The Knitter’s Guide to Hand-Dyed and Variegated Yarn: Techniques and Projects for Handpainted and Multicolored Yarn (Knitters Guide to)
I’m really attracted to variegated yarns, so have a lot of them in my stash. I’m also a crockpot dyer myself (nothing fancy, just stuff for me and my kids, the occasional Etsy sale, etc.) So this book’s title really grabbed me, and I was so excited to be asked to review it.
In fact, here’s a sweater that I knit this winter using a variegated yarn:
(Click on the pic for more info)
I love my sweater the way it is, but after reading Lorna’s book, if I knit this again today I’d probably do it a little bit differently.
I’ve had the book for a few weeks and because of various other deadlines just sat down a few days ago to give it a good read. I think it’s great! I’ve learned a lot in reading it, and even got out some variegated yarn that I’ve been saving.
I used the book to help classify it (it’s a “calm” colorway with one long color repeat of about half the skein and then a couple of short blips on the other half.) Then, I swatched it to check out the pooling, and then did a swatch using 3 of Lorna’s recommended stitch patterns.
It’s SO interesting to see how the different stitch patterns move the color around.
As a knitting pattern designer myself, I’m looking at the patterns in the book as examples of how these stitch patterns would look worked up in large garments. The garment photos here are really helpful in trying to choose stitch patterns for my yarns.
After spending some time with this book, I had a couple of questions for Lorna, which she graciously took the time to answer:
When you first conceptualized the book, did you plan to include the garment patterns, or did you originally plan it as a pure reference book?
Ever since I dyed my first yarn in the late 80′s I’ve looked for ways to show them off best. Educating knitters on what to do with HD yarns was important when I owned Lorna’s Laces. I wanted everyone to buy more yarn! Now I have combined years of experience and designing to teach knitters not just WHAT to make but to truly understand those gorgeous yarns.
When I thought about the book, I never intended it to be another pattern book. There are many, many patterns shown in HD yarns. What knitters need is to understand WHY those patterns are so pretty and how to recreate the look, learn what to expect from the colors and plan ahead. If you like to design with HD yarns, the book will give you more tools for successful designs. But even if you always knit from patterns, you will have new information about choosing colorways and stitch patterns that work well together, or adding “hidden” matching solids to prevent pooling. There are so many simple things you can do to reign in those colors!
You are really a pioneer in what we now call the “Indie Dyer” community, and grew a fantastic business out of that. Do you have any advice for today’s indie dyers? Or for managing a business and family at the same time? (I’ve got two little girls that I stay home with while I run my business, and I’m particularly interested in the mom / businesswoman balance.)
I raised 3 kids and Lorna’s Laces at the same time from the late 80′s to 2003. LL was a child that grew from infancy in my kitchen (stained countertops!) to full adulthood by the time I sold it. I had set goals for it and reached them. Being an entrepreneur means working far more that 40 hours a week.
I balanced it by having the business on my home property and often working late after the kids were asleep. The upside is that I could flex my schedule and drive kids to games or activities. My daughter Grace is now 23, in the Navy and still knits. She is a hardcore fiber snob which she blames on being raised on LL yarn. lol