Here at The Handspinner Having Fun we have great joy in producing our Hand Dyed Yarns. We use Kenanthrol and Acid dyes in a wide range of colours inspired by the amazing landscapes on the Isle of Skye. Dye batches are small and we use an exhaustive dyeing method. This means that the correct amount of dye is weighed for the weight of the yarn. At the end of the dyeing process the run off water should be clear. If it is not, extra dye is added and another batch of yarn dyed until the water is clear. Some dye batches are not repeatable due to this method being used.
Colours can be reproduced in different dye batches but cannot be identically matched – so you always need to ensure that you buy enough of the dye batch for your project!
We dye wool, silk, cotton and other fibres that take our fancy….
We do dye for commission purchase (a maximum of 2kg of fibre in any one colour) and will send you a sample of the colour before purchase. For example, we have dyed lustrous long wool locks for a felting project and yarn for sweaters.
Acid Dyes vs Natural Dyes
No dyeing of wool and fibre is 100% environmentally friendly.
Natural dyes are from plants or minerals. They produce a lovely range of colours which embody the colour palate of the natural landscape. They require a ‘mordant’ to fix the dyes. Alum is often used as a mordant and there is an environmental impact when it is mined. Natural dyes can take excess amounts of the dye product in order to produce the depth of colour, the colour range is more limited, the colours can bleed and reproduction of the colour is unreliable. The waste product from the dye is then released into the water drainage system.
Acid dyes, by contrast are man made chemicals from the petroleum industry. They require no mordant, the amount of dye is calculated for the weight of yarn to be used and the dye is fully absorbed by the yarn so no dye is released into the water drainage system. If there is any excess dye remaining it is used to dye another batch of yarn and often produces an interesting new shade. The colour reproduction is more reliable and there is a vast range of bright and interesting colours.
My ‘mistakes’ (those colours I had not chosen to dye) are often the most popular but that is the joy of Hand Dyed Yarn.
The ‘best’ colours are those produced by the animal themselves – no dye involved. We have a range of 6 Shetland wool colours and a wide range of other wool in natural creams / browns / black.