Working with Hand Dyed Shetland


Some of you will recognize this pile of brown fluffiness as the local IL Shetland I purchased a couple of years ago. I blogged about that Starbucks meet-up/yarn exchange and the subsequent kettle dyeing experiment here. This was the resulting yarn–it’s a deep eggplant–which has been sitting in my stash for a little while now. Then, Isabell Kramer introduced her Aileas pattern and I finally knew *just* what this yarn wanted to become. Working with this yarn has been an interesting and storied experience . . .


First, and as Rachel Smith has recently discussed concerning some of her own yarn, this yarn is still a bit in the grease; as such, it’s a bit stiff to work with–particularly as I knit the sleeves of the sweater. There was not enough lanolin to interfere with the dyeing process, but it’s there; and at the end of a long knitting session, my hands certainly feel it . . . and don’t appreciate it as much as they do fresh fleecy lanolin.

Second, the yarn has a fair amount of VM in it, which is just fine by me, but I have been trying to pull each piece out as I see it–I don’t want it interfering with the longevity of the knit or the comfort of the sweater. But, there is SO MUCH that I think it will always be a little present (hehe). Let’s just say, I feel close to the sheep and their pasture.

Finally, there is a slight variegation in color due to the kettle dye process–you can see the darker black streaks in one of the hanks above. As it turns out, this lent itself to a natural–and small–variation in the otherwise deep purple, which, in the finished garment, adds a nice depth of color.

I’m working away on the next podcast now and Aileas will certainly make an appearance. And speaking of local-to-me wool, I’m off for an adventure at Aniroonz Sheep Co with my friend (and their wool manager), Jennifer Rose Guyor. I featured Jennifer’s work on the blog already: Wild Lily Artisan Fibers; I posted a video about washing one of Aniroonz’ beautiful CVM fleece; and now, a visit to the actual flock! Oh my! That will be an entirely wonderful story to share with you this weekend 🙂

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7 Responses to Working with Hand Dyed Shetland

  1. Cathe says:

    Hi Melissa,
    The stiffness you encountered in the Shetland yarn could be spinnning oil from the mill.


  2. Alina says:

    Such a deep color, it turned into a perfect cardi – you definitely made the right yarn choice!


  3. It’s such a great colour – so much more interesting than brown! Hope the sweater washes out well 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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