How hand-dyeing terms translate

Have you ever read a label or online description of yarn or fiber and wondered what exactly the dyer was talking about? In this series, I'm demystifying dyeing terms to help you pick the ideal skein or bump for your next project.*

So far, we've talked about my definition of hand-dyedanything that is dyed by a maker or a small business, rather than an industrial dye houseand some of the various methods of hand-dying. Here at Sheepspot, I hand-paint, immersion dye, and kettle dye yarns and fibers. This week, I'm going to share with you what those different methods result in: solidsemi-solid, and variegated yarns and fibers.

Solids, as you may have guessed, are one color. I immersion dye all of Sheepspot's solid yarns and fibers in a big pots of dye with lots of water. Immersion-dyed yarns and fibers may have a bit of variation caused by a variety of factors, but these will knit up into a fabric that reads as a solid color.

Semi-solids (some dyers call these "tonal") have a bit more variation in value, incorporating darker and lighter versions of the same color. They will produce a fabric with lighter and darker areas, and thus a bit more movement and depth.

When dyers talk about "variegated" yarns or fibers, think "multi-colored." Sheepspot's variegated yarns and fibers are all either kettle-dyed or hand painted. There are lots of tricks to getting variegated yarns to behave the way you want them to in knitted fabric. We'll get into them in my next post, with some tips to make sure that your finished object matches your vision.

Do you need some advice about how to handle a yarn or fiber that you're working with right now? Email me about it and I'll try to help!

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