Hand-Dyed by YOU: The Ultimate Handmade Gift!

It’s that time of year when crafters begin making their lists and checking them twice. Handmade gifts are not only thoughtful, but they can be the perfect solution when you’re trying to find something for the person who has everything. This year, why not up the ante by hand-dyeing your yarn or fleece to create the ultimate personalized, handmade gift? It’s easier than you might think!

You’ll want to start with undyed yarn or fleece – white, cream, or even a light brown will do. For first-time dyers, it’s easiest to dye animal (protein) fibers, so any wool or mohair is a good choice. If you will be dyeing skeins of yarn, you’ll want to make sure there are two or three ties to keep each skein tidy.

There are plenty of starter kits geared towards beginner dyers that include a variety of dyes, mordant, and instructions using either natural or synthetic dyes. You can also find countless online tutorials demonstrating how to dye yarn or fiber using alternative dyes such as kool-aid, easter egg dye, and even coffee, tea or turmeric!

Once you have decided on which type of dye you’d like to use, you will need a container (or containers) to mix it in and a large stainless or enamel pot to heat your yarn and dye. A crock pot would also work well for this activity. If you’d rather dye your yarn using a microwave, you’ll need a glass dish that is microwave-safe.

It’s important to note that anything used in the dyeing process must not be used for any other purpose, especially food preparation. You’ll also need a candy thermometer so that you can make sure your dye bath reaches the correct temperature; if your yarn and dye don’t get hot enough, the dye will not set properly.

We have easy-to-follow instructions for dyeing yarn or fiber with acid dyes here in our advice and help section. For more detailed instruction, the Ashford Book of Dyeing or Teach Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing are great reference books to keep handy. Safety is important when working with dyes – even natural ones! Click here for important information to help you dye with care. We also recommend wearing gloves and a dust mask when working with powder dyes.

Once you master the basics, it’s time to experiment! You can add multiple colors by painting dye directly onto a skein with a paintbrush. If your yarn or fleece is in a still dye bath, you can use a turkey baster or flavor injector to add drops of dye to your skein, creating a dappled effect. You could even dip-dye your skein with a light color of dye, then use a spray bottle filled with a darker hue to create an interesting effect (just be sure you wear a dust mask and eye protection). Whatever you try, you’re guaranteed to end up with a truly unique work of art, allowing you to knit, spin, weave or hook a memorable gift for that special someone!

Join Us for the 12 Fiber Toys of Christmas
It’s Toy Season! It’s week 3 of our 12 Fiber Toys for Christmas. This Friday, we’ll be featuring a new favorite fiber toy with a special deal and a chance to win that particular toy (tool) – click here for more details!

Chris, Nancy, and the entire Woolery team!


92 responses to “Hand-Dyed by YOU: The Ultimate Handmade Gift!

  1. I love your giveaways!!

  2. Just what I need to start my new spinning fetish

  3. This post has made me dream of a dye session in my garage!

  4. Love your products and “how to” blogs! Love the Woolery!!!

  5. Love the Woolery.

  6. These giveaways are fantastic! 🙂 Thank you so much.

  7. Love the Giveaway!

  8. I would love to win the hand carders! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  9. I’d love to win the hand carders! I have 2 fleeces to process and they would make it so much easier.

  10. I have tons of fiber in the basement and keep thinking I should learn to do something with it. Thanks for the info

  11. Wow, giveaways are fantastic. Love the info on the blog too.

  12. Dyeing is so addictive. I always have the “I wonder what will happen if I do it this way instead of…?” question running around in my head as I dye.

  13. The Woolery offers great giveaways!

  14. I love to dye yarn (and would love a set of hsnd carders too!).

  15. I would certainly put those to good use 🙂

  16. would love to have a set of those!

  17. A new (or used or any!) set of carders would be awesome!
    Lindaran (on Rav)

  18. Those would be so fun! Great article too 🙂

  19. I am planning on doing my first dyeing project. Great adventure!

  20. I would love a set of carders. I haven’t ever really used them, but I’m interested in getting my spinning production closer to the sheep, as it were.

  21. It wasn’t until I grew older (69) that I learned to appreciate the simple pleasure of hand-carding. It’s not a chore, it’s a zen-like act. Smiles.

  22. Carding is actually my favorite prep method! Would love another set! I especially love the ones that have a curved back like those!

  23. Oooooo! I am needing a set of carders as I have some awesome fiber here that needs carding! And then I want to try dyeing! Thanks for the wonderful giveaways. I am just getting into spinning and need all the help I can get

  24. Yum! You cannot beat hand-carded, hand-dyed, hand-spun, hand-knitted!!! The ultimate in giving! 🙂

  25. These would be great to have; and its fun reading about dyeing too.

  26. Nothin’ like a great giveaway!

  27. We craters love to get gifts too!!! Thanks for your awesome holiday give-a-ways! And for the dyeing info too!!!

  28. I’ve been having a lot of fun dying my wool! I’m super excited to try some of these techniques. (your giveaways are great too!!)

  29. We just got sheep this year, so I would love a set of those hand carders.

  30. Linnea Cebelinski

    I am thinking of planting some natural dyes in my garden for some fun color exploration next year. Your tips are helpful to practice techniques over the cold winter!

  31. Just what I need to get started broadening my horizens in working with fiber!

  32. What a wonderful blog I just found. I will follow you on Facebook.
    I look forward to it.

  33. I love to card wool and cotton. I do have cotton cards but the wool ones were borrowed one time and never returned. Thank you so much for the 12 gifts/toys of Christmas.

  34. I need to start prepping my own fiber.

  35. Your beautiful hand carders have been on my dream list for a long time! I have Jacob fleece waiting to be carded. Fiber Toy giveaways adds excitement to my Friday mornings.

  36. I would LOVE to win a new set of hand carders!

  37. You give away the best toys!

  38. I really need these and want a pair for a long time. Living on disability does not allow for such purchases. Would love to win these. Fiber is my lifesaver, spinning and weaving and sewing is my passion.

  39. This is a good one for my Wish List!

  40. The carders are an awesome ‘toy’! Thanks. I’d love to win them.

  41. Wow! Hand carders! How awesome. Thanks for the chance!

  42. I love your store. Whenever I need something fiber related, you are my first thought!

  43. Celeste Spangler

    Such nifty stuff!

  44. Hmm, I hadn’t thought of dying yarn for a gift. My SIL crochets, and I have no idea what to get her. This might be perfect, thank you! And new hand carders would be helpful to my spinning as well!

  45. I do demonstrations for schools and another set of handcards would mean more students would get to try them.

  46. Love those hand carders they are beautiful 🙂 just bought some dye to try dying. I hope I don’t mess it all up.

  47. I could use a set… can’t afford them though… so here I am…

  48. A great gift. Perfect for the holidays.

  49. Just about everything you’ve put in the giveaway is going to end up in my letter to Santa this year.

  50. Thanks for the instructions on dyeing. I’ve only used food coloring so far but hope to get into the real stuff at some point.

  51. Pretty cool post, love the info. I never would have thought of using a turkey baster to inject dye in key spots! I’ve been getting into spinning more and more this year, hand carders are on my list now. 🙂

  52. It has been on my list for a long time to learn to card, spin, and dye my own wool! I’d love any help I can get!

  53. Your give aways are great! Would love a chance for the hand cards!

  54. I’m a new spinner and would love to have the hand carders. Thank you for the chance to win!

  55. I would love a set of hand cards for a teacher who works with children with autism. The kids love the deep muscle stimulus of carding.

  56. I would love to win those! They would make fiber prep so much easier!

  57. Thanks for this wonderful intro into dyeing yarn! Will definitely have to try it after I spin the wool I have 🙂

  58. Knittingdancer on Ravelry

    I am loving these 12 toys for Christmas contests. Thank you.

  59. A new spinner here. Just want to say thanks so much for a great website with so much educational information available, especially for a new spinner. Looking forward to the new giveaways, too!

  60. I’ve always wanted a set of hand-carders, but they are too expensive for me right now! It would be great to win!! Thanks for the giveaways!

  61. I was going to buy myself a set of carders for Christmas. Now I’ll wait to see if I win a set!

  62. I am just learning how to spin (Nov. 10th) and I am looking forward to learn how to dye my first hand spun. YAY.

  63. Wow – what a lovely gift.
    The Strauch Hand Carders from the Woolery would be a wonderful tool for any spinner, feltmaker, or others working with fiber!
    I’d love to have it!
    Thanks for the chance at these great holiday Fiber Toys!

  64. Have fleeces, will card. I promise!

  65. Danielle Snowdon

    I would love to win those hand cards!

  66. I would love to win the hand cards!!! Thanks for some great giveaways!

  67. A great gift…. hand carders are on my list now.

  68. I NEED to win those hand cards! Hubby wants me to spin our dog’s hair, and I have always said “sure, if YOU card it!”
    NOW he wants me to get him the cards. 😦

  69. … and I am an even bigger cheapskate than he is! LOL!

  70. What a lovely pair of cards !!!

  71. Just the cover of the Ashford book is inspiring. I look forward to having enough room to do some serious dyeing. And I would love a pair of these hand carders!

  72. This is a great Holiday Giveaway! I’d love a pretty new pair of hand cards to tackle the unruly Romney fleece I’ve been dying (HA!) to spin!

  73. I haven’t been brave enough to try dyeing yet – maybe I should make that my 2013 resolution

  74. This would be a great gift for my mother!

  75. lotsofhermies on Rav

    My middle daughter and I are avid spinners, knitters and crocheter(her). We just started dyeing! I will have to send this to her so she can read it. She would love for us to win some carders.

  76. I just taught a friend to spin 5 months ago, and she dove straight into the deep end. She still has one of my spindles, plus one of her own, and spent a portion of her savings on a wheel and lots of fibre. She’s got my viking combs for as long as she needs them, but wants to try carding as well. And what do you know, that’s the only thing I DON’T have!

  77. I would love the hand carders! Thanks!

  78. A dyeing workshop offered by my spinning guild stands out as one of the most fun activities I have ever done. I dyed the fiber, spun it while sitting with my mother after knee surgery, and wove a festive autumn table runner from it using my rigid heddle loom. The wheel (Kromski Mazurka) and loom (Kromski Harp) are both from the Woolery! Love the fiber tools..and would love to add carders 🙂

  79. just had a class tonight on hand carders, combs and drum carders. What a wonderful give a way

  80. As a beginning spinner, the carders would be an excellent accessory to play with. With so many levels of skills involved in handcrafts, who could ever be bored?

  81. great info on dyeing, and thanks for the drawings as an introduction to your online presence!

  82. I want to win the hand carders and i would love to learn how to dye my fiber

  83. Ine thing that would be cool to see with dye kits is some of the equipment needed especially the pots as inexpensive ones are hard to find in my area.

  84. this makes we want to clear away the holiday stuff and just play with dye… and new hand cards 🙂

  85. I could certainly use a pair of hand cards! I’ve played with dyeing a bit, and I’ve got some fleece I want to card and dye and blend colors with more carding.

  86. I would love to own hand cards.

  87. Thanks to everyone who left a comment & entered our giveaway! The winner is post#12 – Sherie! We will be in touch ASAP. Have a wonderful week and keep your eyes on The Woolery website for the next Fiber Toy!

  88. Pingback: From Sheep to Shawl | thewooleryguy

  89. Pingback: Sheepy Resolutions for the New Year | thewooleryguy

  90. Pingback: Guest Post: Hand-Dyeing Fiber With Long Color Repeats | thewooleryguy

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