Yarn Dyeing with The Red Pansy
By Michele Thymmons and Kelli of The Red Pansy
Have you ever looked at the vibrant colors in nature and wondered how to capture them in something you can touch and feel that does not fade or crumble into dust after a little while? Or seen that perfect crochet, weaving, or knitting pattern that you just can not find the right yarn for? Kelli of the Red Pansy has captured those vibrant colors and made them available to you, to make those handmade dreams come true :) And to think, she’s only be at this for a year! I cannot wait to see what she has planned for next year. :) Makes me want all the yarn…now if only I had the all the time to make all the projects in my head :)
Hello! I’m Kelli, owner and founder of The Red Pansy. When I was a young girl my great-grandmother taught me as many crafts as she could cram in my little head, but knitting has taken my heart over the years. I have always been artistically inclined, but it took me years to see the true artistic beauty that knitting and other fiber arts hold. I love the freedom knitting gives you to create unique pieces that can be whatever you want them to be.
It wasn’t until after finishing my associates degree, working a bland retail job and wondering what I truly wantedto do that I discovered hand-dyed yarn and had my epiphany moment: Hey I can do this! My Aunt helped me to invest in a very small startup for my business which actually started as Two Arrows Yarn on Etsy. Over this past year I have expanded my line of hand-dyed yarn and notions to include hard enamel lapel pins that I design in my free time.
My brand is very much influenced by the colors of the natural world. Inspiration is all around us in our daily lives, and it is my goal to capture some of this natural simplicity in my colorways. I love to create custom orders for customers; helping someone’s imagination and dreams come to life is a truly special feeling that I cherish. All of my yarn is dyed by hand in small batches using professional grade dyes and ethically sourced yarn bases. I am dedicated to providing the quality that I myself have come to expect in the luxury industry of hand-dyed fiber!
Starting a self-operated small business has not been easy, and there has been a lot of research and hard work to make this work, but all the happy customers and fun times make it worth the struggle! Less than one year in business and I have already learned so much and met some amazing people in this industry. It’s very humbling to see other people’s beautiful projects crafted with my yarn, and I have truly found a sense of purpose that I didn’t know I was looking for before starting The Red Pansy. The knitting, crochet and fiber art community is such an uplifting and supporting community that I am proud to be a part of.
Over the past year, I have relied on quite a few resources that have helped grow The Red Pansy into the brand it is today. Here are some of my most valued resources and why:
Nicole Clark of Hue Loco has a tutorial series on Youtube which walks you through all the beginning steps of dying yarn. She has even created a free PDF download which is linked in the description of her videos which was a great help to me when I first decided I wanted to dye my own yarn.
A fellow knitter and friend referred me to the Facebook group The Fibre Muse Circle run by Aroha Knits. This is a closed group which you have to apply to join, but they are very inclusive and helpful in every way. This community has helped me to get advice from hundreds of other creators as well as test knitters when I needed them for my new patterns!
Adobe Creative Cloud, or more specifically, Adobe Illustrator and Lightroom apps have proven indispensable to my creative process. My business, quite frankly, would not be what it is today if I did not have these two apps. From editing product photography to designing the graphics used in my email marketing and creating business cards, Adobe’s products have helped bring my vision for my brand to life.
Instagram has also been one of my biggest resources. I don’t have specific accounts to list, but just searching hashtags such as #sofaded and #handdyedyarn has helped me to find so much yarn inspiration and similar creators (I have yet to find another creator that has not been willing to help out when asked).
Etsy was a valuable tool in helping my business get off the ground enough to run on it’s own. It is an excellent tool for not only helping you to find other makers and inspiration, but to help customers find you and build up a clientele. While staying with Etsy may not be the best for every business plan, I believe it is an excellent tool to help a small crafting business get started. Etsy helps handle the harder aspects of running a business until you are ready to handle them yourself, which allows you to focus more on the creative aspect (the fun part, let’s be real!)
When you’re trying to sell products online, product photography and marketing is crucial to your success. Becoming a better photographer has helped immensely in building my brand to appear how I want it to as well as showcase my products in their “best light”. One book that has been extra helpful to me (it’s even for beginners!) is Get The Picture by Dan Richards. It boasts “150 ways to make the most of your camera”, and many of the tips it has listed has helped me to build up a more professional image for my brand.
Note - at this time there are no affiliates links below. If this changes I (Michele) will make note of it here.
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. Most of these resources are free but others include classes or resources that are paid.
Yarn Dyeing Techniques:
6 Yarn Dyeing Techniques goes through FiberArtsy’s 6 basic yarn dyeing techniques so the beginner yarn dyer can make their own yarn in either solid, semi-solid or tonal, gradated or ombre, variegated or multi-color, Speckled or Sprinkle Dyed, or Self Striping Yarn. She goes through what each is and links to a tutorial about how to specifically make/use each technique and gives you examples of what each is.
Yarn Dyeing Methods and Techniques has a list of additional tutorials/posts on various yarn dyeing techniques that she finds very informative and describes what she likes in each one. Then she delves into her own tutorial about fiber dyeing. She also gives information about safety such as wearing safety glasses and a mask as well and the reasons why (logic definitely works more with me:)
Fiber Fervor Yarn Dyeing Techniques is a step-by-step kettle dyeing tutorial which includes a list of materials needed and how to use each one. She starts with yarn prep and how to prepare a dye bath, the different ways you can use this technique to make beautiful yarn!
The Whoot Yarn Dyeing Techniques is all about how to make designer yarns at home! Some of the techniques include using a jar and even a ziplock bag in the microwave! Dyeing with kool aid and in a slow cooker,
Dyeing Complex Color is a course by the School of Sweet Georgia called Dyeing Complex Colour that explores multicolored dyeing techniques specifically with acid dyes. This course shows you how to create glazed, layered, tonal hand-dyed colors. While I haven’t gone to this course, it does sound very interesting and is probably one I’d try :)
DIYs Yarn Dyeing Techniques dives into 13 different yarn dyeing techniques (most of which is an art that you can obtain if you take the time to practice, practice, practice :). These yarn dyeing techniques you can try out in the comfort of your own home. Some of the 13 techniques include: kool aid dyed yarn, self-striping, speckled, striped crock pot yarn, unicorn “farts” yarn, spice dyed yarn, microwave dyed yarn, food coloring yarn, electric turkey roaster yarn (after or well before the Thanksgiving turkey uses it :), ice parfait dying (sounds like an awesome technique!!!), tea dyed yarn and more!
Skein Yarn Dye Techniques names several different types of techniques, describes them, and gives you pictures of their yarn crochet/knitted to give you an idea of what each type looks like.
Thank you for joining us for this Yarn Dyeing Maker Feature! Check out Kelli’s website (www.theredpansy.com) for more amazing yarns! For more Maker Features check out clay sculpting, crochet/knitting pattern making, woodcarving, and how to start your own blog!! If you’d like more information and a chance to be a part of an amazing group of people that know what resources are coming your way next as well as influence what/who we feature next, sign up for our newsletter below! Know that I am greatly looking forward to getting to know you and help you find the resources you need to make your life easier. :) 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 (email@example.com) or leave a comment on this article! Looking forward to hearing from you and have a great day!