Indie Dyer vs. Hand-Dyed?

We announced the extra credit project for Loopy Academy yesterday, and it has brought some questions about what makes an indie dyer. We are known for our great selection of indie dyers here, and we love working with these talented men and women in this industry. We started adding in indie dyer lines back in 2007 before Loopy was even a year old. Our first indie dyers were Yarn Pirate, All Things Heather, Perchance to Knit, Sweet Georgia, Plucky and Wollmeise. I still treasure my Yarn Pirate, All Things Heather, and Perchance to Knit skeins, as they are no longer dyeing. (One of the benefits of having a stash.) But how does an indie dyed line differ from a bigger hand-dyed line and a commercially dyed line?

Our definition of an indie dyer is someone who dyes the yarn independently (not part of a big company), in small batches. Some dye in their kitchens, some have workshops set up in garages or basements or backyards, and some rent commercial space for their dyeing businesses. But the dyeing is still done mostly by them (some have helpers). They aren’t producing huge batches and it’s all hand done, so you get very unique skeins and colors that may vary from batch to batch. I always advise you to get them when you see them, as the next batch might be different, or the dyer might retire from dyeing before you see that particular skein again. (I’ve experienced that too many times! Now I get the skeins when I see them. Lesson learned and now lesson shared.)

We currently have 36 indie dyer lines here at The Loopy Ewe.

Abstract Fibers – Portland, Oregon

Ancient Arts Yarns – Alberta Canada

Berry Colorful Yarnings – Alamogordo, New Mexico

Biscotte & Cie – Montreal, Canada

Black Elephant – Yorkshire, England

Blue Moon Fiber Arts – Scappoose, Oregon

Canon Hand Dyes – Portland, Oregon

Ethereal Fibers – Las Vegas, Nevada

Evil Little Goat – Newark, New Jersey (coming soon!)

Fibernymph Dye Works – Laurel Mountain, Pennsylvania

Fiberstory – Royal Oak, Michigan

Fresh from the Cauldron – Palm Bay, Florida

Gherkins Bucket – Mesa, Arizona

Hedgehog Fibres – County Cork, Ireland

Into the Whirled – Phoenicia, NY

JulieSpins – Boston, Massachusetts

Knerd String – Castle Rock, Colorado

Leading Men Fiber Arts – Clinton, Illinois

Lisa Souza Dyeworks – Placerville, California

Magpie Fibers – Frederick, Maryland

Primrose Yarn Co – Dallastown, Pennsylvania

Qing Fibre – London, England (coming soon!)

Round Mountain Fibers – Brattleboro, Vermont

Savvy Skeins – New Braunfels, Texas

Seven Sisters Arts – Blue Hill, Maine

Shalimar – New Market, Maryland

Spun Right Round – Rochester, New York

Sweet Georgia – British Columbia, Canada

Townhouse Yarns – Dublin, Ireland

Tumbleweed Yarn – Plano, Texas

The Uncommon Thread – Brighton, England

Uschitita Fibre Art – The Netherlands (new batch en route!)

Western Sky Knits – Martinsdale, Montana

Whimisical Wood – Ackley, Iowa

Wollmeise – Pfaffenhofen, Germany

Woolen Boon – Concord, New Hampshire

Here are some photos of some of our indie-dyed lines to give you an idea of the look. Some skeins have speckles and pops, some have stripes or swaths of color, some are semi-solid (meaning there are lighter and darker parts to the skein which gives it depth and a textural look about them.) All are unique and wonderful.

indie dyer uncommon thread

indie dyer woolenboon

indie dyer wollmeise

indie dyer leading men fiber arts

indie dyer Juliespins

indie dyer into the whirled

indie dyer ethereal fibers

indie dyer fresh from the cauldron

We also carry 5 hand-dyed yarn companies.

These companies are different than an indie dyer. Companies like Dream in Color, Lorna’s Laces, Mrs. Crosby, Malabrigo, and Madelinetosh hand dye yarn, but do it on a much larger scale with multiple dyers. The advantage of this type of yarn is that we can frequently get larger orders and more skeins that – although unique due to the hand-dyed nature – match better and are more consistent from batch to batch.

Here are some photos of some of our hand-dyed lines to give you and idea of the look. You can still get some speckles and pops, streaks and color swaths, and different levels of color intensity which gives the yarn it’s depth. These yarns are typically dyed in large pots or bins and the color manipulated or applied by hand to get the color variation and differences. Beautiful.

dream in color classy

lorna's laces shepherd sock

Malabrigo Rios

Madelinetosh Merino Light

 

In addition, we carry 14 commercially dyed yarn companies.

The advantage of this type of yarn is that the color is uniform, equally saturated throughout, and varies very little between batch to batch. These include Appalachian Baby, Baa Ram Ewe, Black Water Abbey, Blue Sky Fibers, Cascade, The Fibre Company, Illimani Yarn, Kauni, Rosy Green Wool, Schoppel Wolle, Spud and Chloe, Stonehedge Fiber Mill, Trekking, and Universal.

Here are some photos of some of our commercially dyed lines to give you an idea of the look. Here you see uniformity, no speckles or pops, still beautiful and intense colors, but consistent from skein to skein with little if any variation. These yarns are typically dyed in big drums that tumble the skeins to get even coverage.

Baa Ram Ewe Titus

Blue Sky Woolstok

Cascade 220

Fiber Company Canopy Fingering

Rosy Green Wool Cheeky Merino Joy

Spud and Chloe Sweater

Stonehedge Shepherd's Wool Worsted

Universal Cotton Supreme


So all in all we have 55 different brands for you to try and enjoy here!

We do retire some lines every so often (or someone stops dyeing), so a few of our lines will be leaving. Of course we also have some new ones coming in, as well as additional bases coming in for some of the lines we already carry. We do a lot of research before adding in an indie dyer or company, and many of the ones we have added in were your suggestions! We love being your LYS (whether in person or online) and always strive to carry the best selection and variety for your knitting and crocheting needs. Keep us posted on new discoveries and wishes!

Sheri and The Loopy Ewe Crew

16 comments

  1. I love the variety of indie dyers that you carry, and appreciate all the new ones you’ve added this year! If I had a wish, it would be for another commercial dyer or two in non superwash yarns (for those of us that love the not-so-soft wools) like Isager, Rauma, Jamiesons, Lopi or Blacker. Thank you for your well curated collection of fabulous choices!

      1. I would like to see Wren and Dollie as well as La Bien Aimee. Now that I know you carry Black Elephant and Uncommon Thread, I will be visiting your website more. Thank your for carrying more Indie Dyers! And, I can’t wait for Qing Fibres.

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