I think everyone on this site knows we sell all natural, untreated, hand dyed yarn, that is dyed using the wonderful GOTS certified Greener Shades™ brand of acid dye, but if not, glad we got that out of the way!
We have received quite a few orders online after appearing on the Fruity Knitting podcast and our yarn has since shipped far and wide, so, since we didn't get to chat with everyone in person, we want to share some tips for success!
Our fleeces are "crimpy" and our yarn is 100% wool; therefore, you must Block Your Swatch. What we mean by that is, once you swatch (you do swatch, right!!??) you have to wet block (not steam block) the swatch and THEN check your gauge against the pattern. We can almost guarantee that if you don't do this with a wool yarn, your garment will be too big. Wool yarns "relax" when you wet them and will stay relaxed once blocked. This also means that as you are knitting along, you may get the nagging feeling that the garment looks too small. Do not fall into this trap like I did once! As long as you have washed, and blocked and then properly measured, you will be fine!
Speaking of wet blocking, you must Soak the Yarn At Least 30 Minutes. Our yarn is semi-worsted and the plies are quite tightly spun so therefore, it takes a while for water to make its way all the way through the yarn. I don't feel comfortable dyeing or blocking with our yarn until it has soaked at least this long. Ideally, you would even leave it in the water for an hour. Always use just barely lukewarm water for soaking.
With hand dyed yarns it is best to Alternate Your Skeins. What does this mean? Well... hand dyed yarns are dyed in pots, mine happens to be really large, but that doesn't change the fact that within that pot all kinds of things can happen that might create minor variations in the colour between skeins. This is much more pronounced on a variegated skein. Generally speaking, it is best practice to alternate your skeins to ensure that you do not get any noticeable transitions or different "colour zones" or "pooling" in your project. Here is a link to a really good VeryPink video tutorial on the subject.
Those are our top tips for getting the most out of your natural hand dyed yarn investment! While I was drafting this blog post, I happened to meet Kate Atherley in a discussion group, and then I discovered her Craftsy course titled "Blocking Handknits" and it is WONDERFUL. If you are serious about how to show off your hard work to its very best, check out the course here.