Yarn Dyeing with High Fiber Artz

By Michele Thymmons and Elizabeth Lisowski of www.highfiberartz.com

Note - This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase.

Have you ever seen gorgeous yarn in a store (like the yarn above?) and wondered about how it was made? Or have you ever wondered about what resources are out there for you as a yarn dyer or maker using yarn - crocheter, knitter, weaver, spinner, yarn dyer, etc? I’ll delve into a very large list of resources to find groups, websites, guilds and more where you can become a part of a larger collective of hand makers of various crafts. But first, Elizabeth is going to talk to you about her gorgeous yarn and how she started her journey as an indie dyer then give you some resources to get started yourself! Check back later for an amazing yarn dyeing tutorial by Elizabeth (I will link them here when they're posted)! You'll get a behind the scenes look at how much work goes into yarn dyeing and maybe even try it yourself in her step-by-step tutorial!

Elizabeth Lisowski: www.highfiberartz.com; you can also find her gorgeous yarns in two physical shops - Sin City Knit Shop (2165 E. Windmill Ln Unit 200; Las Vegas, NV 89123) and Teaselwick Wools (1313 Mill St. SE Salem, OR 97301).

You might not expect that my dying journey began when I stumbled across a YouTube video of a fiber artist who was spinning the hair of dearly departed dogs into yarn that she then knitted and crocheted into garments to be cherished by the dog owners. It was at that moment that I was inspired to start spinning animal fiber into yarn.

Back to YouTube it was for a crash course in spinning! I had no idea that I was about to open Pandora’s box. I soon found videos of indie dyers dying beautiful color ways that were unlike any yarns I had ever seen in my local craft stores. I immediately knew that I wanted to learn how to dye yarn and fiber. The rest is history. My indie dyed yarn has become the biggest part of my business, HighFiberArtz. I absolutely love developing new color ways, releasing seasonal collections, and the challenge of custom orders. The resources provided below have been instrumental in developing my skills as an indie dyer.

Gynx Handmade, formerly The Dyer’s Notebook, is a YouTube profile that has uploaded over one hundred videos to YouTube. In the beginning of my dying experience, I found that there was a lot of misinformation out on the web about dying that was really making it difficult for me to get better. That all changed when I found The Dyer’s Notebook. This artist went to art school and her knowledge of chemistry and color theory really helped me develop the fundamentals of dying.

A Spinners Study is a group on Facebook that has about 14,000 members composed of dyers, spinners, knitters, crochets, and fiber artists of all kinds. Not only are there posts that I frequently use to continue to develop my skills or to try new things, but I also learn lots from engaging in group discussion and learning from other people’s experiences.

I am headquartered in Salem, Oregon, what seems to be the heart of fiber country. I attend numerous regional fiber festivals, such as the spring and fall Knot Another Fiber Festival in Salem and The Dalles, respectively, Black Sheep Gathering in Albany, and Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in Canby. These festivals often have dying classes and provide great ways to network and see what other indie dyers are up to. I highly recommend attending a local fiber festival.

The Art of Hand Dyeing Yarn is another Facebook group with about 5,500 members. What I like about this group is that it is focused on dying yarn and the members are primarily dyers. This seems to foster more technical discussions about dying and I would highly recommend using this as a resource to develop those intermediate to advanced level dying skills.

Hand Dying Yarn and Fleece by Gail Callahan is a great book that provides a thorough introduction to the science of dying. From ensuring that you have the proper pH levels to the right water temperature, this book is a huge game changer. Implementing many of these techniques has improved my dying drastically.

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Note - This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you, should you click through and make a purchase.

Everyone creates, designs, and learns things differently. With this in mind, I’ve tried to include a variety of articles/resources below and will continue to add more even after the article is published. I wanted to do something different here and give you a list of great groups, guilds, websites, etc that you can join as an indie dyer, crocheter, knitter, weaver, spinner, etc. These can help showcase your art as well as bring you together with people with similar interests worldwide.

