Yarn and Fiber Alliance of Etsy What does it take to get into hand dying/painting yarn?

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Original Post

I'm really curious and partly interested, although I don't know what sort of space requirements or item requirements really go into it, and I'd like to hear from people who actually do it. I'm probably moving to an apartment likely, so that's a huge issue which might stop the idea, since to me I think it'll take more space then I will have. Or perhaps, at least, not right away, but I would love to hear what it takes/what goes into it, because I'd love to make my own colorways to play with.

What sort of investments would I have to make to make this happen and what sort of things would I need/use to do it? I'm really curious, and for me, I prefer to hear first-hand from people, and often different sources so I get a good feel.

Posted at 7:32 pm Aug 21, 2012 EDT


Annie from etsybtsy says

I think it all depends on how much space you have to store all of your products. Do you plan on hand dying to sell the roving/yarn or to knit into finished goods to sell or both? I didn't realize how much space fiber took up until I tried to store it in my yarn stash room. It's really overflowing :)

Posted at 9:31 pm Aug 21, 2012 EDT

Both, likely., although I have no plans to make too large a horde without doing something with it. I tend to want to make things with it, likely for self and sale. Do I need to spin myself as well, or can I buy yarn ready to dye? I'm full of questions as it's an intriguing idea, at least for personal use. I'd hate to drive every Etsy member insane that does custom dyes with my ideas. 8D (Not that I don't plan.)

Posted at 1:39 am Aug 22, 2012 EDT

I personally thing that it can depend on many factors. What kind of dye would you feel comfortable using, acid dye, food coloring, kool aid are all options. I use acid dyes myself, which you have to have pots and such specifically for. It also depends on what dyeing technique you'd like to use. For painting yarn I use a large area of counter space that I've covered with cardboard, old towels, and saran wrap.

You could spin up your own yarn to dye and/or you can purchase the ready to dye yarn. Here's a basic how to for my method of dyeing yarn on my blog: tailsandsnouts.blogspot.com/2012/05/how-to-dye-yarn.html

Posted at 3:43 pm Aug 22, 2012 EDT

Some definite food for thought, and good list of potential needs I would not have considered. I will have to see the state of where I move and go from there, but it looks possible!

Posted at 4:47 pm Aug 22, 2012 EDT

Definately possible! I usually dye two lots of 100g fibre or two skeins of yarn at a time in my tiny apartment. I actually use a bench on the tiny balcony because I'm afraid of destroying the carpet inside but the kitchen bench would be the same size.

I have a plastic tub full of plastic containers, bottles, collander, gloves, plastic wrap etc, a small box full of my landscape and ashford dyes, a big soup pot in case I want to dye on my stovetop and a microwave.
That's it.....well apart from my fibre collection which has escaped from its storage tub(s) under the bed and is rapidly taking over my apartment.

Posted at 3:24 am Aug 25, 2012 EDT

Very encouraging, although it'll probably be a bit before I can really do it (working on the moving thing, as in, looking for somewhere) and it makes less sense to try before moving and having more stuff and an uncertainty as to what we're getting into. I would definitely be doing it in small batches at best, since I know overdoing things with me never ends well. :D (At least I'm honest with myself on that.)

Do acid dyes keep once mixed, and how should they be cared for? That's my other concern, is making too much and "wasting" - I haven't seen anything clear about what to do with them when "done" working. I definitely prefer the idea of the acid dyes because they seem more permanent and all, and more vibrant (I like color, a lot - despite many shades making me personally look sick/weird).

Posted at 6:12 pm Aug 27, 2012 EDT

I agree that there are a lot of variables... I am lucky to have an 'extra' space where I could put in a huge (scavenged) counter-top to use for hand-painting. A bunch of shelves, a sacrifice of some of my beloved mason jars and a thrift store electric steamer and I was ready to go. My biggest issue is that find that I LOVE dying and spinning, but have not really been able to sell much, so I end up only dying what I have a use for at this point.

I use the acid dyes and they really do not 'store' well. They will mold and 'split' over time. I did have to clean up my area in order to facilitate putting in a new bathroom. I dumped all the dyes together into one large container and dyed some wool just to see what happened. I got some lovely yarn out of it, believe it or not :)

Posted at 2:07 pm Aug 28, 2012 EDT

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