Hand-Painted Yarn vs. Kettle Dyed Yarn

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One of the best ways that you can support small businesses is by purchasing their yarn to use in your crochet projects. You can purchase yarn from fiber farms, yarn spinners and yarn dyers. Each option has its benefits, but today we will be talking about yarn choices that come from yarn dyers. More specifically, we are going to look at the difference between hand-painted yarn and kettle-dyed yarn, so that you can make informed choices when shopping indie yarn online.

What Hand Painted and Kettle Dyed Yarn Have in Common

Both of these processes can be done by individual people who are working out of homes, studios and small spaces. Purchasing either of these, you can support a handmade business, which may be a solopreneur or stay at home mom, a family business, or a small business of a few creative people. Hard work, care, attention to detail and love of fiber will go into the creation of both hand-painted yarn and kettle-dyed yarn.

There are many different dye types to choose from, and these can be used for hand-painted or kettle-dyed yarn, depending on the method the crafter is using to color the yarn and the fiber of the yarn being dyed. What is important about this is that people who are considered about chemicals will find that there are organic, natural dye options for both hand-painted and kettle-dyed yarns.

People who create specific color ways will be able to replicate the basic colorway from skein to skein with both hand painted yarn. However, in both cases, there will be variations. Whereas a machine dyed yarn can be the same color throughout, skein after skein after skein, both hand painted and kettle dyed yarn will be slightly different from skein to skein.

More about Hand-Painted Yarn

Hand-painted yarn is, as the name indicates, yarn that an individual person has taken the time to paint by hand. This can’t be done by a machine. It is more time-intensive than kettle dyeing yarn, which means that it is often a slightly more expensive option. There are many ways to hand-paint yarn, some of which are more time-intensive than others. People may make small batches of very special hand-painted yarn, which makes it a great choice if you’re really looking for one-of-a-kind unique yarn colors.

More about Kettle-Dyed Yarn

When you kettle-dye yarn, you basically “cook” it in a pot. With hand-painted yarn, you may steam it in a pot to set the color, but you’ll do all of the painting on the actual yarn. In contrast, with kettle-dyed yarn, you add the dye to the liquid in the pot. People working with big pots of dye and exact color ratios may find it easier to recreate the same color ways with kettle dyed yarn as compared with hand-painted yarn, therefore if you seek to make a large crochet project that has a similar dye across all skeins then you may want to try kettle-dyed yarn. Jimmy Beans Wool explains that you get “a soft-blend effect between multiple colors of yarn on the same skein” so that “even high-contrast colors are able to intermingle beautifully for a unified effect”.

Other Hand-Dyed Yarn Options

Both hand-painted yarn and kettle-dyed yarns are options for choosing a hand-dyed yarn, meaning one that is handmade by an individual rather than made in bulk by machines. There are also other types of hand-dyed yarns including stippled, speckled, and space dyed yarn as well as immersion dyeing and dip-dyeing. As you get more into purchasing yarn from individuals dyers, you can work with them to learn all about the different methods and see which ones are best for your crochet projects.

Kathryn Vercillo

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