Why and how to use hand-dyed yarn
At Biscotte Yarns, we are specialized in hand-dyed yarns for more than a decade. When we first started in this field, hand-dyed yarn in our area were almost non-existent and we are proud to have contributed in the success of hand-dyed yarns in our community.
If you've been introduced to knitting recently, you may be wondering what the difference is between hand-dyed and machine-dyed yarn? Or maybe you want to know more about how to use hand-dyed yarn and their different colorways?
This is where we'll tell you everything you want to know about hand-dyed yarns!
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAND-DYED YARN AND COMMERCIAL YARN
Commercial yarns are factory dyed in large vats (dye baths) allowing a large quantity of yarn to be dyed simultaneously. Color of industrialized yarns is more uniform since it is done in a machine built for this purpose.
Hand-dyed yarns are, by definition, hand-dyed in pots (just like the one you use to cook your spaghetti sauce 😉) which are much smaller than industrial tanks. The dye can also be applied with a brush or " sprinkled " directly on the yarn before being fixed with heat. The colors produced with this method are more uneven and since the dye baths are smaller, each skein of yarn is unique. Therefore, hand-dyed yarns have a very special character that can hardly be imitated in a factory.
HAND-DYED YARN COLOR TYPES
There are several ways to hand-dye yarn. Each technique will produce different results that we will group here by the following type of colors:
Semi-solid yarn (or tonal yarn), is a yarn that is nearly, but not completely, solid in color. It is often dyed to order when you want to get enough to knit a sweater. It will give your knitwear a warmth and a artisanal look that is second to none!
Variegated yarn is a yarn that is dyed in order to obtain multiple colors that, once knitted, will produce a colorful effect.
The speckled yarn color type is a yarn on which the dye has been powdered to produce small colored pimples.
In our collection of hand-dyed yarn, you will find gradient yarns, (also known as ombre or faded yarns) under the name of Metamorph (or Mini-Metamorph). As you may have guessed, this is a yarn whose color changes in gradation from the beginning to the end.
Biscotte self-striping yarns, also known as AUTORAYANTEᵐᶜ are yarns dyed to produce stripes of their own when knitting. No need to use several balls of different colors and no need to worry about changing the yarns and weave-in the ends. 🤗. To learn more about this yarn and the history of our trademark Autorayanteᵐᶜ, click here.
HAND-DYED YARNS USE AND CARE
Here's what you also need to know about using washing hand-dyed yarn to maximize its use and get the most out of your artisanal yarn.
HAND-DYED YARN on SKEINS
Most hand-dyed yarns (as well as many commercial yarns) comes in skein form (or hank) which means that the yarn is rolled into a circle that can be easily mixed when you don't know how to handle it.
Why this format? First of all for a practical question: the yarn has to be winded in skein to be dyed so it is presented by dyers in its original format. Furthermore, according to the rules of the art it is said that winding would put a tension on the yarn and for this reason we should wait until we are ready to knit before using the yarn winding tools.
And finally let's say it: yarn skeins are so beautiful! They allow us to observe the color and texture of the fiber and for some, the winding step is an integral part of the knitting pleasure!
You don't have a yarn winder??? See below how to wind a skein easily without any tools. The golden rule: always keep the skein well positioned in a circle around your knees and do not remove it from there. Note: the use of a Wool Ball Star is optional... but this star will give your ball of yarn a nice scent and may increase your knitting pleasure 🤩
Now that you know more about hand-dyed yarn, it is very important the know how to take good care of your hand-dyed yarn with the detailed washing instructions here: How to wash hand-dyed yarn
We also advise you to learn more about "yarn pooling" for which you will find a definition and pictures to illustrate the phenomenon here: Yarn pooling: what is it and how to manage it.
Enjoy your hand-dyed yarn and have fun with knitting!