How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley | #Crochet #TipsTuesday

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground CrafterToday’s #TipsTuesday post is a guest post from Karen Whooley, the crochet designer, author, and teacher. Karen is going to share her tips for working with hand dyed yarn and introduce us to her new book, Coastal Crochet. If you love the beauty of hand dyed yarn but aren’t quite sure how to work with it, Karen’s three tips will give you the confidence to use up those beauties in your stash!

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation (at no added cost to you) if you make a purchase using these links.

About Karen Whooley

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Karen WhooleyKaren is an award winning, internationally known crochet designer, author, and instructor. She develops patterns and teaches classes for crocheters who want simplicity and elegance wrapped up in adventure.

Karen is the author of Coastal Crochet, A Garden of Shawls, Crochet Rocks Socks and 17 other books as well as many patterns published in books and magazines.  Her classes both online and live are some of the most sought after in the crochet genre. Crochet is her passion and she wants to take that passion and inspire her students in any way she can. Most importantly, Karen wants to bring each student self-confidence and enable her students to take what they have learned so that they can happily create whatever spurs their own crochet passion.

Show your support by following Karen on:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Ravelry Designer Page | Ravelry Group | Subscribe to her newsletter to get 35% off new pattern releases


How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn

Guest Post by Karen Whooley

Hello everyone! I am thrilled that Marie asked me to do a guest post on the blog today! I am looking forward to chatting with you all!

I am Karen Whooley and this year marks my 20th year as a crochet designer and instructor. I develop patterns and teach classes for crocheters who want simplicity and elegance wrapped up in adventure. I am the author of 21 books as well as many patterns published in other books and magazines. Crochet is my passion and I want to take that passion and inspire crocheters in any way I can. Most importantly, I want to bring each crocheter self-confidence and enable them to take what they have learned from my designs and classes so that they can happily create whatever spurs their own crochet passion.

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Coastal Crochet coverIn my new book Coastal Crochet (and also, last year’s book, A Garden of Shawls), most of the patterns are made with hand-dyed yarns. I love indie dyers. I always want to support small businesses as I am a small business too. I think it is very important to support each other in this way. I am always on the lookout for new hand dyers to work with!

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Shorline from Coastal Crochet
Shorline from Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley

But taking care of hand dyed yarns can be tricky sometimes. If the color isn’t set properly, it can bleed into other colors that may be in your project. Sometimes there are special fiber blends, such as silk or linen (or even milk or corn!), that may require you to take some extra special care when laundering your project. Today I want to talk to you about how to make sure your yarns stay as wonderful as the day you got them!

Colorfastness

I have a little trick I do to let me know if a yarn’s color has been set correctly for colorfastness. I cut a small piece of the yarn off and let it soak in a glass of water. If the color bleeds into the water changing the color from clear to something else then you know that you might need to be cautious on how you deal with the yarn. Put the hank in a lingerie bag and wash it in a gentle cycle in your washing machine or hand soak for a bit then lay flat to dry. I use a bit of wool wash but you don’t necessarily have to do that. If you are still having bleeding issues, especially if you are finding that the color bleeds on your hands, contact the dyer for other recommendations.

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Elemental Fiberworks Star Stuff Sock
Elemental Fiberworks Star Stuff Sock yarn

If you are using colors such as red or black, or any dark color with a lighter color, always check the colorfastness. Prepping the yarn before you start crocheting or knitting will save you heartache later!

Working with Hand Dyed Yarns

Each hank of hand dyed yarn is unique. Sometimes the color varies from hank to the next.This can be a problem when you are crocheting or knitting along and you add the next hank. All of a sudden on section of the project is darker than the other,

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Cove from Coastal Crochet
Cove from Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley

This color difference is normal because everything is done by hand! Although the dyers try hard to keep the colors the same, there are always some sort of difference. To avoid having this obvious difference in color on in the project, make sure you work two hanks at a time.

This is how I do it:

  1. Work two rows with the first hank.
  2. Pick up the next hank and work two rows
  3. Pick up the first hand and work two rows
  4. Keep going back and forth in this manner to blend the two hanks.
How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Deep Blue Sea from Coastal Crochet
Deep Blue Sea from Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley

Laundering Your Hand Dyed Yarn Project

The type of fibers in your hand dyed yarn is going to determine how you launder your project.

Animal fibers can be wet soaked in a sink. I don’t recommend putting the item in the washing machine the first time you wash the project, unless you had to do some additional prepping before you started. Always wash in cold water and use a wool wash or a gentle detergent. If you soak the piece, lay it out on a towel and roll it up and press to get the excess water out. Always lay flat to dry, shaping or blocking as you need to.

