Portrait of Sierra Roberts
by: Sierra Roberts

Making the Hand Dyed yarn line

This summer, Halcyon Yarn is excited to present a new line of hand-dyed yarns!

Do you often find yourself gazing adoringly at dip-dyed, tie-dyed, kettle-dyed, and hand painted yarns? Me too. Even if you don’t want to stain your hands (and countertop… and floor) making your own, we’ve got you covered. I’m excited to introduce to you a very special, very limited run of hand-dyed Halcyon Signature Victorian 2-Ply, Victorian Mohair, Silk Noil, and Organic Cotton.

 

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Of course I can’t just show you a new product, especially one that I made myself, without telling you all about how it came to be. You see, for the past month or so I have been a mad scientist at the dyepot, trying different color combinations and techniques on different yarns. And then I’ve gone home in the evening and done that some more in my own kitchen. Needless to say, I have left a trail of colorful yarn in my wake everyplace I’ve gone.

Once I decided on the yarns and colors, we needed to figure out how to do this on a larger scale. This is about the time I started wondering if it was too late to take a trip to Uruguay, where I could take a peek at how Malabrigo does it. Seriously though, there’s a big difference between hand painting one skein of yarn as compared to ten. In the end we decided to use those simple large metal warming pans you see at catered events – a yarn buffet! Fiber artists are nothing if not resourceful. But first I started dyeing the Inca Organic Cotton Yarn, which doesn’t require any heat or pots and pans:

 

Inca Organic Cotton Yarn Inca Organic Cotton Yarn

 

Here’s what those messy looking skeins turned into:

(Click here to read my post about dyeing cotton!)

When you’re dyeing one skein at a time, you can really control (not to mention just plain see) where and how the color is applied to each specific spot of yarn. It’s not quite so simple when you add more skeins – depending on what kind of vessel you’re using, some of those skeins are likely to have to sit on top of others and things are likely to get a little more crowded. The magic of kettle-dyeing is that the yarn creates a barrier for the dye, thus preventing all the colors from running together during the process. That magic is also a huge problem when you’ve got ten skeins squished together in a little pan. In order to make sure the dye covers the yarn evenly, a little extra manipulation of the skeins is necessary. Tongs and syringes, a plastic spoon, and (gloved) fingers were all put to work poking and prodding the yarn.  Check out these photos of my work in progress:

The results?  Each batch of yarn was a delightful surprise, planned as it might have been. Within a single batch, there are skeins that came out a little lighter and softer colored and skeins that have bright, saturated areas of color. Our offices were draped all over with drying skeins of yarn and it felt like such a wonderland, I snapped a few photos:

As you can see, this yarn was kettle-dyed in very small batches. Great for adding a bright accent to a piece,  I especially love pairing a bright colorway with a neutral yarn in stripes or other colorwork. These hand-dyed yarns can also be used on their own if you’re looking for an all over colorful textured effect, but keep in mind that quantities are very limited – so snag a skein of your favorite colorway before they’re all gone!

 

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Related items of interest: • Our yarnsMedium weight yarnsCotton yarns

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