ExploreFiber is an amazing resource website FULL of resources for all things fiber from fiber galleries and museums, journals, publication, and articles, university programs, schools, classes, and workshops and so much more!! One such list is a huge list of fiber organizations worldwide. They’re constantly looking for new organizations to add to the list and you can submit yourself to the list as well :). They also have a ginormous list of festivals, conferences, event resources, cruises/fiber travels (say what?!! gotta check these out!!!), retreats, seminars, and symposiums. You can also apply to become a fiber arts instructor and be featured in their fiber arts instructor directory. And definitely don’t miss their incredible list of blogs, websites, and Facebook pages all about Fiber!!! This is going to be my go to website for all things fiber from now on!

Fibreshare is an organization where two women took yarn swapping to the international level. All you have to do to join is sign up during open registration and then they match you (based off of some questions) with two partners - one that you send yarn to, and one that sends yarn to you. :)

Yarning for You is a community knitters, crocheters, and fiber art lovers located in beautiful San Marcos, CA, USA. They offer classes, open crocheting and knitting and LOVE to support independent and local dyers. This mother-daughter duo is focused on brining and support the fiber arts. They travel around the US and when they find a good yarn, reach out to the maker to see if they’ll stock in the Yarning for You store :)

The Fibershed Producer Program is a membership based network (over 140 members) of famers, ranchers, designers, sewers, weavers, knitters, filters, spinners, mill owners and natural dyers living and working within nineteen counties in North and Central regions of California. They are a great resource for all things fiber from California. Also, you can join their programs either as a supporter or a producer and have access to this network and their extensive knowledge and skills.

Row House Yarn is all about artisans who specifically monitor the sourcing of their fiber. They strive to only use fiber from well-treated animals that is also treated in a way that has minimal environmental impact. Their Knitting School is designed for digital learning for those with busy lives. Rowhouseyarn even has their own design shop! And includes patterns for women’s sweaters, kids and baby, men’s designs, a home collection and more. While I do not currently knit, I know where to go to start learning :)

The Knitting and Crochet Guild in the UK. Their membership is from the UK and has a growing international base as well. Anyone can join that has a love of crochet and/or knitting. They recently celebrated their 40th anniversary!! And membership gives you exclusive pattern downloads, discounts, and local meetings. The site has multiple upcoming conferences, shows, and yarn shop members.

The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers. This specific organization is an umbrella organization and central coordinating body that helps support local businesses, guilds, indie dyers, etc. What I really like about this site is that you can click on the Guilds and find not only a list of all the guilds involved within the Association, but also find a map of where they are! They also have two certifications you can acquire through them - Certificate of Achievement (for Spinning, Weaving, Tapestry Weaving, Natural Dyeing or Synthetic Dyeing) which is meant to help preserve and improve the craftsmanship of all of these crafts. The second Certificate is for Spinning which the Association is using to start creating a recognized standard for spinning.

Indie Dyer Hub is an amazing organization that has pulled together indie dyers from around the world. But this is also a great place if you’re an indie dyer to submit or claim (if it already exists) your business and expose your business and your yarns to a new group of buyers and yarn artisans worldwide.

Hawaii Handweavers while this organization is focused in Hawaii, they also have a small list of related groups (hand weavers Guild of America - www.weavespindye.org/) and are a model for teaching and growing a community of weavers with physical and intellectual disabilities. They even use an App called Wild Apricot for Members of the organization to allow them to keep in contact with each other.

Fiber arts Directory is a list of guilds and groups that are all focused on the fiber arts. You can search for a city, guild/group name or via country - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, UK, and the USA. They specifically desire to provide support to those involved in the fiber arts on a not-for-profits basis.

Redding Method is all about providing a master dyer diploma and even a VIP retreat to those that are interested in learning what is titled the Redding Method. This method creates a process using scientific facts, physical facts, and practical experience.

Guilds in the Midwest US is a good sized list of all the weavers, spinners & dyers guilds in the Midwest USA. They also have an exhaustive list running down the side of their website that literally has every type of fiber art you could dream up!

Thank you for joining us for this yarn dyer Maker Feature! Check out Elizabeth’s website (www.highfiberartz.com) for some gorgeous yarns for your next yarn, crochet, knitting, weaving or other maker project! I’d also love to hear from you about what types of resources you want more information on as well as Makers you would like to nominate for a Maker Feature! Please email (vamicreations17@gmail.com) or leave a comment on this article! Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day!