Hand Dyer Interview: Why We Love Crabapple Posh Fingering Yarn
Sumptuous Colorful Fiber
Who out there doesn't just love that? Well, we at NobleKnits sure do and that's why We really love Crabapple Posh Fingering Yarns!
Crabapple Posh Fingering is very much a joy to handle and knit. So much so I wanted to know more about what makes it special, so I went right to the source, the gifted artisan and creator of this fiber . . . Amanda Byrd. Amanda offered me a peek into her studio to see her hand dye process. Of course, I jumped at the chance and now I get to share what I learned with you!
Here's the scoop!
Springy, Lustrous and Versatile
Knitting Doctor: Your fiber is very springy when worked with a luster and hand that is a pleasure to knit. Really good stitch definition and the fingering weight is versatile too (one 438 yd skein will yield a good sized shawl/scarf, a hat or a pair of socks).
How do you get that to happen? I'm thinking it starts with the raw fiber. Is that right?
Amanda: When a sheep is shorn you are looking for a lovely crimp which gives the fiber it's spring. Think about the 80s-90s crimping irons that were so popular! That effect is how a Merino Sheep's locks should look but with a really tight crimp. The tighter the crimp, the springier the yarn will be. Merino wool is known for it's high crimp factor as well as it's softness which is why I choose to dye it. It creates a lovely garment which is soft and luxurious. Blended with bamboo, it creates a strong lustrous yarn. The bamboo, once called "poor mans silk", give the yarn a beautiful sheen and a lovely drape without the high cost of silk.
Knitting Doctor: Your colorways in the Posh line are just gorgeous. The words rich and mellow come to mind. What inspires you and how do you choose those unexpected combinations for your variegateds?
Amanda: I LOVE color! I like to play with unusual dye methods and colors just to see what happens. Sometimes I feel like a mad scientist! I scour Pinterest for nature shots, house paint color palettes, look at some of my favorite artist's paintings up close to see the color blends; or just look at nature to get my inspiration!
The Dye Bath Process & Non-Toxic Dyes
Knitting Doctor: We're coming up on some good information here on dye lots and dyes. We're going to find out why it's important to try to get all of your materials for a project from one lot and what dyes are gentle and non-toxic when worn next to the skin. Here's a surprise...they aren't always organic.
Amanda: Dye Lots - I like to dye in smaller batches and that's just a personal preference. I arrived at 6 skeins by practical purposes as that's how many will fit comfortably in my dye pot with room for the dye and yarn to move freely in the water. If I put more in then the color doesn't take to all the skeins and I get too much variation.
Dyes and Mordants - I looked into dyeing naturally but found the mordants, or dye fixers, can be very harsh not only to breath but on your skin as you're using them. I chose to use acid dyes which means that I use regular household vinegar as a dye fixer. Much safer which is a big thing for me as I have little ones running about usually.
Dyeing Variegated Colorways
Knitting Doctor: Here's a question I think everyone will want to know about. I know I do. Some artisans paint the secondary colors (hand paint), but I think you do yours differently (hand dyed). Am I right?
Amanda: So for the variegated yarns I do a pour method. I like how the colors mix better this way then when you paint or dip. It comes out a little different each time which lends itself to the uniqueness of hand dyed yarn!
After Knitting Care
Knitting Doctor: So here we are at the end of our journey with Amanda. Just one last question. We've chosen our shade of Crabapple Posh Fingering and knitted our project. What can we expect from our finished garment?
Amanda: I chose my yarn based off of what I like, what I find soft and what I myself want to wear or put on my kids, It has to hold up or why bother putting all that effort into working it up. If I wouldn't put it on my baby, I won't sell it :-)
Knitting Doctor: So there you have it the real deal on a must-knit yarn, Crabapple Posh Fingering.
Hoped you enjoyed spending time with us today and learned a thing or two!
-Donna, The Knitting Doctor
Have a question for the Knitting Doctor? Ask me here