I’ve dabbled in dyeing yarn a time or two- armed with a few Kool-Aid packets and no clue what I was doing. My experiments turned out alright, but mostly due to luck! I had very little control over the process… certainly not enough to plan a dyeing and knitting project together!
I’m obsessed with long color repeats… and there aren’t many yarns on the market that do them (I can count them on two hands!). So, what’s a crafty chick to do? Make them myself!
Given my extremely limited dyeing experience, I was delighted to get the chance to review Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing. And let me tell you… this book is chock-full of info!
Overview of the Book
Like I said, I’m a total newbie. I would categorize myself as terribly inexperienced (in dyeing), but incredibly eager. I had high hopes for this book… I wanted to learn about different types of dyes, how dyes affect different fibers, how to plan exciting colorways and vary the length of color repeats.
I’m very happy to report that I was not disappointed! This book is a one-stop reference guide for every dyeing project I can imagine.
The topics covered in this book include:
- how to set up a studio, including the tools that you’ll need and safety precautions you have to be aware of
- different types of dyes and their purposes (acid dyes, fiber-reactive dyes, union dyes and natural dyes)
- how to prepare your fiber/yarn for dyeing (including roving, locks and skeins)
- using color effectively: using the color wheel, testing your dyes and making color palettes
- immersion dyeing (and how to achieve semi-solid, multicolor and rainbow color yarns and roving)
- hand-Painting (and details about painting semi-solids, variegated and self-striping yarns)
- freestyle dyeing (using your slowcooker and microwave to achieve great effects)
- dyeing cellulose fibers, which take dye differently than animal fibers
- how to spin and knit effectively with your hand-dyed creations
- suggestions for color themes for your dyeing
Yowza! That’s a lot of information! I’ve read through the book a couple of times, and I know I’ll keep coming back to it again and again as my skills advance. It’s the type of book where you can’t soak it all up at once… you’ll have to re-read it a number of times to absorb all the juicy tidbits of information!
Features of the Book
Obviously, being packed full of information is a leading feature of this book!
It’s second (major!) feature is that it’s a ‘Teach Yourself Visually’ book, which means that it’s packed with hundreds of step-by-step photos.
Especially for a topic like dyeing, which requires careful measuring and specific steps to make the process safe, I find the step-by-step layout (with photos) of the procedures incredibly helpful.
The book also contains checklists and handy worksheets you’ll want to photocopy and reuse again and again. The author strongly suggests keeping a ‘dyeing diary’ (what dye you used in which proportion, and recording your color results), which I think is a fabulous idea. And she provides a sample record sheet for you to use… even more fabulous!
Pros and Cons
This book is awesome… I’m struggling to come up with ‘cons’!
There’s lots to love about this book:
- It’s spiral-bound. That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s totally genius. When you’re wearing your rubber gloves and mask, next to a big pot of boiling water and need to check how many grams of dye to put in… do you want to flip through a pesky book that won’t stay open? Or do you want the book to be laying nicely open to the page you need? Enough said.
- The pictures and step-by-step descriptions in this book are invaluabl
- This book covers a wide range of topics (listed above). Since I’m a newbie dyer, this book will keep me going with new dyeing projects for quite some time!
I’m struggling to come up with too much bad to say! The only downside I’ve noticed (since I haven’t yet tried the actual dyeing projects in the book) is that the section on knitting with your hand-dyed yarns is a little weak. You probably wouldn’t head to that chapter for inspiration!
If you’re looking to get started dyeing, then I highly recommend Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing. I’m super-stoked to have the info I need to start a long-colorway-dyeing project… and I’ll know what I’m doing this time!