.

Skeins spun and dyed in Tibet. From the article Teaching in Tibet, by Amanda Hannaford.

Helen Munday’s Butterfly Project demonstrates the value of sketchbooks and explores how an idea evolves from inspiration to samples and finished pieces. Photo by Grace Munday.

Philip Sanderson recreating in tapestry a piece by Rebeca Salter. Part of the exhibit Artists Meet Their Makers – Art of Woven Tapestry, at Crafts Study Center, Sussex. Photo by Ali Rabjohns.

Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers Grants make so many unusual projects possible, see pieces from the 2016/2017 recipients in this issue. Katharine Swailes created the above series Glyphs and Loops, the weaving of text-tiles with support from the grant. Photo by Steve Speller.

There’s more to explore in the beautiful [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] – enjoy!




Portrait of Sierra Roberts
by: Sierra Roberts

Incredible Indigo


Incredibly Easy Indigo!

Indigo dyed bed linens from the book Natural Color, by Sasha Duerr.

It’s easy to fall in love with the distinctive blue hues of indigo. It’s also surprisingly easy and incredibly fun to turn your favorite yarns and fibers blue with this ancient dye. At our Open House this year we’re celebrating this wonderful blue dye with a community indigo dye vat. It looks like magic, but it’s surprisingly easy to explore indigo on your own too!

Detail of an indigo dyed cotton wall hanging, by Barbara Goldberg,  from the book Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing, by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice & Jane Barton.

Indigo is an anciant natural dye, derived from the leaves of the indigo plant. Known for the beautiful shades of blue it produces, Indigo can be used on both protein (animal-based) and cellulose (plant-based) fibers. This unique dye offers a world of possibilities, and evidence of its rich history can be seen all over the world. Safe and non-toxic, this is a great dye for clothing, or try it for table linens or curtains, you name it and we promise it’ll look good in blue!

Detail of an indigo dyed garment by Virginia Davis, from the book Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing.

If you’d like to try your hand at indigo dyeing here are some items we recommend:

Earthues Dye (Indigo - So Asian, Sky blue-midnight) requires a bit more finesse and creates gorgeous color, or for something a little easier we’re delighted to discover the new Pre-Reduced Indigo, which doesn’t require heat or quite as much prep to prepare the vat. These will require the following materials:

For some great books that feature natural dye techniques and fascinating indigo and natural dye lore:

Caring for your indigo dyed goods, and a note about crocking…

The way Indigo works is by building up dye materials and bonding onto the surface of the fibers. That means that sometimes a little friction may cause a little bit of blue to rub off. Ever end up with blue legs after wearing a new pair of jeans? This is called crocking, and it is completely normal. Indigo is quite colorfast as soon as it hits the air out of the vat and oxidizes, even when it crocks. If your fingers are a little stained after knitting with some Indigo dyed yarn, don’t worry – it’ll wash right off.

While it isn’t always necessary to give your newly dyed fiber a thorough wash, this step will help keep that lovely blue from transferring onto lighter colors. How to wash your fiber depends on what you dyed:

PROTEIN FIBERS (Wool, aplaca, silk, etc.)

Before washing, try letting it soak for an extra 30 minutes or so in cool water with a generous glug of white vinegar to neutralize the remaining dye solution and help protect the fibers. Hand wash your fiber in cool to lukewarm water using a mild detergent. Do not agitate, just swirl it around gently for a minute or two. Rinse in lukewarm water and hang or lay flat to dry. Tip: Be super gentle, especially when dying unspun roving! The pH of the Indigo vat has made this fiber very delicate and more prone to felting!

PLANT-BASED FIBERS (Cotton, linen, hemp, etc.)

Yarn: Hand wash gently in lukewarm to warm water using a mild detergent, no need for the vinegar rinse. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.

Fabric/clothing: Hand or machine wash by itself. Dry as desired; hang dry is recommended.




Related items of interest: • Dyeing KitsDyeing DyesDyeing EquipmentDyeing Books

Electric Avenue Shawlette

There’s nothing like a quick and easy project, and that’s exactly what I had in mind when I made the Electric Avenue Shawlette. This uses just one skein of [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] and two mini cones of [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] . Wider stripes of the neutral color serve to highlight the fun pop of the hand-dyed stripes, making them look almost like neon lights along a busy city street. Another perk? Since this shawl is worked from the top down, you can make it as large or small as you choose.

This probably won’t come as a surprise, but this project was inspired by the beautiful shawl on the cover of [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] . That piece was knit all in white, with just the bottom edge done in a bright variegated yarn for a subtle peek of color. Just lovely!

Using Block Island Blend Yarn makes this a very comfortable warm weather accessory. It’s cool to the touch, kind of slinky, very drapey, and the subtle texture of that yarn creates a nice rustic fabric. That said, you could also choose one skein of a solid color of [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] to go with your favorite [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] colorway for an equally cool, comfortable shawl. So many choices!

For this project, I used a 40″ size 5 circular needle. The circular needle is just to accommodate the large amount of stitches you’ll have by the end; this piece is worked flat. Simple yarn over increases create the open spine, and the entire piece is worked in garter stitch. A shawl this easy begs to be knit in every color – so grab a skein of the limited edition [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] , or any of your favorite variegated yarns and see where it takes you!