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Beachside from Coastal Crochet
Beachside from Coastal Crochet by Karen Whooley

If you have a yarn that is in some form at least a part linen or silk, I do not recommend soaking or machine washing at all. If the project is in need of cleaning, I would bring it to the dry cleaner and carefully instruct them about what fibers are in the piece. If you just need to block the piece, do a steam block with a hot iron or steamer, making sure you get the project damp but not soaking. And make sure you do not touch the piece with the iron or steamer. I have found you can melt fibers that way. (ask me how I know)

Cotton is a beast of its own. I recommend a steam block but others will soak or machine wash on a gentle cycle If in doubt, take to the dry cleaners.

If there is a specialty fiber like bamboo, milk, corn or something else, I would recommend reading the label and contacting the dyer if you are still unsure what to do.

How To Work with Hand Dyed Yarn by Karen Whooley for Underground Crafter - Inner Yarn Zen Gradient
Inner Yarn Zen Gradient yarn

I hope this little post answers questions about working with hand dyed yarns! If you have any other questions on this topic, I am glad to answer them! You can contact me directly through my website.

© 2018 by Karen Whooley and published with permission by Underground Crafter. This article is for personal use only. Do not violate Karen’s copyright by distributing this article or the photos in any form, including but not limited to scanning, photocopying, emailing, or posting on a website or internet discussion group. If you want to share the article, point your friends to this link: https://undergroundcrafter.com/blog/2018/08/07/how-to-work-with-hand-dyed-yarn/. Thanks for supporting indie designers!

Thank you, Karen, for sharing these tips with us! Show your support by following Karen on:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Ravelry Designer Page | Ravelry Group | Subscribe to her newsletter to get 35% off new pattern releases

A Garden of Shawls Book Review (and Giveaway!)

A Garden of Shawls by Karen Whooley | Crochet book review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

I’m excited to share a crochet book review with a giveaway, so read on for details!

This post contains affiliate links. A free review copy of A Garden of Shawls was provided to me by Occhi Blu Press. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions.

Book Review

A Garden of Shawls is a pattern collection of crochet lace shawls by author, teacher, Craftsy instructor, and designer, Karen Whooley. The book opens will thumbnails of the twelve shawls which serve as a table of contents.

In Karen’s introduction, she shares her lifelong interest in Italian lace. (Like me, Karen learned to crochet from her grandmother as a child.) Karen’s conversational tone in the introduction and elsewhere spreads her enthusiasm to the reader.

Craftsy

The first section, Before You Get Started, includes chatty and understandable information about gauge, substituting thicker yarns, reading charts and pattern abbreviations, and blocking.

The book continues on to the twelve patterns in the collection (three of which are rated as “easy” and nine of which are rated as “intermediate”). Each pattern includes at least one full page photo of the design on the model and several, large photographs of details like edgings or pattern stitches. Most patterns include multiple full page photos. You can see each shawl from several angles and the photographs are beautifully shot in an outdoor setting that is appropriate to the book’s theme.

Fair Isle Crochet by Karen Whooley on CraftsyEach pattern includes a conversational introduction where Karen shares her inspiration or special features of the design. The patterns also include Skill Level, Finished Size, Materials, Gauge, and Pattern Notes. Special stitches are described within the pattern, rather than at the end, which means you don’t need to flip back and forth while crocheting. The patterns are written in U.S. pattern abbreviations in clearly organized sections (such as Increase Section) when appropriate. Each pattern also includes a large schematic of the shawl shape with measurements. At the end of the written pattern, there is an international stitch symbol key and the pattern is also presented as an international stitch symbol chart. Some patterns also include links to relevant tutorials.

You can see all of the patterns in the book on the Ravelry source page here. The designs are made in lace and fingering weight yarns from indie dyers, but the Before You Get Started section explains substitution if you don’t have access to these yarns. The book ends with a Resources section that includes more information about the yarns used in the patterns, blocking supplies, hooks, and notions. A brief bio of Karen is included on the last page.

Although most patterns are described as intermediate, if you have patience and a knowledge of basic crochet stitches, you should be able to complete these projects. The book is beautifully presented and provides plenty of crochet information. The organization, with special stitch patterns and international stitch symbols keys within the pattern, makes it more “user friendly” than some pattern collections, too.

A Garden of Shawls is currently accepting pre-orders through March here. You can purchase the PDF ebook or a print + ebook edition (for the same price!). Everyone who pre-orders a copy will be entered into some great kit giveaways and the first 50 print orders within the U.S. also get a goody bag.

Mix and Match Crochet Bag Techniques by Karen Whooley on Craftsy

Giveaway

A Garden of Shawls by Karen Whooley | Crochet book review and giveaway on Underground Crafter

So now that you’ve read the review and checked out the pattern pictures on Ravelry, I’m sure you’d like to get your hands on a copy of A Garden of Shawls! Karen has set aside a PDF ebook copy for one lucky reader!

This giveaway is open to all readers worldwide, except where prohibited by law. Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries submitted via the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will receive one PDF ebook copy of A Garden of Shawls, courtesy of Occhi Blu Press. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway