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Curious About Hand-Dyed Yarns?

Written by Cindy Schumacher


Posted on January 19 2024

Malabrigo Arroyo Hand Dyed Yarn

The Difference Between Hand-Dyed Yarns and Commerical Yarns

When it comes to knitting or crocheting, the type of yarn you choose can greatly impact the outcome of your project. While there are many different types of yarn available, two popular options are hand-dyed yarns and commercial yarn. But what exactly sets them apart? In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between hand-dyed yarns and commercial yarn, so you can make an informed decision for your next project.

What is Hand Dyed Yarn?

Hand-dyed yarn is exactly what it sounds like - yarn that is dyed by hand. This means that each skein of yarn is individually dyed, resulting in unique and one-of-a-kind color variations. Hand-dyed yarns are often created by small, independent dyers who take pride in their craft and pay close attention to detail.  

Hand-dyed yarns can be made from natural, animal, or synthetic fibers, often in blends.

What is Commercial Yarn?

Commercial yarn is mass-produced by medium and large-sized companies. These yarns are typically dyed in large batches using machines, resulting in consistent and uniform colors throughout each skein. Commercial yarns are widely available and can be found in your local yarn store, craft stores and online.

Quality and Consistency

One of the main differences between hand-dyed yarns and commercial yarn is the quality and consistency of the dye. Hand-dyed yarns often have a more vibrant and nuanced color palette, as the dye is applied by hand in small quantities. This can result in beautiful color variations and subtle gradients within a single skein of yarn.

On the other hand, commercial yarns tend to have more consistent and uniform colors. This can be beneficial if you are looking for a specific shade or need multiple skeins of the same color for a project. Commercial yarns also undergo rigorous quality control processes to ensure that each skein meets the same standards.

Price and Availability

Another factor to consider when choosing between hand-dyed yarns and commercial yarn is the price and availability. Hand-dyed yarns are often more expensive than commercial yarns, as they are typically made in smaller quantities and require more time and effort to produce. Additionally, hand-dyed yarns may be harder to find, as they are often sold by independent dyers or small businesses.

Commercial yarns are widely available and come in a wide range of colors and fiber types. They are often more affordable, making them a popular choice for larger projects or those on a budget.

Supporting Small Businesses

Choosing hand-dyed yarns can also be a way to support small businesses and independent dyers. By purchasing hand-dyed yarns, you are directly supporting the artisans and makers behind the craft. This can help to sustain the hand dyeing industry and ensure that these unique and beautiful yarns continue to be available for future projects.

Both hand-dyed yarns and commercial yarns have their own unique qualities and advantages. Hand-dyed yarns offer vibrant colors, individuality, and the satisfaction of supporting small businesses. Commercial yarns can provide consistency, affordability, a wide range of options and the ability to support your local yarn shop. Ultimately, the choice between hand-dyed yarns and commercial yarns depends on your personal preferences and the specific requirements of your project.

Here at The Wool Pirate, we carry hand-dyed yarns from Malabrigo.  If you haven't heard of Malabrigo, check out this post about this amazing company.