Today, there is no shortage of buzz around indie dyers. You hear this term often in the fibre arts community; but what is an indie dyer? The simple definition is an independent person who dyes fibre on a relatively smaller scale than that which a commercial mill would produce. I like to think that indie-dyed yarn is to commercially dyed yarn as fine dining is to take-out food. Small indie dyers take the time to produce unique, one-of-a-kind yarn experiences for our enjoyment.
More often than not, an indie dyer is a person who is creating a profession out of their passion for dyeing. In recent years, indie dyeing businesses have flourished as more and more individuals decide to pursue it as a means of earning an income while working from home. As a result, indie-dyed fibre, for knitting, spinning, felting and rug hooking, has now moved from a niche market to mainstream shops. Indie-dye businesses are now plentiful and vary in size. The very small businesses enjoys the ability to take their time to produce lovely, complicated, unique yarns, midsized businesses produce larger quantities of wonderful hand painted yarns and very large companies produce even higher volumes of colourful options.
Sock yarns, fingering weight yarns for shawls, scarves and cowls, and Superwash wools are staples of the hand-dyed yarn industry.
As consumer demand for hand-dyed yarns has increased, so has its availability.
Many indie dyers have online shops. But the virtual shopping experience is just not the same as the one you will have at your local yarn shop. When you can actually squeeze that hank, see the yarn’s true colours, feel its texture, understand its content and benefit from the advise and guidance of trained staff, you can then purchase with confidence.
Because indie dyeing is done by hand, using complex dye techniques to create one-of-a-kind colourways, you can expect to pay a bit more. But as you may have guessed by the increasing popularity of these fibres, they have an allure that is hard to resist. In my next post, which will be late in October, we will explore the appeal of indie-dyed fibres.
In the meantime, why not visit KnitTraders and discover the indie-dyed fibres of Rhichard Devrieze, Turtlepurl and two local dyers, Silver Cloud Alpacas and H’ewePhoria. You are sure to find something to inspire you.