I’m going to veer away a little bit from my usual crochet book reviews this week to talk briefly about three books that I recently picked up on the related topic of yarn dyeing. I have been thinking about trying yarn dyeing for awhile now and it’s something I want to move forward with a bit in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not it’s something that I enjoy because I felt really drawn to the idea and then I read these books and now I’m wondering if yarn dyeing is really for me. It may not be but I do want to try it to find out and I think that these three books combined together make a terrific resource for the beginning and curious dyer.
1. Hand Dyeing Yarn And Fleece by Gail Callahan.
This book is all about the basics of beginning to dye yarn by hand. Although I haven’t tried it yet, the book makes me feel a lot more comfortable about the process. It simplifies the steps, breaking them down into digestible pieces. It doesn’t talk a lot about measuring stuff or making sure you have the exact right materials. Instead, it talks about the core things that you need to do if you want to start hand dyeing yarn. It provides several different options for different steps (for example, using different heat sources like the stove top, the microwave or a slow cooker). This book is about dyeing natural protein yarns (like wool) using food coloring and commercial dyes.
2. Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes by Rebecca Burgess.
One of the reasons that I’ve been hesitating to begin dyeing yarn is because I don’t really want to have to worry about the use of chemicals in my kitchen. I have a small apartment and would be dyeing in the same place where I cook and although I know that other people do this without incident, I know that I tend to cut corners here and there with new hobbies and I’d rather not endanger myself in that way. So it’s become increasingly appealing to me to think about using natural dyes and that’s what this book is all about. It is an in-depth book about dyeing yarn with plants and spices and it gets into how to find those plants in your area as well as how to grow some of them. It’s a detailed counterpoint to the first book and together I feel like they’ve given me a lot of interesting information to chew on.
3. Dyeing to Knit by Elaine Eskesen.
This is actually a knitting pattern book so you would think at first glance that it may not interest me since I crochet but don’t knit. However, don’t underestimate the power of this book. It’s about how to dye yarn to use and then it’s about how to get the most out of hand-dyed yarn in your knitting. Although not all of the details apply to crochet work, I think it provides some really great information that helps to inform you about the color process and gives you a lot to think about. This food for thought seems like it would help add an extra level to the yarn dyeing experience and rounds out my list of three must-have resources for wanna-be yarn dyers. I’ll let you know if I continue to adore these books as I move forward with learning to dye.
Is yarn dyeing something that interests you?