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My First Time Trying Hand-Dyed Yarn and How it Went

My First Time Trying Hand-Dyed Yarn and How it Went

Do you find hand-dyed yarn intimidating? For the longest time, so did I. I want to tell you about my first time trying hand-dyed yarn and how it went.

Whether it’s the price (which is always much higher than big box store yarn) or the fiber content (how does one even care for something like cashmere??), hand-dyed yarn can be scary.

Plus, I had this mentality that hand-dyed yarn was too good for me or my projects. Have you ever felt like this? Since I rarely make anything besides amigurumi, my first thought looking at a beautiful hank was always, “It’s too nice. I shouldn’t waste it on amigurumi.”

Wrong. So wrong.

I’m not sure where I picked up the stigma that amigurumi is somehow ‘less’ than other types of crochet, but I knew I needed to get rid of that mindset because it was holding me back.

What really changed my mind was taking the plunge and buying that first hank of hand-dyed yarn.

Below is my review of Emma’s Yarn, Simply Spectacular DK. This is my honest opinion and I am not sponsored or affiliated with Emma’s Yarn.

Yarn Review | Emma’s Yarn: Simply Spectacular DK

Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

Yarn Breakdown

  • Dyer: Emma’s Yarn
  • Collection: Simply Spectacular DK
  • Colorway: Kale
  • Size: DK
  • Fiber: 75% SW Merino / 25% Nylon
  • Yards/Grams: 255yds / 100 grams
  • Care Instructions: Wash on gentle and lay flat to dry
  • Price: $25-$28 per hank
  • Availability: Local Yarn shops only

First Thoughts

Of the three hanks that I got, Floridan Zest (the orange on in the photo above) was my favorite color, but I loved the speckles on the white one (colorway: Orbit) and the gentle color changes of the Kale colorway.

This yarn is super soft and would be perfect for pretty much any garment, but if you’re here, you know I’m all about amigurumi.

I was a little tentative about using this yarn because the nylon gives it a slight stretchiness that I’m unaccustomed to when making amigurumi. (Generally I use cotton in my designs, which has almost no stretch and is pretty durable.)

Working With It

If I had any doubts, they were blown out of the water by how easily this yarn works up. While I did have a tiny bit of splitting, in general this yarn was incredibly easy to crochet with.

I worked up my main sample with my favorite metal hook: 3.25mm Furls Odyssey, but I tried a few rows with my 4.25mm Furls Streamline (resin) hook and a few more with my 5.00mm Interchangeable wooden hook from WeCrochet.

This yarn was wonderful to work with regardless of the type of hook I used.

Texture

Simply Spectacular DK has wonderful stitch definition, even in a dark colorway like Kale.

The photo below are some in-progress shots of the Twisted Country Pumpkin – pattern by Peg Nolan of Twisted Crochet.

Just a note, Peggy’s pattern calls for a worsted or bulky weight yarn and Simply Spectacular DK is obviously much lighter, so I used a smaller hook (3.25mm) and worked a little more than double the amount of rows outlined in her pattern.

The alpine stitch is beautifully defined in the photo on the left and the even the backside of the work (right) has beautiful stitch definition. And don’t you just love the subtle marbling of the shades of green?

twisted country pumpkin example for blog post
Twisted Country Pumpkin, Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

One thing I was nervous about was whether Simply Spectacular DK was durable, but in the process of making this pumpkin, I had no problems cinching and tightening the centers. Not once did it feel close to snapping.

On a side note, if you’re not participating in this year’s Pumpkin Palooza blog hop by Crafting for Weeks and A Plush Pineapple, be sure to check in here daily to get some awesome free pumpkin patterns! The hop ends on Sept. 30th, but stay tuned and collect your pumpkin patterns because there will be a Pick Your Pumpkin CAL (crochet-along) in October with prizes! Subscribe below to stay up-to-date on this event and a ton more fun things happening soon!

Check out the free version of my Popcorn Pumpkin, which would look AMAZING in this yarn.

Amigurumi Sample

I was so impressed by how great that Twisted Country Pumpkin turned out, but I was curious to see how this yarn would fare when making regular amigurumi.

Would the stretchiness be a problem and show too much stuffing?

amigurumi example for my first time trying hand-dyed yarn and how it went
Amigurumi Sample, Image by Chanel of cbfiberworks.

I did a quick test by making this tiny octopus ami (no pattern) and packed in the stuffing like I normally do. None of it shows through and I couldn’t be happier working with this yarn.

Price

Price is a big sticking point with hand-dyed yarn simply because we’re so accustomed to big box store prices. However, the time, effort, and supplies that go into creating these beautifully unique yarns is well worth the money.

At $25-$28 per hank, this price point is pretty standard and for the quality, I say very worth it.

Plus, if you’re an amigurumi addict like me, you likely only need single hanks because 255yds is more than enough to do most medium to small ami projects.

Availability

One of the really cool things about Emma’s Yarn is their commitment to supporting small businesses. While you can probably find their yarn from third party sellers on Etsy, Emma’s Yarn is otherwise only available in local yarn shops.

For a list of the 33 states with locations that carry Emma’s Yarn, click here. For those in the UK or Germany, they also have retailers there.

Final Thoughts

Pros

Overall, I was incredibly impressed by Simply Spectacular DK. It’s super soft, strong, and works well with any material hook. The stitch definition is GOREGOUS and the colors are just amazing! I don’t normally use DK weight yarn for my ami projects, but this yarn blew my expectations out of the water.

Cons

This yarn has a little tendency to split, but I hardly noticed, honestly. I’m hesitant to call the price a con because the ladies of Emma’s Yarn deserve to charge for their quality, but it is more expensive than other nice DK yarns. The only other thing is that the more you work with it, the more it gains a slight halo, making it a bit more fuzzy than it is in a hank. But that’s just knit-picky.

Would I recommend it?

The resounding answer is YES! If you’re ever visiting a local yarn shop, I highly recommend you stop to see if they carry Emma’s Yarn. While I’ve only tried one of the yarns in their vast collection, if this quality is consistent across their brand (which I suspect it is) then any yarn from them will be awesome.

According to their website, they have a line of cotton yarn that I’m just dying to try. Needless to say, I will be a repeat customer.

Wrap Up

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Have you ever tried hand-dyed yarn and how was your experience? Leave me a comment or email me at chanel@cbfiberworks.com. Or come say hi on Facebook or Instagram (@cbfiberworks).

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