Hand Dyed Yarn

A few weekends back, I got to go to Mama Llama’s anniversary party with some other local knitters. You can see all of my pictures here. IMG_3113

Mama Llama’s yarns are beautiful, and she’s such a nice person, too. My goodie bag came with the yarn pictured here. The colorway is “Lunar,” and the yarn is a bamboo blend in a sock weight. It’s soooo soft, and the colors are lovely shades of blue and purple.

Catherine (aka Mama Llama) was telling us about the dyeing process. It doesn’t sound like a cake walk. She said that she showed one friend who was interested in dyeing how she does it, and after all was said and done, the friend looked at her and said, “That seems like a lot of trouble.”

Knitting in general is a lot of trouble, in comparison to buying finished products at least. It seems like we all have processes we enjoy and processes we detest. If you like the act of doing something, it doesn’t seem like work. And that’s how knitting is for me, so it doesn’t seem like trouble (until I drop a stitch or realize I cast on the wrong number of stitches, etc.). I’m not so sure if I could dye my own yarn, or even spin my own yarn. (I have a drop spindle now, and it’s not going so well. I can make something “like” yarn, but I’m not sure what I think of it yet.) We all have our limits of DIY, I guess.

In the spirit of indy hand-dyed yarns, here are the only other two skeins in my stash:
IMG_3114 IMG_3112

“Yes We Can” by Mama E’s C*eye*ber Fiber AND “Audacity” by Black Bunny Fiber (Also see BBF’s new book “Knit So Fine”)

I really like both of these sock weight yarns. “Yes We Can” is fun, and the colors are great. The only reason I frogged the sock was because it was pooling in bad ways. I think it was the pattern and gauge issues, not a yarn problem. I only got “Audacity” a week ago, so I still haven’t figured out just want I want to do with it yet. I’m thinking some sort of lace shawl or something.

I have found my preference is for “semi-solids,” yarns that only have two or three colors painted in large swaths that give you nice big chunky stripes (like my Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock or Mama Llama’s “Lunar”). Yarns with more variegation are fun for some projects, but the random stripiness bothers me sometimes. It can make for some weird patterning. And as I type this, I realize I’m self-contradicting since two of my favorite projects are done in variegated yarn that I LOVE: Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Paint. It’s variegation is subtle, though, since the shades are similar and the color swaths are ample.

Neck warmer IMG_3040

This yarn knits like butter, it’s soooo soft. And to bring it all back around, it’s now available in a hand dyed line. Do try out a local indy dyer/spinner, though! These big companies are always going to get enough business, but the super cool artist down the street from you may not!

ETA: Looks like the owner of Black Bunny Fiber has yet another book out that I didn’t know about. And what is it about? Knitting socks with handpainted yarn!


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Soleta
    Aug 18, 2008 @ 12:02:05

    Just after I ask you about drop spindles, I read this! Hee. I’ll have to send my friend a link to this entry. I just saw drop spindle(ing) done properly at a historical village this weekend, so I’d love to hear more about your experience with the process. What kind of wool are you using to start out with?


  2. Soleta
    Aug 18, 2008 @ 12:02:22

    Also, you look adorable in that hat. šŸ™‚


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