Love these bright hand-dyed hues? Check them all out, and see behind the scenes here! Making the Hand-Dyed Yarn Line



Related items of interest: • Knitting PatternsOur yarnsFine weight yarnscotton blend yarns

Portrait of Sierra Roberts
by: Sierra Roberts

Hand dyed roving – do it yourself!


Not just for yarn… Dyed Roving!

There’s something about a braid of hand dyed roving that never fails to excite me. It doesn’t usually matter what the colors themselves are – it’s more about how those perfect blotches of color can be so concentrated in one spot, fading and blending with other colors in another…  It’s essentially a super thick hand-dyed yarn, so it showcases your hard work in a much more obvious way. But then you can transform that beautiful thing into something so different, you won’t even believe the yarn you just spun came from that original braid. Like the Nube by Malabrigo Yarn I spun a while back (dubbed Velocicrafter).

As I learn about dyeing fiber, I’m gradually becoming more confident about the process. Confidence is definitely required when dyeing roving and other un-spun fibers, because they’re a little harder to work with than yarn. Most importantly, you have to be super careful about not letting the fiber mat or felt, so be patient with the process. This can be tricky for sure, considering how hot you have to get things to make the dye set. Here are a few points to always remember when you’re dyeing fiber (and yarn, for that matter):
•  Once it’s time to heat things up, do it gradually.  The fiber should be wet and in the pot before you turn that burner on.
•  Manipulate the fiber as little as possible. Even when you’re squeezing out excess water after the pre-soak, be gentle – press, don’t wring or agitate. When everything is cooking in the dye bath, only move it around if you have to and even then, be as gentle as possible.
•  Always allow the fiber to cool COMPLETELY before rinsing. If warm wool meets cool water, you’ve got a pretty good chance it won’t be so soft and easy to spin afterwards.

Ok, that’s enough lecture time. On to the experiment! I chose one ounce each of three different fibers to dye: [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] , [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] , and Finn Wool Fiber.

These soaked for a bit in water with a little sprinkle of Citric Acid Crystals, 8 oz. GKHCIT.8. Then I removed some of the water and started applying dye, using a kettle dyeing technique.

After applying the dye where I wanted it, I turned on the heat. Once it starts to steam and simmer, I keep a very close eye on things. You usually know it’s done when the water in the pot is clear. I use a plastic spoon handle to gently move some fiber away from the side of the pan to check. With turquoise, though, the water never seems to go clear (this time around, neither did the violet). But that’s ok – once it seemed like a very long time had gone by, I decided to turn the heat off and call it good. Here’s how they came out:

I was worried about getting the Finn confused with the BFL, but as you can see the BFL is much fuzzier; I had no trouble telling the two apart. And look at how different the gray Coopworth blend ended up! Those same bright colors you see on the white fiber turn much more somber on the darker base.

There are a lot of different ways folks will spin their hand dyed roving. Planned color changes and different plying techniques can yield hundreds of different results. There was an awesome issue of PLY Magazine a few months back that had some really interesting articles about this subject, from which I learned a great deal. As much as I like to ignore such knowledge in pursuit of crafting adventures, I decided to give one technique a try.

First, I took the BFL and split in half, lengthwise. I set one half aside, and split the other one in half again. I set one half of this to another side, and continued until I had a series of thick to thin lengths of roving. My plan: to spin the first half I set aside as one ply, then spinning the rest in order of thickest to thinnest for the second ply. Technically, that should mean the first ply will have longer color changes, with the color changes happening faster as the roving gets thinner. The result was much more pastel than I’d expected…

Blue Faced Leicester Wool Top Fiber is so fluffy and soft! But what about that [Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] ? For this one, I didn’t divide the length of roving at all. Spun with the longest possible color changes, I then chain-plied this to create more of a gradual, almost gradient yarn.

The result was a sturdy, wooly yarn with a decent amount of drape and softness. Not bad for an experiment!

If you’re interested in giving this a try yourself, you can click here to browse our fiber selection. You can also click here to see what we’ve got for dyes. If you love the stuff but can’t be bothered, check out these great fibers that have already been dyed for you:

Nube by Malabrigo Fiber is 100% Merino, kettle dyed in various colorways. I’ve spun two of these braids already myself, and they will not be the last.

[Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] is always eye catching, and it’s very easy to spin. I can’t tell you how many people have asked if we have this as already spun yarn! (We don’t, I’m sorry to say – but I did try to approximate one of the colorways for our recent Hand-Dyed collection, which you can check out by clicking here)

[Sorry, item discontinued or temporarily out of stock] comes in slightly deeper tones, and Romney is always a joy to spin. I have a skein of single ply fingering weight spun from this at home, which I think I might someday incorporate into a warm shawl.

Whether you dyed them yourself or not, these variegated wool rovings can be used so many different ways it’s sometimes overwhelming. I guess that just means we need to spend more time playing with them!



Related items of interest: • Our yarns weight yarnsMerino yarnsOur fibersDyeing Dyes